Food Waste: And how a group is making a difference

Food waste around the world is a major problem. Not only wasting food has serious economic and climatic implications, there is also a moral obligation as millions around the world are not getting enough food for them and their families. It is estimated that more than 2bn tonnes of food is wasted annually which is around half the food produced. This is absolutely shocking considering the food scarcity in some parts of the world. This food waste is also responsible for generating enormous carbon footprint which is believed to be more than twice that created by road transportation in America.

Although a lot of food is wasted during harvesting, storage and transportation, a large amount is also wasted by restaurants and events such as wedding. The Guardian recently reported about a volunteer movement, Robin Hood Army in Delhi who drive to restaurants to collect un-sold food, re-package it and then distribute it to hundreds of people living on the streets. The group is on a mission to curb food wastage and wipe out hunger. The movement, similar to the Portuguese organization Refood International, now consists of more than 500 volunteers spread across 13 cities including Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Such has been success of Robin Hood Army that it has inspired volunteer groups in Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore.

The people behind this movement is young Indian professionals who divide themselves in small groups and visit restaurants in their locality convincing them to donate surplus food and hand it out to people in need. The food ranges from biryani to dal, cakes to brownies and biscuits. Indian weddings, especially, waste huge amounts of food, and recently volunteers fed around 970 people with excess food from one wedding. A Jaipur NGO named Center for Development Communication, estimated that nearly £1.6 billion worth of food is wasted in Indian weddings, one-fifth of the prepared food.

Food wastage is one of the worst offences and must be curbed as soon as possible. There are multiple supermarkets which dispense fruits, vegetables and bread because of their physical appearance. This is yet another outlet which these volunteer movements can target which is healthy too.

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