Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don't waste Food. Period.

Well, I don't have a nice topic right now to discuss about. But I cannot stop noticing one thing, particularly in US - 'WASTE OF FOOD'.

Why do it? I have discussed this thing often with my friend Zalak, and it's annoying when you know how many countries (not just people) suffer from hunger and famine. It has been continued for so long that the units of measurement have changed. We don't say 1 million people are starving, because as a matter of fact, a couple of countries face this calamity. And not for some months, or one or two seasons - for YEARS. Our units are getting bigger and bigger. It may sound sarcastic to most, and funny to a few, but it remains one of the most painful and harsh realities of our time. An official report shows that: "World-wide around 852 million men, women and children are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty; while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty. (Source: FAO, 2003)." [Wikipedia: Food Security]

And that's not all. We have again one entire COUNTRY, devoted to obesity. Not just being fat, note the unit - OBESE. I go around in cafes and fast-food joints, there are overly huge people everywhere indulging in cheesy and greasy stuff. Lots of people throw away half their food in trash bins. The restaurants advertise 'value meals', where they give lot of food, for very less money. The amount of food is more than one person can, or should eat. So, the person buying it, either throws away or eats it all - causing harm to the world in one case, to one's self in other.

Why can't the food joints offer small chunks of food for lesser value! If someone has to eat more, he can just buy it twice. In that case, if he cannot finish it all, he has untouched food which he can eat later. Or just give away to someone who needs it. Can we think of a concept of 'Shared meals' just like shared cabs/carpool?! Well...I personally do that. Me and Z always used to buy meals among two of us, because we knew neither of us could eat it all.

Due to restrictions and regulations related to health, catering services and restaurants cannot use the leftover food for any other purpose. One very nice thing I have noticed is that they offer the take-away service and people happily and willingly take advantage of it. But, if the same catering services and restaurants can arrange for a better utilization of leftover food, such as giving to asylums, orphan houses or homeless shelters, it can serve a very good purpose. I very well remember back in India, my mother and grandmother used to take leftover food after any huge party and give it to people in slums.

A lot of people don't eat previous night's left-overs. Without being a guru to such people I would try to summarize my philosophy: 'Millions more people die of getting less food or no food at all, than people dying because of eating stale food.' That's all.

Some eye-opening facts:

  • India has highest number of under-nourished people in the world: 198 millions. Next are China, Bangladesh, Congo and Pakistan – respectively 150, 43, 37 and 35 million people. [Malnutrition is political term used for ‘Hunger’ to a certain extent.]
  • A continued condition of malnutrition can cause reduced intelligence, putting those countries in an infinite loop of poverty.

What WE can do:

PS: And we haven't even touched the effects to environment, yet.

Turbo Tagger


Tejas said...

Hey all,

I put down my thoughts. I am sure I will think I could add more or cut some points, after my brain has settled a few hours later. :-)

Give me your inputs. Share ideas. What do YOU people think of the issue, and possible solutions? Is the blog good, bad or plain ugly? Too long such as only 2 para short of a thesis or too short that you won't even remember it? Give your feedback. It's already appreciated.

zalak said...

Why every single time I have to toss half of my burrito? Why? Why? Why? I am so irritated doing that, now I don’t prefer to eat burrito. The problem is not at all the money, but I just don’t like to waste the food. I don’t understand why the normal meal size if so big in USA. No wonder world’s biggest number of obese people is here. Tejas, you have coined a very good concept – “Shared meal”. We are already practicing it, hope it will get popular some day.

zalak said...

Hi Tejas,

I like your blog very much. Hey keep it random same as your thought are coming naturally. Don’t worry about length or paragraph structure, because then only it will not look like research paper :-)

Anonymous said...

Great entry, Tejas.


darshinee said...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

DBU said...

Well written, highlighting a true point ! Concepts of food sharing might be new for Amrus but we've always been doing that back home ! My tuppence worth of thought: I get that burrito only after making it absolutely certain that I am hungry enough to finish it (or I can find a companion who could savor it)!!! If I'm not, I go for something else (maybe a burger). Hence it comes down to choices - eat what is good for you - without wasting :) If we can't do even that, we are to blame ourselves - as greedy fast-food chains will only force us to eat more :)

Tejas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tejas said...

Thanks everyone for your inputs so far.

Zee: I am glad you like the blog. Thanks for the words of inspiration.

Darshinee: I added that link to the blog. As the blog becomes 'popular', the site will too.

DBU - Darshit: Ordering burrito only when you are hungry enough or when you have a companion to share is very good idea. But in general, like when you are at restaurants or things, if you get larger chunks you have to finish it. At that time, you can present the 'shared meal' concept to your companions. When we have very limited choices of food, like on our campus, eating a burger everyday becomes very boring. I am sure you have experienced the same. :)

When I googled the term 'Shared meals', all results I got were from different catering services marketing their shared meal passes. Completely irrelevant to what I am trying to explain. This shows how ignorant people are to the entire concept.