April 29, 2017

Food Waste is a Grave Concern

Food Waste is a Grave Concern

Tons and tons of edible food gets wasted in Malaysia every single days. Photo Credit: The Borgen Project

Food waste, as we’ve pointed it out, is reaching epidemic proportions in Malaysia. Out of the 38,000 tons of waste Malaysians leave behind every single day, some 15,000 tons is food waste. More than half of that waste, some 8,000 tons, could easily be avoided with better management of resources. Meanwhile, 3,000 tons of food that ends up in landfills every day is still edible and could feed a staggering two million people.

“In Malaysia, we have an abundance of food, we see food everywhere, everywhere we go we expect a big feast,” notes Mohd Pauze Mohamed Taha, deputy CEO of SWCorp Malaysia, a government agency tasked with tackling the issue of food waste in the country. “So it does not click in our mind that there are people who aren’t eating,” the expert added.

“Here we are listening to stats that obesity rates are very high,” she pointed out. “At the same time, undernourishment is also an issue. So when there’s (3000 tonnes of wasted edible food), there should not be undernourishment in this country.”

Good points. Yet many Malaysians don’t seem to care. If they did, they could easily do something about it: simply wasting less. A main source of food waste is from households, followed by night markets, food courts and eateries. Supermarkets, too, contribute their own share by pulling still edible food items, like fresh vegetables, off shelves and dumping them. Most of that wasted food ends up in landfills, where it then rots.

At the end of the day, we’re all responsible for this state of affairs. “Lots of people still don’t know how to handle the food waste. By the year 2020, there will be enough food waste to fill up 16 KLCC buildings if nothing is done to handle food waste,” Mae Ooi, executive director of Mentari Alam Eko Sdn Bhd in Sibu, observes.

What to do? Simple: Buy and order only as much food as you can consume. Keep your food fresh so you won’t have to waste it. If you still end up with uneaten food, donate it to charitable organizations.

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