Manama:About 25 per cent of food purchased in Bahrain during Ramadan will be thrown away. It is estimated that between BD150 ($395) to BD250 worth of food is thrown away by each household yearly, which leads to a dangerously increasing pattern during Ramadan, according to Supreme Council for Environment Waste Disposal Unit Head Rehan Ahmed, reported the Gulf Daily News.
The demand for meat, chicken, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and rice increases by around 50 per cent during the holy month of Ramadan. “During Ramadan, food wastage increases by 25 per cent due to wrong habits,” Ahmed said. “People think because they are fasting, they should consume more food, ending up buying more and throwing it.” A typical Bahraini household cooks around six to seven elaborate dishes for Iftar, nearly half of which will be wasted,
People should be eating as they do before Ramadan – maybe even less as they have been fasting throughout the day. The rise in income and living standards are believed to be one of the reasons for such high consumption”, said Ahmed.
“People take food consumption lightly due to affordability of such items,” he said. “However, with the rise in food prices it is hoped people will rethink about their consumption and shopping habits. They also tend to buy more than their normal requirements, leading to more wastage as they are possibly not used in time and end up in the bin,” he added.
Ahmed said large quantities of food were wasted during Ramadan because of “over shopping”. He explained that consumers purchased more than they needed as a result of unplanned shopping trips and “buy-one-get-one-free” promotions.
Ahmed called on consumers to develop better food habits and respect for the environment. “Bahrain is, unfortunately, closely following the footprints of Americans and Europeans in food wastage, as the Britons alone throw away one third of their food which entails an enormous hidden financial and environmental cost,” he said. Ahmed added that organic food waste normally reached more than 400 tonnes per day, but this figure rocketed during Ramadan. “People think carbon dioxide emission from cars and other vehicles is the worst form of air pollution, but methane from food,especially meat, is more hazardous,” said Ahmed. During the holy month, food waste exceeds the estimated 400 tonnes of waste per day in Bahrain. Ahmed urged non-governmental organisations to launch awareness campaigns on food consumption, and form a service where volunteers would collect leftover food from iftar buffets at restaurants to distribute among the poor. “People need to understand the urgency of this issue and lessen the amount of waste from excessive food consumption during Ramadan. Households, restaurants, hotels and mosques can adopt initiatives that can lessen or at least manage leftovers so it is not a burden on our environment,” said Ahmed.
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