Wasted food is a ma­jor prob­lem in Kur­dis­tan re­gion

Statis­tics show Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s trashes con­tain at least 70% of wasted food

The Kurdish Globe - - CULTURE -

UNESCO report shows that 70% of trashes in Kur­dis­tan re­gion con­tains wasted food that is ed­i­ble.

There is a grow­ing pub­lic de­mand for recyclable bins, and many blame the government for not pro­vid­ing suf­fi­cient ser­vices to tackle wasted food. The blame should not rest with the government alone, since they can only pro­vide av­enues that help gen­er­ate a cul­ture that shows con­cern over the en­vi­ron­ment, and food. The prob­lem is, peo­ple are wast­ing and throw­ing away ed­i­ble food while on our bor­ders there are refugees that can’t af­ford de­cent food.

For a pop­u­la­tion that is close to 3 mil­lion, the amount of food wasted in Kur­dis­tan re­gion is stag­ger­ing. This food can be used to feed the world’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, as well as those who are too poor to af­ford nu­tri­tious food.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government (KRG) has no of­fi­cial sta­tis­ti­cal date on the amount of wasted food in the re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to Dil­shad Sha­hab, Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Min­is­ter, UNESCO pre­pared a sta­tis­ti­cal report show­ing that 70% of trashes in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is wasted food.

"We are really sad that our peo­ple waste this amount of food. It is a big sin," said Sha­hab.

All Iraqi peo­ple in­clud­ing the Kurds re­ceive food stamps from the government, and con­se­quently re­ceive food.

In 1995, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil adopted Res­o­lu­tion 986, es­tab­lish­ing the "oil-for-food" pro­gram, pro­vid­ing Iraq with an op­por­tu­nity to sell oil to trade for hu­man­i­tar­ian goods, and var­i­ous man­dated UN ac­tiv­i­ties con­cern­ing Iraq.

The pro­gram was in­tended to be a tem­po­rary mea­sure to pro­vide for the hu­man­i­tar­ian needs of the Iraqi peo­ple un­til the ful­fill­ment by Iraq of the rel­e­vant Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions. The sit­u­a­tion in Iraq was slightly bet­ter from 1995 un­til the 2003 in­va­sion when Iraq was lib­er­ated from Sad­dam Hus­sein's regime.

Although all the sanc­tions were lifted in 2003, some Iraqis still lived in poverty, so the Min­istry of Trade mod­i­fied the pro­gram.

Peo­ple in all Iraqi prov­inces could buy sub­si­dized food, but many said the food was low qual­ity. Many peo­ple com­plain about the qual­ity of food; they some­times sell them or throw them away.

"Peo­ple are be­com­ing prodi­gal nowa­days. I am sure that God is mad at us for wast­ing a lot of food. If you look at the garbage cans in front of any houses, you will see they are full of un­used food. That is really bad," said Haji Tofeeq Rah­man, a 61-year old man.

Rah­man thinks that the young­sters, who haven't lived in the predica­ments of the 1990s, are very vain and im­pru­dent.

In the 1990s, the sit­u­a­tion of Kurds within Kur­dis­tan re­gion was very dire. Many lacked ac­cess to food and water. Some peo­ple used bar­ley in­stead of wheat to make flour, which was used to make bread.

Econ­o­mists be­lieve the loss to Kur­dis­tan is dual. One prob­lem is that food is thrown away, and no one ben­e­fits from it be­cause they’re not re­cy­cled. An­other is causes harm to the en­vi­ron­ment be­cause garbage is burnt in Kur­dis­tan, usu­ally in places that are des­o­lated.

Sir­wan Shaho, holds a MSc de­gree in Econ­omy ex­plained that peo­ple need to have a pro­gram to or­ga­nize their eat­ing sched­ule to en­sure that food is not wasted.

"Peo­ple in Europe cook the amount of food they eat, but peo­ple here cook ap­prox­i­mately two times more than what they eat. What hap­pens to the re­mains? Off course they are thrown away," ex­plained Shaho.

In or­der to pre­vent fur­ther waste, Shaho be­lieves that the government, devel­op­ment agen­cies, eco­nomic and so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions, and re­li­gious schol­ars must work to­gether to help change peo­ple's mind­sets on waste and dis­cour­age waste­ful prac­tices by farm­ers, food pro­duc­ers, su­per­mar­kets and con­sumers.

Shaho also said that the government needs to think of find­ing a mech­a­nism as to how to make use of trashes.

"The government can get many ben­e­fits from wasted ma­te­ri­als. In some coun­tries, elec­tric­ity power is pro­duced from trashes af­ter they are burnt. The government needs to bring pro­fes­sional peo­ple to the re­gion to es­ti­mate how trashes can be ben­e­fited," Clar­i­fied Shaho.

A garbage spot in Er­bil. Han­dling the garbage has been a ma­jor chal­lange for com­mu­ni­ties in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

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