Wasted Food Is a Major Problem in Kurdistan Region
|March 17, 2013||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Statistics show Kurdistan Region’s trashes contain at least 70% of wasted food
UNESCO report shows that 70% of trashes in Kurdistan region contain wasted food that is edible.
There is a growing public demand for recyclable bins, and many blame the government for not providing sufficient services to tackle wasted food. The blame should not rest with the government alone, since they can only provide avenues that help generate a culture that shows concern over the environment, and food. The problem is, people are wasting and throwing away edible food while on our borders there are refugees that can’t afford decent food.
For a population that is close to 3 million, the amount of food wasted in Kurdistan region is staggering. This food can be used to feed the world’s growing population, as well as those who are too poor to afford nutritious food.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has no official statistical date on the amount of wasted food in the region. According to Dilshad Shahab, Municipality Minister, UNESCO prepared a statistical report showing that 70% of trashes in Kurdistan Region is wasted food.
“We are really sad that our people waste this amount of food. It is a big sin,” said Shahab.
All Iraqi people including the Kurds receive food stamps from the government, and consequently receive food.
In 1995, the Security Council adopted Resolution 986, establishing the “oil-for-food” program, providing Iraq with an opportunity to sell oil to trade for humanitarian goods, and various mandated UN activities concerning Iraq.
The program was intended to be a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people until the fulfillment by Iraq of the relevant Security Council resolutions. The situation in Iraq was slightly better from 1995 until the 2003 invasion when Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Although all the sanctions were lifted in 2003, some Iraqis still lived in poverty, so the Ministry of Trade modified the program.
People in all Iraqi provinces could buy subsidized food, but many said the food was low quality. Many people complain about the quality of food; they sometimes sell them or throw them away.
“People are becoming prodigal nowadays. I am sure that God is mad at us for wasting a lot of food. If you look at the garbage cans in front of any houses, you will see they are full of unused food. That is really bad,” said Haji Tofeeq Rahman, a 61-year old man.
Rahman thinks that the youngsters, who haven’t lived in the predicaments of the 1990s, are very vain and imprudent.
In the 1990s, the situation of Kurds within Kurdistan region was very dire. Many lacked access to food and water. Some people used barley instead of wheat to make flour, which was used to make bread.
Economists believe the loss to Kurdistan is dual. One problem is that food is thrown away, and no one benefits from it because they’re not recycled. Another is causes harm to the environment because garbage is burnt in Kurdistan, usually in places that are desolated.
Sirwan Shaho, holds a MSc degree in Economy explained that people need to have a program to organize their eating schedule to ensure that food is not wasted.
“People in Europe cook the amount of food they eat, but people here cook approximately two times more than what they eat. What happens to the remains? Off course they are thrown away,” explained Shaho.
In order to prevent further waste, Shaho believes that the government, development agencies, economic and social organizations, and religious scholars must work together to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers.
Shaho also said that the government needs to think of finding a mechanism as to how to make use of trashes.
“The government can get many benefits from wasted materials. In some countries, electricity power is produced from trashes after they are burnt. The government needs to bring professional people to the region to estimate how trashes can be benefited,” Clarified Shaho.
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