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17 April 2024

Food waste is serious economic, environmental issue: Minister of Climate Change

By Wam

Food waste is rather a global issue and tackling it is a priority, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has stated.

"The UAE Food Bank has confirmed in recent statistics that food waste is seen as a serious environmental and economic issue that costs the UAE economy a lot every year," the minister said in an article carried by the Emirates News Agency, WAM.

He called for unifying efforts to come up with innovate solutions to reduce the amounts of food being tossed away into municipal landfills a year, noting that synergy in this regard is badly needed to redistribute surplus food to those who need it.

"Thanks to the prudent policies adopted by our wise leadership towards serious issues like climate change, food security, and sustainability as well as other causes of relevance, we are quite lucky today to live in a country considered among the world’s most secure in terms of food supplies despite the fact that we heavily depend on food imports and despite other challenges associated with domestic production of food material, including water scarcity, high temperature and shortage of farmlands. And by virtue of our enviable strategic location, we have access to diverse collections of food products from different parts of the world.

"But unfortunately for one reason or another, we are not consuming all the food stored in our refrigerators and stores, therefore inflicting heavy damage on our economy and environment, wasting the tremendous costs spent on importing these supplies."

He underscored the negative environmental impact triggered by the millions of metric tonnes of food waste tossed into landfills annually which he said pose a grave danger to "our ecosystem by releasing methane emissions that are much more dangerous than CO2 in their contributions to aggravating global warming and its toll on human health."

He pointed to the Food and Agriculture Organisation's statistics purporting "one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final household consumption. Food losses represent a waste of resources used in production such as land, water, energy and inputs, increasing the green gas emissions in vain."

He called for developing innovative solutions to reduce the amounts of food being wasted every day, paying tribute to the pioneering initiative launched by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to reduce food waste, help the needy and redistribute surplus food that is still fit for human use.