KARACHI: A number of people, especially schoolchildren, thronged the eco-friendly food festival on Saturday, its second day at the Beach View Park in Clifton.

Described as Pakistan’s “first environment friendly food festival”, the event titled ‘ReFest’ is being organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P).

A total of 70 food stalls have been set up at the festival where visitors have the opportunity to enjoy good food and music as well as learn about some simple steps that could help ensure sustainable food consumption and environmental safety.

“The concept behind this event is to revisit the idea of organising food festivals and share key messages on reducing food wastage, recycling and reusing creatively. Right now, our lifestyle poses serious threat to the nature,” said Hammad Naqi Khan, director general of WWF-P.

Often we didn’t even eat all the food that was produced as around one third of it was lost in the supply chain or thrown away, he added, while emphasising that creation of sustainable food systems were important to protect diversity of life on earth

In an effort to make zero waste to landfills, only eco-friendly cutlery is available at the festival. Single-use plastic containers and straws are either not available or properly being collected for recycling, if some stalls are using them.

Moreover, the festival tickets are made from recycled paper and a tree plantation has been organised after the festival, also hosting art exhibition in which creativity is demonstrated using recycled material.

“The surplus food not sold at the end of each day at the festival is being collected by the Robin Hood Army and distributed to less privileged people in the city,” said Asif Sandeelo representing the WWF.

According to the Global Hunger Index 2016 report, Pakistan ranks as a country with a serious hunger level. Approximately 40 per cent of food in the country is wasted, which amounts to close to 36 million tonnes of food waste per year in the country.

This level of wastage is alarming when compared to the figure that 43pc of the country’s citizens remain food insecure with 18pc facing severe shortages.

The festival ends today (Sunday).

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2019

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