File photo. [chinanews.com]
A study conducted by a Chinese university says that the annual amount of food thrown out by restaurants in China is enough to feed 200 million people for a year, China's state TV station, China Central Television (CCTV) reported, calling for inhibition on the part of consumers.
The study, carried out by China Agricultural University's College of Food Science & National Engineering, analyzed 2,700 sets of meals served at various restaurants in different cities and came to the conclusion that restaurants throw away 8 million tons of protein and 3 million tons of fat annually, enough to feed 200 million people for a year.
One Beijing sanitation worker told CCTV that with urban garbage increasing over recent years, they feel that the food waste comes in astonishing amounts. Feng Shibo, a worker pointed out that the bread, sandwich, entire cooked fish and meat present in the collected garbage, expressing unease and incredibility towards people's wasteful behavior.
As many people dispose of food at their own will, there is still a large number of people who do not have enough to eat in China. Statistics from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development show that China has 128 million people living on an annual income of less than 2,300 yuan (US$368), a poverty line revised in November, 2011. These destitute people make up for 13.4 percent of the rural population and nearly 10 percent of the national population.
Lu Mai, secretary general of the China Development Research Foundation, said that wasting food like this "serious threats to our whole living environment" and is "a lifestyle that the Earth cannot sustain." "Like other people, the Chinese should do some serious self-examination and adopt a thrifty lifestyle. We should give even more consideration to this after we actually get rich," he said.
In addition, as to how the saved up food can benefit poor people, Lu said that an individual's behavior could not have a direct impact, but actions on the part of public finance or social charity organizations can channel the saved resources to the poor people in different ways.