June 2, 2017

Wan Junaidi: We need to Stop wasting Food, especially at Ramadan

Wan Junaidi: We need to Stop wasting Food, especially at Ramadan

Ramadan feasts are joyous occasions but that doesn't mean we should waste food. Photo Credit: Pullman Hotel

Malaysians waste food. Plenty of food. They waste around 8,000 or 9,000 tons of it each day, to be precise. And during the month of Ramadan, which lasts from May 26 to June 24 this year, the amount of food waste rises exponentially.

At Ramadan each year, some 270,000 tons of food ends up as trash. That amount could feed six times the country’s entire population. If collected in one spot, the piles of food waste would loom so large that we could rival the KLCC Tower 30 times over. Many of the culprits are banquets that offer the pious endless spreads of food after they break their fast every evening of the holy month. The food wasted that month alone could feed another six million people.

That is hardly news. But what to do?

Ask Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and the solution is simple: we must change out eating habits. For starters, we should cut back on over-ordering at Ramadan buffets, thereby leaving lots of leftovers that inevitably end up in heaps of trash.

“I agree that there is a lot of wastage especially in a buffet,” the minister was quoted as saying. “If we study the food prepared in a hotel buffet, for example, there is a possibility that about 50 per cent of the food will be disposed of and not consumed. This also explains why the charge for a hotel buffet meal is very high, which is because of the loss made by the restaurant/eatery operator due to wastage.”

That’s simple common sense wisdom, of course. The trouble is that many Malaysians continue to ignore it. That is no doubt because of a prevalent mindset that if everyone else is doing it, it can’t be bad. But we can all make a difference individually. Let’s start treating food as a valuable commodity that needs to be handled prudently: let’s buy only as much as we can consume and let’s overeating, too.

That way we can make a positive impact on the environment, on our waistline and on our wallet as well.



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