LAHORE: Pakistan is among the world’s top 10 producers of wheat, cotton, rice, sugarcane, mango, dates, and oranges. Despite that, around 40 percent of the country’s population is with little access to affordable and nutritious food.
This was highlighted at a consultative stakeholder workshop, organized by the WWF-Pakistan, in collaboration with the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC), to mark the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of zero hunger and sustainable consumption and production, the WWF-Pakistan’s Sustainable Agriculture and Food Programme took an initiative to ascertain food loss and waste in Pakistan.
The findings of the last year of fieldwork, which included data from the hospitality industry, landfill sites, etc; were disseminated at the workshop.
The WWF experts raised alarm over the statistics, which revealed that nearly 36 million tonnes of food are wasted every year, whereas 18 percent of the population, which primarily includes women and children, face food shortages.
Asad Ullah Imran, director of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Programme, WWF-Pakistan, said: “In a country like Pakistan, where a significant percentage of the population is either food insecure or malnourished, it is morally and ethically wrong to waste food fit for human consumption. We must ensure food security for our citizens and make responsible use of our natural resources to mitigate poverty, hunger, and food waste.”
“Food waste is generated at each step of the process, from production and handling, to consumption and disposal. Most of this ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and increases the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and generates chemical waste that percolates into the soil and groundwater,” he added.
Dr. Kamran Nasir, general manager of Planning and Projects, LWMC, stresses the urgent need to address waste generation.
“LWMC is the biggest company collecting and disposing of waste in Pakistan. Despite putting 14,000 sanitary workers and over 1,000 vehicles to the task, these resources fall short. Therefore, we must shift our attention from waste collection to waste generation. This becomes increasingly important in [the] light of our growing population and consumption patterns.”
He said 64 percent of the waste collected in Lahore is biodegradable.
Representatives from the government, academia, hospitality sector, business community, and waste management sector shared insights on how their respective sectors could contribute towards controlling the menace, which is not only harming the environment but also impacting various aspects of life.
Source: Bol News