Food waste reaches 500 tons a day in Ramadan

UAE asks consumers to cook less food in Ramadan


The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) launched a “Think Before You Waste” campaign as a response to the huge amount of wasted food reaching to 500 tons per day in Ramadan in the UAE, the Abu-Dhabi based The National newspaper reported.

“Culturally, there is much emphasis on providing bountiful meals in celebration of this special month, but the impact of the wasted food is not really considered,” said Majid al- Mansouri, EAD’s secretary general.

“A simple way to reduce food waste is to cook less in the first place, or to think twice before piling up one’s plate at the iftar buffet,” al-Mansouri added.

Food waste is a problem in rich countries

Food waste reaches its peak during Ramadan, however it is problem throughout the year with authorities estimating food waste to account for 34 percent of the UAE’s total waste.

UAE is no different from other wealthy nations, last year the UK threw away 8.3 million tons of food, equal to nearly 23,000 tons a day. Also, combined food waste from the U.S. and UK can feed up to 1.5 billion people, according to an estimate of a British newspaper.

Re-iterating al-Mansouri’s explanation of the huge amount of waste food,

“Part of the reason for so much wasted food is cultural,” said Khadim al-Darei, a member of the board of directors of the UAE Red Crescent Authority, reiterating al-Mansouri’s explanation behind the huge amount of food waste.

“Having plentiful food for guests, and anyone who might ask for it, is part of the generosity expected of Muslims during Ramadan”, al=Darei added.

Food waste exacerbates climate change

“Food waste contributes to climate change, since food rotting in landfills produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas”, said Abdulnasser al-Shamsi, EAD’s executive director.

“While many food products are ultimately biodegradable, their non-consumption means that precious resources used in their cultivation and production are wasted, such as energy, water and materials used for packaging,” al-Shamsi added.

The campaign also aims to remind the public that the Quran tells Muslims to avoid waste, pointing to a passage that says “eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, he likes not those who commit excess”.

Food waste contributes to climate change, since food rotting in landfills produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas

Abdulnasser al-Shamsi, EAD’s executive director