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Festivals and holiday periods are times when we tend to waste more food than usual and the month of Ramadan being one of them. During the month of Ramadan, it is customary for people to strengthen their relationships with each other. For example, iftar, a fast-breaking evening meal for Muslims is often held together, and there is a demand increase in food needs.
Did you know that this example has a negative impact on our environment?
According to the data obtained, the demand for meat products increases by almost 50% every month of Ramadan. Not only meat products, but almost all food products are also experiencing an increase in demand. It is known that the existing demand is not in accordance with what was actually needed. As a result, a lot of leftover food appears and becomes waste.
For example, the UAE states that its hotel sector generates twice as much food waste in Ramadan and the main factor is due to the mindset of visitors who insist on serving abundant and tempting iftar meals. According to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), the problem costs the country's economy more than $3.5 billion per year.
In addition, the 2021 UN Environment Program report "The State of Food Waste in West Asia" confirms that 25-50% of food in Arab countries is wasted during the month of Ramadan.
The danger of food waste can also be proven by the results of its decomposition which produces methane gas. Did you know that methane is a rich greenhouse gas that is even more potent than carbon dioxide? So, methane gas is very harmful to the environment and triggers an increase in global warming.
Source: BMMI Group
Then how well can we reduce waste while still celebrating Ramadan?
Avoiding over-purchasing is one effective way to reduce food waste. We can apply this method by writing a list of what must be purchased in the amount needed, and that way we can also minimize unnecessary expenses.
Instilling the habit of bringing a reusable food container has a very good effect on the environment as well. We can store unfinished and untouched food in the food container and then we can eat it later or give it to others. In such a way, while helping others in need, we also help protect the environment by minimizing food waste.
Making a compost bin at home is another effective way to reduce food waste. Compost made from food waste will be useful for plants and has better nutrients for plant growth as they are derived from organic materials. This method will reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are bad for the environment.
So, let's welcome a more environmentally friendly Eid al-Fitr by reducing food waste!
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