The other day I had the ‘ honor’ of attending a ‘big fat Indian wedding’ in a five star resort of Jaipur. With more than 2000 guests, the wedding was ostentatious beyond my expectations. Apart from the resort and its decor what caught everyone’s attention was – the food. With innumerable varieties of Indian and continental varieties of delicacies, the food, certainly stole the show. With so many options available it was difficult to decide what to eat and what to leave and in the quest of deciding on the best food item, a lot of food ended up in the bin. People would fill their plates beyond its capacity; and their stomachs beyond its digestive capacity and would still manage to land some amount of food into dust bins.
But in a country with over 1 billion population out of which 30 million people suffer from hunger and more than 46% of children are underweight, is it OK to throw away food like this? In a country where people don’t even get one meal a day, is such wastage of food by the affluent lot justified?
India is still considerate of their food as compared to the opulent countries like America- throws away 40% of the bought food; uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of US solid waste where it accounts for almost 25% of methane emissions accelerating global warming. Australians throw out more than 4 million tonnes of food every year: close to a thousand kilograms per household. About one-third of food purchased in the UK is tossed out every year and the world as a whole wastes about 300 million tonnes, which is more than the total net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa- enough to feed the estimated 900 million people hungry in the world. This is the scenario when one in every seven people goes to bed hungry and more than 20,000 people die of hunger every day.
Considering these figures it wouldn't be wrong to say that whatever food insecurity we are facing today, can be attributed to improper distribution and management; and not solely on production failure. Things like this put a huge question mark on our efforts towards sustainable future.
It is time we change certain habits that are not good for our earth and its people because it is our small efforts that brings large difference in the society. Think at least once before you order your food and twice before you throw it away, it would not only save your money but also will save earth’s precious resources.
There are certain communities that have taken initiative to reduce the food wastage. 1098 is one such child helpline in India that collects extra food from people.
Think, eat- save.
Keep your plates full, but not at the cost of others’.