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Food waste, What Indian City Doing or Need to Do

16.02.2013 Bhubaneswar

Have you ever asked how much food waste you Generates?

A question usually never comes in our mind but it is the upcoming major challenge for our booing city lifestyles. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. In fact, the global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

  Indian love to eat; Food is regarded as the most important way to communicate. And many believe when it comes to hospitality, the more, the better, to the point of excess. In India after the big fat wedding is done with and the guests have gone home, what remains is the litter, dirty dishes and piles of excess high-calorie food. Enough to feed lakhs of children, in a country where malnutrition has been termed a "national shame" by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Statistics show that every third malnourished child in the world is an Indian. Economists too say more than 250 million Indians go to bed hungry every day, often because of a lack of storage and distribution lines connecting production and consumption hubs.

A survey shows that annually, Bhubaneswar City in Eastern India alone wastes 28760tonnes of quality food in its
restaurants, informal food joints, social gatherings and households etc. "This is enough to feed 94876 person with a normal Indian 275gram meal at Rs35 in other words the total food wastage in the city is estimated at around Rs 33.20 lakhs annually, based on the survey that covered kalyana mandapas, hotels, waste pickers, restaurants etc over a period of three months. Most of these wastes are due to leftovers or dumped in waste bins of which maximum are rice, roti, vegetables, cereals and salads making it to contribute 26.63 % of the city waste.

"About 15-20 items are served in commercial functions and around 5-8 items in temples etc. The maximum items wasted includes Roti, Salads, Rice, vegetable and some non vegetarian items making it around 75-125 grams loss in each meal served" the survey stated "On an average, a typical commercial meal is very rich in energy. Each meal may have 2076 calories, enough to meet an entire two to three day's requirement of a normal person. On an average the wastage per meal amounted to 33% at 685 calories".

If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions throughout the food supply chain; all end up in vain when we waste food. In fact, the global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. There are many possibilities as for how we can change our unsustainable consumption habits while also improving our quality of life. Changing our current living standards requires us to adopt innovative and creative solutions on the way we use and dispose the products and services we own and consume. This could enable a transition to more sustainable activities and lifestyles while also protecting the world’s natural resources; as it is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

This is something a major concern for many countries around the globe but Indian cities need to do something involving individual, policymaker, hoteliers and consumer etc on ensuring that no food goes waste.

So what Indian Cities needs to do?

The study suggests Indian cities need to take up a national campaign to cut government spending on receptions and reduce food waste by the public. All food joints need to respectfully discourage customers from ordering more than they can eat and serve smaller serving plates with half meal – half Price.

Restaurants will have to introduce measures to save wastage of foods measures by introducing campaign against wasting food by offering smaller dishes, encourage customers to take their leftovers to home. Same time restaurant need to print on menu card reminding customers to order sparingly, while also pointing out that they are encouraged to take leftovers home to eat later. If customers want to order a large portion of a dish when there are fewer than six people at the table, the waiter need to be trained to ask the foreman to check the customers' real needs before they order. Restaurants may encourage servings of lesser number of foods featuring no more than five to six dishes.

Local Governance Network will undertake the methodology in conducting few more Indian cities in days to ignite a debate & awareness amongst policy makers and business houses dealing with food industry and will the final reports around World Environment Day 2013 said Dr. Piyush Ranjan Rout, CO Founder of LGNet..

So think before you eat and help save our environment !
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