29 September, 2006

Food Wastage - Must we be complacent?

The "Speak Your Mind" section of Gulf News today highlighted reader's views on Food Wastage in UAE. Many of the readers have expressed their opinions on crazy wastage of food during Ramadan "feasting", which I had observed here a couple of days ago.

Strangely though, 61% readers tend to agree - and perhaps are relaxed - over the fact that wastage of food in the UAE is at par with the rest of the world!

Personally this feedback was very depressing for me, and raised a few thoughts:
1) Is it necesssary that UAE is expected to run shoulder-to-shoulder with even the negative trends of the world (eg. food wastage)?
2) Is junk food mentality (to quote one of the respondents) one of the primary reasons for food wastage? Are we - due to better lifestyle - increasingly moving towards being a throw-away society?
3) Why do we have to order a lot more food than we can consume? Is there something to do with "Showing off" our prosperity status in public when we have a lot of "left-overs"?
4) In a structured society, driven to some extent by laws inspired by the Shariah, isn't there any way by which we can control the "visual hunger" for more food?
5) While a nationwide Food Recovery Program would definitely help, are the private sector companies the only ones held socially responsible for developing funds to fight hunger?
6) Couldn't the higher prices, that we see in garments and other lifestyle objects, be able to control "over spending" and hence wastage of food?

I'm sure readers would have more ideas to tackle this menace - Ramadan is a good time to start thinking!


urbanite82 said...

I am glad someone has brought this point up, I have been meaning to blog about it myself...I feel that it is the responsibility of both the gov't and the private sector to handle the problem of food wastage...restaurants and other food outlets function solely due to the patronage of the community's members, therefore they should give back and function within the community by setting up a way to distibute excess or wasted food to those who are less fortunate. Community members in turn should care enough to volunteer themselves to facilitate pick up and distribution (especially during a time such as Ramadan), I for one am looking into it...I was shocked at how much food was left over on the first Iftar 'feast' I attended, I even asked 'what happens to all the leftovers?', everyone at the table either ignored my question or looked down, with what seemed like shame, on their faces.

As a side note one of the comments on the gulf news article was that 'there are no stray cats or dogs in dubai to give left over food to'...I wonder where that person lives 'cause I see it differently, both K9Friends and FelineFriends are packed with strays to the point where they can't even take any more animals in.I see stray cats everywhere I go...

Al Sinjab said...

I find it curious that more children and adults don't pack leftovers for lunch. At least in my experience (at three schools - two in RAK, one in Sharjah) this was the case. Granted, adults won't be taking a lunch during Ramadan but young children needn't buy a lunch the next day when they could have such sumptious leftovers.

Is there a stigma against leftovers or is it just poor planning?

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