By Bushra Al Sayegh
MORE than 40 per cent of all food prepared daily during Ramadan will be thrown away, says a top environmentalist.
A typical Bahraini household cooks around six to seven dishes for Iftar, nearly half of which will be wasted and release harmful emissions when they break down, warned Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife waste disposal unit senior environment specialist Mohammed Aman.
Mr Aman said health issues also arise from excess food consumption amidst an increased demand for meat, chicken, vegetables, fruits, rice and dairy and bakery products.
“People in this part of the world tend to show off the amount of food they have on their Iftar table,” he said.
“There are more than six types of dishes on the Bahraini Iftar table, which means that more than three of them will be wasted – accounting for more than 40 per cent of food wasted daily.
“It can also create a health issue since people would compensate the whole day of fasting by eating extra portions of food.
“Not to forget that most people tend to visit each other during the nights of Ramadan, resulting in more food consumption.
“Usually, people who fast should lose weight and keep a healthy diet, but what happens is that they end up taking on extra pounds.”
Mr Aman urged Bahrainis to be more economical during Ramadan, saying the key reason for wasting food was preparing several dessert dishes a night.
“Several sweet dishes get prepared as a side dish with the main meal,” he said.
“However, what happens is that people get full before even reaching the dessert part.
“I think that we need more awareness campaigns that can educate the public on the right methods of eating and being economical when it comes to this holy month,” he added.
“They have to get what they need to eat day by day, because purchasing food a month ahead can either be spoiled or end up in the storage for next Ramadan.”
Food waste along with other domestic waste constitutes about 11pc of the total municipal waste, which is collected by private contractors and disposed at the Askar municipal landfill site about 25km away from Manama.
Mr Aman said a large quantity of food was wasted because consumers purchased more than they needed as a result of unplanned shopping trips.
“Wasted food with other domestic waste can create a serious environmental issue,” he said.
“Some will dissolve into gases in the air, while plastic and other disposed food items can create more problems because such components do not dissolve.
“I do not see that Ramadan is different from the other months, therefore, people need to be more economical when it comes to food.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Askar landfill confirmed that food and domestic waste rocketed during Ramadan and other Muslim occasions.
“During Ramadan, Muharram and Eid times we do receive extra amount of food and domestic waste which is a sign that people are not being economical and that they could harm the environment,” he said.
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