AGU participates in addressing food waste dialogue

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Manama, May 3 (BNA): A regional discussion on the prevention of food waste was recently held under the slogan ‘Food Waste Prevention: innovations and solutions n the Arab region’ and AGU was represented by the university’s Graduate Studies College Natural Resources and Environmental Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Dr. Sumaya Yousif. 


The dialogue was organized by the FAO Regional Office for Middle East and North Africa in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for West Asia. 


It aimed to encourage an exchange of knowledge and expertise in addition to social, technological and innovative solutions as well as policies to address food waste prevention. 


Dr. Sumaya presented the results of a study on technical opportunities for organic waste management and food waste management priorities in Bahrain as well as the GCC countries. 


The study focused on exploring the best techniques for the management of food waste and organic waste in addition to obstacles preventing their implementation. 


Recommendations focused on the importance of implementing a system of reduction and prevention at the source as a priority to avoid wastage by increasing awareness about sustainable consumption and smart purchasing. 


According to her, this also includes following a healthy diet, purchasing environmentally friendly products as well as avoiding disposable items and canned food. 


She emphasized the importance of checking the expiry dates on all products while also adopting a sustainable healthy lifestyle - both individually and as an entire community. 


She stressed the importance of a national strategy for sustainable management of hard waste - in all categories - as well as increase awareness regarding consequences of food wastage - which is a threat to resources such as water, energy, time and human resources. 


Dr. Sumaya  noted the negative impact food wastage has on the environment, climate change, human health, economies and society while also posing a serious threat to food security as there are around 7 million people who struggle with hunger globally. 


“A person in Bahrain wastes around 132 kilograms of food annually which is a total of 230,000 tons costing around BD95 million according to the latest UNEP statistics,” she said. 

“This requires immediate action to prevent this massive waste of food.”


“It is critical to raise awareness about reusing and recycling food in various ways to prevent wastage such as using innovative cooking methods as well as turning leftovers into compost at individual homes and across the country.”


She also highlighted the importance of developing food banks and societies that preserve food while also emphasizing that it is critical to invest in the educational sector within efforts to raise awareness and prepare the future generation to invest in environmental innovations as well as following a circular economy system. 


Dr Yousif noted that around a third of the good that is wasted in the region is wasted at the retail and consumer level.


According to the UNEP report, global food waste amounted to 931 million tons of food consumed in 2019 with wastage in the Arab region exceeding more than 40 million tons.