Food wastage up 25pc during Ramadan
Manama, July 5, 2014
By Shahlaa Ahmed
Food wastage will increase by 25 per cent during Ramadan because people develop unhealthy and wasteful eating habits, according a top environmentalist.
Supreme Council for Environment waste disposal unit head Rehan Ahmed said disposal of large quantities of food will pose serious environmental problems, including vermin and insect infestations in residential areas.
He said demand for meat and chicken during Ramadan also increased by around 50 pec cent from the normal rate, which he said was already high.
"The consumption of other related food items like vegetables, fruits and dairy products also increases during Ramadan," he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"The enormous food waste generation can be witnessed at all levels from the wholesaler to retailer and to the consumers," he stated.
"It is environmentally and morally considered offensive that as a society we have become so casual about the basic raw materials of life," he added.
Over the years, Ahmed said, society and people have become more wasteful due to rise in income, living standards and affordability. "But affording does not mean that wastage, especially of food, should increase," he added.
Ahmed said a spike in food consumption was caused by Bahrain's rapidly growing population and increase in living standards.
"Food consumption in Bahrain is projected to grow by 5 per cent from 671,000 tonnes in 2011 to 814,000 tonnes in 2015," he stated.
"Like other GCC countries, Bahrain is heavily dependent on the import of meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables to cater to its local consumption. It is generating huge quantities of municipal waste, which is around 4,200 tonnes per day," he noted.
"The organic component of municipal waste is around 60 per cent and it is estimated that over 300 tonnes per day of organic food waste is being generated in the country, which constitutes around 11 per cent of the total municipal waste."
Ahmed said one of the dire consequences of throwing away food was the creation of swarms of insects.
"While the dumping of food and other organic waste poses many serious environmental problems like attracting birds, proliferation of vermin and insects, occupying valuable land resources and generation of greenhouse gases, the major problem is huge waste of money as foreign exchange in procuring the expensive food items that are mainly imported from nearby countries," he added.
He explained that every tonne of wasted food was equivalent to 4.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
He urged people to better plan their meals and make grocery lists to avoid preparing food in large quantities and throwing them out.
"Before going shopping, check what quantities of food items you have at home and what expected quantities will be used," he said.
"Buy food items, especially fruits and vegetables, in smaller quantities depending on use and follow the approach of all food utilisation, once it is prepared and served.
"Eat or give leftover food to others before it becomes rotten and inculcate good food utilising and storage habits among children and juniors," he added.-TradeArabia News Service