Government institutions, multinationals, civil society, and even the small-scale businesses in Pakistan are aware to plan and act to play their part in making this world a sustainable place to live. A series of policies and campaigns with regard to sustainability are already in place to achieve the goals by 2030. A senior writer at the World Economic Forum’s website has highlighted in his article (Hutt, 2018)the success of a Billion-tree Tsunami project by the current government in the following words, ‘… the project has been an environmental, economic and social success’. The target is just not the climate change but restoring the lands of Pakistan to ensure the irrigation process at its right place, because deforestation caused land erosion, which has been the source of disasters and ultimately has definitely hit the agriculture-based economy in Pakistan.
Pakistan, being an agriculture-based economy should feed its population with its own produce. In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, Pakistan ranks 94th out of 117 qualifying countries. With a score of 28.5, it suffers from a level of hunger that is serious, but the trends suggest that the situation is getting better as it was 35.9 and 37.0 in 2010 and 2005 respectively. It is also due to the awareness that has started to rise in society.
The ongoing projects by the government and international organizations have helped Pakistan become economically and financially viable to solve this issue permanently, but alternatively, initiatives by the members of the industry are appreciable. One such initiative was by the company called ‘Unity Foods Limited’, which is mainly in the business of assorted agro product mix for a global breadbasket, handling various agro commodities to connect them from farm to dining table. The project is called ‘#SplitThePlate’ (Dastak, n.d.) focusing on sustainable consumption and providing an alternative to food waste.
The video that went viral shows the setting of an office in Pakistan where the basic staff usually cleans the plates and the consumer has never thought about the leftover food. It was a member of the basic staff who was actually the one satisfying his hunger with the leftover food of the officer. It showed how leftover food did not care about much, which might be a meal for the less privileged. This idea needs to be propagated on the larger scale to the extent that restaurants, conferences, corporate events, weddings and all such gatherings involving food must plan ahead to consume sustainably and process the leftover to the ones may be in need.
There has been a lot of food wastage in Pakistan, one such source is weddings which rather wastes than consume. According to a survey for the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi, a city of diverse Muslim communities where averagely a person wastes 475 grams of food in marriages, which is more than the average food consumed per meal at home. According to the same study, ‘proposed action plan to overcome food waste include use of Organization of Islamic Countries and Islamic Development Bank platform for collection/distribution, all Muslims to halve their expenditure on wedding receptions to contribute the remaining half for marriages amongst poor communities and developing awareness message with invitations; hoarding of the public message along food tables to encourage self-consciousness from undue food waste and saving waste.’ (Farooqui, et al., 2016)
Once such initiative reached previously in the city of Lahore known as Robin Hood Army (RHA), actually a project started in India back in 2014, volunteers gathered leftover food from the restaurants around the city and shepherd surplus food destined for landfills directly to needy mouths. According to their website (Anon., n.d.), the numbers are astonishing as RHA has served more than 20 million meals in more than 140 cities so far, and the numbers are rising every minute. This can be extended to weddings as well.
To conclude, such initiatives need appreciation by the investors and government in Pakistan to ensure that the country is on the right track with full zeal and zest to put the sustainability goals in action in its true letter and spirit before the deadline.
- Anon., n.d. Robin Hood Army. [Online] Available at: https://robinhoodarmy.com/ [Accessed 26 October 2019].
- Dastak, n.d. [Online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=763163924108886) [Accessed 26 October 2019].
- Farooqui, A., Ahmed, A. & Yaseen, M. F., 2016. WORLDWIDE FOOD WASTE IN MUSLIM MARRIAGE CEREMONIES: A CASE STUDY CONDUCTED IN KARACHI, A MEGA CITY OF 23.5 MILLION, AND CITY OF DIVERSE MUSLIM COMMUNITIES. International Journal of Business, Economics and Law, 10(5 (Aug)).
- Hutt, R., 2018. World Economic Forum. [Online] Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/pakistan-s-billion-tree-tsunami-is-astonishing/