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KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Every year, during festive seasons such as Ramadan, tonnes of food end up in the dustbin, and this year is no exception.
Based on statistics by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp), about 4,005 tonnes of edible food is thrown away in landfills every day during Ramadan, and the numbers are bound to increase 15 to 20 per cent every festive season.
That measures up to 120,000 tonnes of food waste for the month and is equivalent to about 343 million packs of medium-sized nasi lemak ayam.
According to SWCorp deputy chief executive officer (technical) Mohd Pauze Mohamad Taha, this amount of food waste could have fed 2.97 million people three times daily.
Although the statistics for this year’s Ramadan is not completed yet, Mohd Pauze said based on the trends since 2016, the numbers are expected to increase for each state, especially in Kuala Lumpur.
He also highlighted that food leftovers make up 44.5 per cent of solid waste composition, which has environmental, economic and religious impact.
He said the leftovers that end up in landfills produce a large amount of leachate and methane gas that’s harmful to the environment.
“Treating or reducing food waste onsite avoids the increased production of CO2 from transportation and methane, leachate, and potential pollutant runoff into local water sources at landfills,” he added.
Mohd Pauze also pointed out that food waste management comes with a hefty price tag, which puts a strain on the economy.
“We must keep away from the habit of wasting food because the habit is not the practice of any religion and it will also be detrimental to ourselves,” he added.
To help combat the issue, he said SWCorp has initiated a Food Waste Reduction programme dubbed “Love Food Hate Waste” at Ramadan bazaars in every state.
“The programme aims to study the amount of food surplus from Ramadan bazaars and save the excessive food by channelling them to the needy, underprivileged undergraduates and homeless students,” he added.
Mohd Pauze also advised Malaysians to stop over-spending on food and plan their meal according to their needs.
“Store your food correctly because improper storage leads to a massive amount of food waste,” he said.
Mohd Pauze also urged both private and government sectors to come together to combat the issue during festive seasons.
Mohd Pauze said public awareness on the issue should be given more attention.
“Powerful social media campaigns and media influencers are seen to have the highest impact on the people nowadays,” he added.
“If more people get the message, food wastage can be reduced significantly.”
To do so, numerous local celebrities and activists have been actively creating awareness about food waste in many ways.
Actress and environmental activist Maya Karin, recently took to Instagram her anger to highlight the environmental consequences of food wastage.
This is just such a waste in all ways!! Cooks wasted their time, donors wasted their money, the carbon emissions to grow the food then send the food from farm to the kitchen to homeless completely unnecessary, precious food wasted, more plastic on earth for no reason at all! More animals will die and we all will eat more micro-plastics. Salam Ramadan guys, MK #ramadhan #seasonaldonors #foodwastage #everythingwastage #wasted #wastedresources #repost @lamkanahraf_ From Syed Azmi''s FB. Yet again, the same problem as previous years. It seems as though rakyat Malaysia ni either bodoh ataupun bengap. Dah berkali-kali kata WORK WITH NGOs TO AVOID DUPLICATION. Not just duplication with NGOs but with other adhoc groups as well. Pahala bazir?
Maya’s post also included photos and a repost from social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi’s Facebook account, which was the trigger of her outrage.