Mr Speaker, first of all, let me commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, the Member of Parliament for Hohoe for reminding us that indeed, today, 5th June is the World's Environment Day.
Since 1972, this day has been celebrated or observed throughout the world and today, as we talk about it, globally, it is being celebrated in Mongolia. During my research, gold miners in Mongolia had said to themselves that they were putting health first before wealth. That means that they think so much about the environment.
The theme for this year's celebration is “Think, eat and save, so that we can reduce our footprints.” The focus should be, how can we reduce food waste and food loss? That is the campaign, that for this year, the celebration is championing to ensure that we do eliminate or reduce food waste and food loss. Indeed, the object of the celebration is that awareness should be stimulated on environmental issues for political attention and for public action.
Today, we are all concerned about what is happening regarding our water bodies, forests and soil fertility. We are all concerned, and that is why all of us, Members of Parliament, the Executive, the Ghanaian public, should all be concerned
that without the environment, human life cannot be sustained on this planet called earth. So, together, we have a responsi- bility to ensure that we keep the environ- ment safe and we ensure sustainable development regarding environmental issues.
Mr Speaker, currently, we are all looking at how many of the challenges that we can address. Climate change, global warming, land degradation, destruction and pollution of our water bodies, deforestation -- these are some of the environmental challenges we are facing.
But this year, the focus is that we should reduce the amount of food that goes waste or the amount of food that is lost. While some are able to feed themselves, others are unable to do so. The Hon Chairman for the Select Committee, the Member of Parliament for South Dayi, gave us some figures to indicate that throughout the whole world, about 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or goes waste annually.
For us in Africa, this quantity that is lost or goes waste, can also feed us. So, the question is, how can we reduce that? Yes, the Hon Member articulated some of the issues -- post-harvest losses; how we can address them? But in my view, let us look at the consumption point where we all lose or we all allow food to go waste. In our homes, we all eat. When we eat, are we able to dish out the quantity that we can eat and then allow some to stay or we allow it to go waste?
Sometimes, when you go to public functions, it is as if it is a fashion. While we are going to dish our food, maybe, if it
is a buffet, some do so and then when they eat, they leave some on their plate and, that is food wasted. While you leave it on your plate, and you think that it can be biodegradable and it is so, it will also produce some of the emissions that contribute to climate change.
That is why I will urge all of us that, at the consumption point of food, we need to ensure that we do not waste or allow food to be lost. If we do so, we all can preserve and ensure that those who go to bed hungry, those who cannot find three square meals a day to eat -- we should be able to help all those people. The statistics is that, one in every seven people goes to bed hungry and 20,000 children under five years also die every year out of malnutrition.
So, as a country, what are we doing? I hope that this day which is 5th June and which comes immediately after June 4th -- [Hear! Hear!] -- all of us should ensure that we do not lose or waste the food that we eat. In our homes, in the restaurants that we go to, let us ensure that we preserve the food.
Two things happen if we allow food to be wasted or lost -- One, the natural resources that are used as inputs in the production of food are lost, and two, the emissions that we get out of the biodegradation of food affect the climate that we all have. That is why we need to ensure that we do not lose or waste the food that we eat.
Let me use this occasion, Mr Speaker, to urge the media in particular, that today is a solemn day and, as they write on the World Environment Day, they should communicate to the Ghanaian public that we have to ensure that we do not waste or lose the food that is produced, that is consumed.