Sharjah Sustainable City – the first sustainable master-planned community developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in partnership with Diamond Developers, has launched a new campaign to reduce food waste, encourage the spirit of generosity and sharing, as well as promote mindful consumption, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
Dubbed Sustainable Ramadan, the campaign includes a number of community engagement activities focused on sharing knowledge and raising public awareness on some of the key steps required to help reduce food waste.
One of the significant activities of the campaign includes learning how to store, share and make the best use of untouched fresh food with an aim to boost behavioural change toward reducing food waste.
As part of the campaign, the city has partnered with Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) — the charitable and humanitarian arm of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), enabling residents to join the ERC’s project called Preservation of Grace and share their unconsumed food with those who need them.
Mr. Yousif Ahmed Al-Mutawa, Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah Sustainable City, said: “Food waste means wasting precious resources, including water and energy that has been used to produce it. As a city dedicated to sustainability, we want to create an eco-friendly community that not just lives in a sustainable city but also embraces and promotes environmentally friendly habits. Therefore, we are delighted to launch this dedicated campaign to share knowledge among our community, especially our young residents about the importance of reducing food waste and its immediate and long-term impact on our environment. I thank Emirates Red Crescent for joining our efforts toward zero waste and helping us raise awareness on this important issue and create a sense of sharing among our residents, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.”
For his part, Mr. Sultan Al Shehi, Manager of the Preservation of Grace project of Emirates Red Crescent, said: “We are happy to see Sharjah Sustainable City joining our humanitarian initiative aimed at combatting wastefulness. The city has already made remarkable strides in sustainability and recognizes that reducing waste is a crucial aspect of sustainable living. By partnering together, we are harnessing the power of generosity and sustainability, especially during the holy month of Ramadan and as we observe the Year of Sustainability in the UAE. Our objective is to raise awareness about the transformative impact of sharing and reducing waste — on people and the environment. Together, we aim to inspire individuals and communities to embrace sustainability and generosity as a way of life.”
As part of the campaign, which also marks the first Ramadan celebrated by the new residents in the Sharjah Sustainable City, several information resources have been developed to inspire more residents to embrace sustainable food practices. It includes tips and practical advice on avoiding food waste, which is especially important given the traditional large meals shared during the holy month. It also provides guidance on recycling and sorting waste, helping residents to make informed decisions from purchasing to consumption to leftover food.
Food waste has become one of the major concerns worldwide and costs both individuals and our environment. Studies show that globally around 931 million tons of food is lost or wasted every day, and 17 percent of our food ends up being wasted in retail and by consumers, particularly in households, and the food that is lost and wasted could be enough to feed about 1.26 billion hungry people every year. Furthermore, reducing food loss and waste – which accounts for 8 -10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, could reduce emissions by 4.5 Gt CO2e per year.
These facts call for urgent actions that must be scaled up, and one of the most fundamental approaches includes generating public awareness, engaging all stakeholders, especially youth and women, and utilizing different channels like social media to make the maximum impact. Moreover, we also need to step-up consumer education on best-before and use-by labels to reduce food waste, especially in social gatherings.
Since its launch, the city has been at the forefront of promoting initiatives that contribute to the sustainable use of resources, including water and energy. With the launch of its Sustainable Ramadan campaign, the city aims to support further the broader objectives of food security and environmental sustainability and contribute to the circular economy and UAE’s efforts to reduce food waste.
Extended over an area of 7.2 million square feet in the emirate of Sharjah, Sharjah Sustainable City is equipped with renewable energy and aspires to achieve net zero energy. It treats 100% of its wastewater for landscape irrigation, maximizes recycling to divert waste from landfills, produces chemical-free leafy greens and vegetables, and promotes walkability and clean mobility. It has 1,250 sustainable villas, divided into blocks of three-, four- and five-bedroom properties between 2,035 square feet and 3,818 square feet in a built-up area.