27% of municipal waste comes from food

MUSCAT, May 20 – Around 27 per cent of municipal waste in the Sultanate consists of food items, worth RO 57 million a year, which is sufficient to meet 18 per cent of the annual food demand in the country, according to Oman Holding Company for Environment Services (Be’ah). People discard large quantities of food after their need especially during Ramadhan. To reduce wastage, some charitable organisations have adopted the idea of collecting the leftovers, which are good for human consumption, to distribute them to the needy. Nidaa Team, a charitable group that covers over 400 families in Bausher, has launched this initiative of ‘food rescue,’ providing ‘pick up and deliver’ service.

“Yes. We are willing to take up consumable food leftovers and deliver them to people in need. Last year, we arranged with one of the restaurants to collect the leftover food and distribute it to students residing in complexes for a whole year,” said Suhaila, a team member. Not only associations, citizens have also been alerted of this issue. Some have donated food pantries and fridges to be kept near mosques and places of worship, encouraging people to bring food after their requirement in good shape, mentioning production date.

Fatima, a housewife, who lives in Mawaleh, said: “Workers and individuals are the main beneficiaries. Few years ago, we didn’t know what to do with extra food. Now, the fridge at the mosque in the neighbourhood is filled with different kinds of food after Isha prayer. Some people don’t bring the leftovers, but prepare full meal for this purpose”. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the value of wasted food and the remains of meals in garbage are sufficient to feed nearly one billion people around the world and that the rate of food waste in the world is 1.3 million tonnes annually. This calls for the need to raise awareness on food consumption and start making use of the wasted food.

Zainab al Nassri