M3 Features

Kolkata prepares to minimise food wastage

August 22, 2013

Willful waste makes woeful want.

An old English proverb, this is perhaps not remembered anymore, and in all likelihood has been disposed at the garbage dump.

A country that is so keen to ensure food for all, has a food wastage problem on its hands. The metros in particular, are showing an increase in this syndrome, and it is the affluent who are 'throwing away' more.

Kolkata - a city otherwise known for its compassion and traditional value system, is now at par with the toppers of the pack in the 'food wastage' league. Kolkata has now joined cities like Mumbai and Delhi in this infamous category. While researchers have termed this as an urban syndrome, activists blame it on a change in food consumption habits. Fast food has become a punching bag for most health related issues, and is cited as a reason for this problem as well. Home cooked food remains untouched and ultimately lands in the garbage dump as consumers opt for fast food.

Unconsumed food matter constitutes 20 % of the waste matter generated in Kolkata each day - a staggering figure, for a city where a large part of the population do not get to eat two square meals a day.

An interesting survey has been conducted throughout the city to categorize a waste disposal pattern. Predictably, the affluent areas of the city are wasting more food than the middle class dwellers. Cooking more than necessary and then disposing of it is no less than an offence in today's day and age where India is struggling to provide food on people's plates.

Food items - cooked or raw, take longer time to get decomposed and formation of methane gas is higher during the decomposition process of such items than for other waste materials. People need to be educated that methane gas is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Wastage of food needs to be curbed. Instead of wasting food, a robust mechanism has to be put in place by which surplus food from homes can be reached to the poor. This would be a great social achievement. Methane emission would also be drastically reduced during waste combustion, thereby lowering the pollution in the city.

The Government has asked hotels and restaurants to join the effort to cut down on food wastage. Luxury eateries have been directed to have half portion options on their menu. Also, untouched leftover food is to be sent to shelters or collection centers.

Recently, students from ten schools in Kolkata - under the umbrella of CII and American Center, got together to suggest ways of stemming food wastage. The young minds came up with very 'doable' plans like building a digital platform, collection centers and even door to door collection.

With gen next helping the city get their act together in minimising food wastage, Team M3 is hopeful that it would make a difference to Kolkata.

Source: Team M3.tv

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