MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Thursday, August 27, 2009

View: So much food, so much waste

Thursday August 27, 2009


There is no real shortage of food in terms of global production but too much of it goes down the drain due to greed and disregard for others.

AS the month of Ramadan enters its first week, I'm thankful for the number of invitations to attend buka puasa dinners with my Muslim colleagues.

The hosts of many of these breaking-of-fast functions are companies run by non-Muslims, reflecting the real Malaysian sense of sharing that transcends religion and race.

The lavish array of mouth-watering food at Ramadan bazaars and hotel buffet spreads are indeed astounding.

But many Muslims, like my good friend Zulkefli Abdul Talib, feel that such abundance is ironic during the holy month when abating one's appetite should be the right focus.

Ramadan, after all, is not merely about abstaining from food and drink from sunrise till sunset.

It's more about limiting indulgences and thinking about the unfortunate people who have to struggle for their daily meals.

As he put it, the sanctity of the month is being clouded by the propensity for ostentation and overspending.

"Even when one goes to the nearby bazaar to buy food to buka puasa, the tendency is to buy a lot more than can be eaten. We usually end up with too much, when what is needed to break fast are dates, a drink, some kuih and a square meal," he said.

But overeating during Ramadan is not something that is peculiar to Malaysians. The Gulf Times, Qatar's top English newspaper, said in a recent editorial that the rise of food wastage during a month meant for dietary restraints rather than gluttony is a problem faced by all communities. It said the desire to be one-up over others leads to huge amounts food prepared and eaten in small gatherings.

Against such a scenario, perhaps it is pertinent to take note that there are still Malaysians who are on the verge of starvation, and also to reflect on the shocking number of people who die from hunger elsewhere in the world.

Last week, The Star reported that people in Sarawak's Kapit Division are facing acute food shortage, an obvious consequence of wanton destruction of forests through logging and creation of new oil palm plantations.

The remote Lusong Laku Penan settlement and surrounding hamlets, which can only be reached via timber tracks after more than 10 hours of driving, face shortages of basic foods and clean drinking water. There are some 3,000 people in the area, with young children being the hardest hit by hunger and malnutrition.

Concerned Malaysians, including those touched by lawyer Haris Ibrahim's blog posting titled: "How many anak Bangsa Malaysia must die before you are moved?" have donated generously, but much of the stockpiled provisions have yet to be sent through because of logistical problems.

A trip by a 10-wheeler lorry from Bintulu costs RM5,000, a three-tonne lorry RM1,500 while delivery by a 4WD-vehicle can cost up to RM700. Other than the satellite phones in clinics and schools, there are no other means of quick communications.

Besides the Penans and other indigenous groups from Sarawak and Sabah, pockets of poverty are still evident among Malays in the east coast.

But our problems are trifling compared with the appalling global statistics on hunger. The stark fact is that starvation kills one person every three seconds. To see the other shocking figures moving in real time, go to:

Yes, hunger and malnutrition kill between nine million and 10 million people each year, about half of whom are children, while an estimated five billion suffer from protein deficiency and lack of essential vitamins and minerals.

But in terms of food production, there is no tangible shortage in the world.

On the contrary, too much food grown on land created from the destruction of natural eco-systems and a lot of it is being wasted.

Tristam Stuart, a historian and "freegan" (one who subsists largely on food discarded by others), highlights this paradox well in his thought-provoking book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal.

He says food is treated as a disposable commodity in the developed world, disconnected from the social and environmental impact of its production.

"By buying more food than we are going to eat, the industrialised world devours land and resources that could otherwise be used to feed the world's poor.

"There are nearly a billion undernourished people in the world — but all of them could be fed with just a fraction of the food which rich countries currently throw away."

In the United States, about 50% all food is wasted and in the UK, it is a third of it, weighing up to 20 million tonnes. He estimates that the Japanese dispose of food worth about RM357.7bil yearly.

How do we ourselves fare? There are no clear monetary estimates but some 20,000 tonnes of solid waste are currently generated in peninsular Malaysia alone and 45% of this is discarded food.

So, just how much food should be enough for each one of us to prevent others from starving?

Five years ago, when the world's population was 6.3 billion and global food production was 4.035 billion tonnes of food (cereal, fruit, vegetable, meat and seafood combined) the Food and Agriculture Organisation reckoned that a mere 1.74kg of food per day was all it that was needed for each person to evenly share all food produced in the world.

That is certainly food for thought.

> Associate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan likes this quote by Benjamin Franklin: Mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Opinion 27 August 2009

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