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03 Oct

United Nations Names Agriculture The Largest Human Use of Water

Wasted food means wasted water. Wasted food means wasted water.


The United Nations Environmental Program has singled out agriculture from among mankind's exploits as the largest human use of water. On a food fact bulletin posted to the UNEP's website, the program warns thats not only is this use of water incredibly mismanaged but that most water used around the globe ends up in the garbage bin.

Medium and high income countries have been accused of overproducing food, mainly because people throw out food that is still good for consumption and have unrealistic expectations of what is edible.

In the United States alone, 30% of all food imported or bought into the country, an amount worth $48.3 billion, is thrown away each year. In the UK, that number rises to 32%. These totals translate to an immense amount of water consumed fruitlessly to make a product that never reaches a plate.

"Most of the food waste is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed," says the UNEP.

Complicating the problem is methane gas, which is emitted from organic waste in landfills. Organic waste is currently the second highest contributor to landfills and the largest source of methane. Methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and is just a part of the reason food waste has been called the third greatest cause of climate change today.

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We waste a lot of water, which is not as plentiful as most of us think.
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