UAE Press: A valuable lesson to cut food waste

UAE Press: A valuable lesson to cut food waste

ABU DHABI, 27th December, 2022 (WAM) -- One of the lessons that parents anywhere in the world begin to instil in their children at an early stage is to not waste food. When children reach a school-going age and common sense teachings such as these are reiterated in classrooms, progress is already being made towards a positive and wholesome development of future generations.

Earlier this year, at the launch of a nationwide campaign to reduce food waste in the UAE “Ne'ma initiative”, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said current and future generations should follow the example of previous generations of Emiratis who had more sustainable attitudes towards food consumption.

“Adding to the theme of that campaign, this past week, the UAE launched a waste-free schools campaign to cut food waste in dozens of schools across the country,” said The National in an editorial on Tuesday.

Calling food loss and waste a global challenge, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, said recently that 30 percent of global food production, or 1.3 billion tonnes, is wasted annually.

Besides the implicit right-mindedness of curbing food waste, the less waste that a household's kitchen generates, the less waste ends up in a landfill. This is a good thing, as it helps to lower the deadly emissions released from landfills, polluting the air we breathe and only adding to the substantial environmental challenges the world faces.

Perhaps, one approach to tackle the problem is to consider giving food where it is most needed. The UAE is no stranger to charitable acts, helping those in need. In the spirit of reallocating resources, and instead of letting perfectly safe and edible food go to waste, proper channels for redistribution could be organised. This would be similar in principle to the function served so efficiently by the UAE food bank initiative or Ramadan fridges over a whole month.

Bringing the awareness of pressing global concerns to the classrooms and talking about the solutions is part of a good education. There will be 63 UAE schools, as part of this campaign, imparting that education, teaching both pupils and staff, on how they can take to contribute to UAE's goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030.

Sheikh Mohamed has urged a shared responsibility among all members of society to change practices and behaviour that lead to food waste, to ensure a more sustainable future.
When the head teacher echoes values that mothers and fathers may well have already started their children off on, it strengthens their core values. By the time that children are teenagers, not wasting food would have largely become a habit, and personal commitments made to help improve the environment. It leads to adults practising this at meal times and possibly feeling responsible whenever food is inadvertently wasted.

“Campaigns such as these have a broad ambit, but they can be far-reaching and essential in forming conscientious behaviour that can go a long way,” concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily.