Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BP Oil leak may destroy the world’s major source of food

BP Oil leak may destroy the world’s major source of food for more than 4.5 billion people

AS BP’S latest effort to stop the world’s worst environmental catastrophe fails, implications demand concern over the pending collapse of the world’s major food supply.

Fish is the staple of some 2.5 billion people on the planet!

There has been a global increase in fish consumption among both rural and city populations in the last few decades. The trend is because Nutritional standards have shown positive long-term trends, with worldwide increases in the average global calorie supply per person and in the quantity of proteins per person. However, many countries continue to face food shortages and nutrient inadequacies, and major inequalities exist in access to food, mainly owing to very weak economic growth and rapid population expansion, yet the majority of undernourished people in the world live in Asia and the Pacific, with the highest prevalence of undernourishment found in SSA, and to a large extent in the South of America

The global population in 2005 consumed over 107 million tonnes of fish, the latest date figures were available for this report.

Asia accounted for two-thirds of the total consumption, of which 36.9 million tons were consumed outside China (13.9 kg per capita), with 33.6 million tonnes in China alone (26.1 kg per capita). The corresponding per capita consumption figures for Oceania, North America, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, and South America were 24.5, 24.1, 20.8, 9.5 and 8.4 kg, respectively.

It is estimated that fish contributes to at least 50 percent of total animal protein intake in some small island developing states, as well as in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, French Guiana, the Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. The contribution of fish proteins to total world animal protein supplies rose from 13.7 percent in 1961 to a peak of 16.0 percent in 1996, before declining to 15.3 percent in 2005. Corresponding figures for the world, excluding China, show an increase from 12.9 percent in 1961 to 15.4 percent in 1989, then declining slightly to 14.7 percent in 2005. Figures for 2005 indicate that fish provided about 7.6 percent of animal protein in North and Central America and more than 11 percent in Europe. In Africa, it supplied about 19 percent, in Asia nearly 21 percent, in the LIFDCs including China about 19 percent and in the LIFDCs excluding China 20 percent. Globally, fish provides more than 1.5 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein, and nearly 3.0 billion people with 15 percent of such protein.

Many cultures rely on fish and other sea creatures for their survival, and this BP disaster has the potential to reduce many cultures to near starvation if not worse.

Because of our greed we have placed the earth in an untenable position, with a potential to destroy all life forms. Even if we as a race are lucky enough to get beyond this BP disaster, there will be another, and another, as long as we elect officials who cater to the moneyed monopoly, rather to their own survival and ours.