ISLAMABAD: Almost 40pc of cooked food is wasted in Pakistan while in other developing countries, 50pc of food goes to waste.

Speaking at the launch of the Islamabad Devcom Leo Club, former Director General Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Asif Shuja Khan said even more food is wasted in Ramazan, contrary to Islamic teachings.

The Islamabad Devcom Leo Club has been formed by 20 students of various institutions in order to launch a campaign against wasting food in the federal capital and to raise awareness about other environmental and climate change issues.

Mr Khan said wasting food has enormous social and environmental implications including a shortage of food for vulnerable communities and also leads to a hike in food prices.

“Roughly one third of the food produced for human consumption globally is wasted. This is about 1.3 billion tons of food each year. This also means that a large amount of the resources used in food production are used in vain and that greenhouse gas emissions caused by food production is also in vain,” he said.

Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final household consumption, Mr Khan said.

“In medium and high income countries, food is wasted at the consumption stage, meaning that it is discarded even if it is suitable for human consumption,” he said.

Organiser of the club, Munir Ahmed said Pakistan may be one of the countries in which food deficiency will be hitting the red line soon if a check is not kept on food consumption habits and controlling the loss of food in production and storage.

“Just look at the food wasted at weddings in particular. Together, this food can feed millions of people who go hungry. Hundreds of people in Pakistan die each year because of malnutrition and various deficiencies,” he said.

Talking to Dawn later, he said he had asked a five star hotel in Islamabad and learnt that 870 kg of food is wasted at that hotel each day.

“That food can be given to those living in slums and those who don’t have food at all,” he said.

Another member of the club, Naeem Hashmi, also spoke at the launch and urged the younger generation to also involve their peers in welfare and community services.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2016

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