Excessive food wastage during food fests and breaking of fast events

PETALING JAYA: Food fests held in expensive hotels and breaking of fast events, which were organised daily throughout the month, had contributed to increasing food wastage which subsequently raised environmental issue of overcapacity in landfills.

Such problem had proven to become a challenge for Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp), forcing it to work more just to ensure our land is not overflowing with waste.

SWCorp deputy chief executive officer (technical) Dr Mohd Pauze Mohamad Taha said solid waste, including food waste, had been showing an increasing trend during the Ramadan period.

He said such statistics were expected as studies conducted by the agency showed an increase of solid waste generation by 15% to 20% during festive seasons and Ramadan.

"Such exorbitant amounts had caused SWCorp to come out with better steps and initiatives to avoid food waste from being disposed in landfills," he told theSun.

Mohd Pauze said programmes centred on feasts such as those held in hotels and other public factors were the contributing factors to the increase in food waste statistics.

He said based on SWCorp study, food waste produced by Malaysians amounted to 45% of the total solid waste generated nationwide.

What more concerning was the fact that 20% of the generated food waste was those that is regarded as 'edible' waste, he added.

"Feast programmes could lead to food wastage if they are not organised with better care and responsibility by all involved parties including organisers and guests," he said.

The trend of food wastage during Ramadan was also agreed by Food Aid Foundation, a non-governmental organisation concerned with collecting surplus food for the impoverished Malaysians.

Its director of operations Hayati Ismail said the food bank would always see an increase of around 25% to 30% of edible food waste during the fasting month.

Raising the concern, she added Malaysians would be living beside a landfill in the future if the issue of food waste was not handled actively today.

"About 3,000 tonnes of edible food is thrown into our landfills daily … Not only are we wasting good food, we are polluting our environment with our bad habits," she said.

"As for those patronising hotels, our society should learn the art of buffet where we should take food moderately and not pile our plates with food," she added.