Leftover food releasing 3.3 bn tonnes of greenhouse gases

Muscat, July 15 – The leftover food dumped in landfills results in 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, according to the Oman Animal & Plant Genetic Resources Centre (OAPGRC). Up to 18 per cent of all food produced in Oman — intended for consumption — is not eaten, which equates to RO 57 million a year, Oman Environment Services Holding Company (Be’ah) has said as part of a campaign to make the people aware that food waste is harmful to the environment.
Food that gets thrown ends up in landfills, where it gradually rots and releases methane, a strong greenhouse gas. The decay of food waste in landfills is not the only source of greenhouse gas. Resources needed to produce food also have a carbon footprint.
Globally, the effect of processing food that goes waste is equal to 3.3 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Although there are a few charity organisations that distribute leftover food to the needy, awareness against food wastage is a must, Be’ah said.
In an earlier study on household food waste conducted by Esma Karim al Balushi from the Department of Natural Resource Economics, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), food wastage was found to be quite high in the Sultanate.
Effective waste management is important to Oman’s sustainable future and critical for conservation of the Sultanate’s natural resources, OAPGRC said.
“Food waste is hot business”, it said, adding it has the “potential to generate thousands of permanent Omani jobs” in recycling, composting and related fields.
Many countries have already started ‘Rescuing Leftover Cuisine’ projects which aims to feed the hungry and reduce food waste.
Such initiatives provide solutions to prevent excess wholesome cuisine from being wasted. Arranging pick-ups of leftover food and delivering it to the poor families and human service agencies is the main purpose of such projects.

Mai al Abria