Food waste in Dhaka has become an alarming issue in the face of rising population and their unsustainable consumption behaviour, with wastage taking place mostly in wedding ceremonies, found a study unveiled yesterday.
Action Aid Bangladesh (AAB) and Macomm, an advertising agency, conducted the survey among 1,500 people ranging from students to jobholders and home makers in five locations of Dhaka city.
Some 52 percent of the respondents aged between 15 and 24 years and 57 percent aged between 25 and 30 years said food wastage mainly happened in weddings.
Food wastage in restaurants and home came in at second and third spots in the survey conducted in the light of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12 that focuses on sustainable consumption and production.
One of the targets is to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along the production and supply chain including post-harvest losses, said the concept note of AAB.
Many people cannot finish the entire food served at wedding ceremonies, said Rabeth Khan, chief executive officer of Macomm, at the launch of the study on food consumption behaviour.
Impulsive buying is also responsible for food waste, he added.
The study found that the number of food lovers is increasing and eating out has become a new urban habit.
As many as 91 percent of the participants aged between 15 and 24 preferred to go to restaurants, where consumers can order individual dishes from the menu, also known as à la carte.
And 89 percent of the respondents aged between 25 and 30 love to visit the similar types of food court that have à la carte options.
Roughly 50 percent of the respondents of each of the age group said they spend less than Tk 3,000 in restaurants in a month.
Some 88 percent of participants said they drink bottled water.
The survey also said water wastage mostly takes place during showers and washing clothes.
“Wastage of food is not good as many people remain hungry,” said SM Munjurul Hannan Khan, additional secretary to the ministry of environment, forests and climate change.
He also touched upon generation of waste from food packaging in plastic.
The ministry plans to frame a law to come out of the practice of single-use plastic.
“But the law alone will not help stop use of polythene and plastic. A mass movement is necessary,” he added.
AAB Country Director Farah Kabir moderated the session at Six Seasons Hotel in Dhaka.