Food Waste Around the World, Episode 52: Bangladesh

Food Waste Around the World is a Food Circle project to provide information and raise awareness about food waste. The project is designed as a series of interviews with students from different countries to understand how this issue is tackled and perceived around the world. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the globe, creating a uniquely multicultural environment.



Today we're speaking with Shuvro from Bangladesh





But first, let's add some context


The four SDGs — no poverty, zero hunger, decreased disparities, and climate action — out of the 17 global objectives are crucial for Bangladesh to accomplish by 2030, according to experts [1]. However, these are also the most challenging areas, where significant obstacles are still to be resolved.

Regarding the SDGs, the Bangladeshi government is mostly optimistic and enthusiastic. This determination has also influenced policies, and as a result 5 Year Plan (FYP) was established in 2020 that prioritises increasing GDP, reducing poverty, maximising the use of renewable energy and attaining SDG targets [2].

The SDG objectives may be attained in the next years with financial help and resource mobilisation, as shown by the financial estimation for the SDGs. According to experts, domestic resource mobilisation in Bangladesh must increase from its current level of 12.1% during the next five to ten years to at least 18% in order to meet the SDGs. The city of Narayanganj, which produces cement, lime, steel, bricks, and knitwear and is located south of Dhaka, is working to clean up its air and water in an attempt to protect its residents and go green [3].



 


Hi, Shuvro! Thank you for participating in the interview. Before we start, could you please tell us a bit about yourself?


Hi, I am Shuvro Sen from Bangladesh currently studying master's at University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland. My program titled is ‘Transition, Innovation, and Sustainability Environment (TISE)’. Before joining the program, I was involved in a DANIDA-funded research program titled ‘The Regulation of International Supply Chain’ (RISC) as a research associate.

Based on what you've experienced, what topics or concepts around sustainability are people in Bangladesh most concerned about?


From my observation and experience, people are now becoming more concerned about sustainability, though they do not want to implement it in their personal life or behaviour. When people hear the sustainable word, the first word that comes to their mind is the environment.


When you hear the term “food waste”, what comes to your mind?


Food waste means taking over food that you can eat or consume. It happens from childhood when our mothers cook us some special dishes thinking that their children will eat it whole, which does not usually happen. Nowadays, I have observed that buffet meals have now become popular in restaurants where people take an excessive amount of food than is necessary for them to eat.



What are the biggest stumbling blocks for minimising food waste in Bangladesh, in your opinion?


The obstacle in this area is consciousness. People are not that much concerned about food scarcity around the world.


Another point that comes to my mind is that of social media. People always tend to show up. I have seen many videos on YouTube and Facebook that people are now in competition to finish a dish in a buffet lunch/ dinner.

What could be done in Bangladesh to inform more people about food waste? Are there any organizations that you know already tackling these issues?


So far I know UNICEF is working on this issue. With the involvement in Sapient SEE, I have heard about the Food Circle project that works in this area. Apart from these, ‘Too Good To Go’ or other similar kinds of apps also support us to tackle food waste.

Based on what we talked about reducing food waste, what’s the most frustrating thing to you about food waste?


We are not self-conscious about this, even if we do not think about food waste.

Due to your perspective about reducing food waste worldwide, what do you recommend people do differently?


One thing that could be done differently: advertising in restaurants about hunger in underdeveloped countries and even in their own countries.


Another thing: the buffet meal system could be more pricy or systematic so that people can eat many items but not over a specific amount of a single dish.

For you personally, what is a practice or habit that would be good to change to become more environmentally conscious?


People need to change by themselves. No one else can change their habits for them. Thus, people have to understand the impact of our environment in different ways.

Thank you so much for your time and participation!



Interviewed: Shuvro Sen

Interviewer and Editor: Liva Puka



 

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References

  1. SDGs-Bangladesh: Bangladesh Needs to Widely Focus Four Areas in SDGs Era | IPS

  2. SDGs and Bangladesh: Progress, Challenges and Missing Links | Social Watch

  3. First Bangladesh City Climate Plan Targets Industrial-hub Pollution | Eco-Business


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