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Location: Home arrow Library of Articles arrow Opinions/Letters arrow While Millions Starve

While Millions Starve   E-mail 

In an age where it is so easy to go out and buy food, this all-important sustenance of life is being taken for granted around the world while millions elsewhere starve.

It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. That's roughly 100 times as many as those who actually die from these causes each year.

About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.

Famine and wars cause about 10% of hunger deaths, although these tend to be the ones you hear about most often. The majority of hunger deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition. Families facing extreme poverty are simply unable to get enough food to eat.

The notion that there isn't enough food to go around is totally without basis, as research shows. For example, food producers throw away large quantities of perfectly good food every year simply because the produce is "too ugly to eat" and the profits from selling them aren't enough! Others routinely discard their stock to keep market prices up. Besides such problems, politics, undoubtedly, play a role in both starving and rich countries. On the one hand, food is used as a tool in arm-bending negotiations; and on the other, pride prevents certain countries from admitting that they are facing a starvation problem.

While solutions to problems such as these are often beyond most of us, we can do our part in preventing the wastage of food in our immediate environment. Just take a walk into the washing area of a Gurdwara after a programme and you'll see bins of discarded food that members of the sangat did not bother to eat. Wastage of food in itself is an irresponsible act, and in the case of Guru ka Langgar, it is also a sin as the food has been blessed in a prayer.

The increasing affluence of Sikh families have also aggravated the problem in many cases. It is not uncommon for individuals or families to over-cater when sponsoring food for a program, with many different dishes being made. And a good portion of this often ends up in the bins.

The next time you wish to eat from the langgar or sponor a programme, keep in mind the thousands that will starve to death that day. Do the right thing; don't waste food.

 



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