Green Future: Indonesian mosque launches campaign to eliminate food, plastic waste
Updated 13:41, 05-Jun-2019
A mosque in Indonesia has launched a campaign to eliminate food and plastic waste during Ramadan by using religious teachings and reminding people to cherish food as God's blessing. CGTN's Silkina Ahluwalia reports from Jakarta.
Ramadan is usually a time when people get together for food and more food. With that comes waste from plastic cups and cutleries to mountains of leftover food. In the Burj Al-Bakrie Mosque, located in a basement of an office building, a new initiative aims to change people's mindsets surrounding Indonesia's waste issue. Hayu Prabowo is one of the mosque's caretakers and lead initiator of the Green Iftar program.
HAYU PRABOWO INITIATOR, GREEN IFTAR CAMPAIGN "This initiative has been around for 3 years but this is the first year that we are campaigning it on a large scale because we want other mosques to be part of it as well. Indonesia is the second largest food waster after Saudi Arabia, and that is concerning for Muslims. We are teaching people that every grain of rice is a blessing. If you don't finish your food, share it with others or even your pets."
Hayu provides food and drinks for hundreds of office workers at the building. But he does not include any single-use plastics during the meals. They also gather around one plate and share the food with each other. This ensures there's just the right amount of food for everyone and nothing goes to waste.
ARETHA APRILIA FOOD WASTE EXPERT "I think it's good thing touching people's hearts through religious teachings and religious institutions because what we understand as well is that there are cultures in Java which actually stem from the royal family which states that if you finish the food in front of you, it means that you are greedy or impolite. I think people need to be in tune with religious teachings instead of their culture so I think the Green Iftar initiative is a good example that needs to be upscaled in other mosques as well."
For many Indonesians, the issue is not just about the lack of regulation. It's a moral and ethics issue and religion plays an important role in that.
SILKINA AHLUWALIA JAKARTA, INDONESIA "Indonesia is the world's second largest producer of food waste. This is just one way to combat the issue. What the government needs to do now is to introduce similar campaigns in the hard-to-reach areas, the small villages and provinces. Those are the areas that are in need of these types of educational programs."
Hayu's movement is an important step towards Indonesia's greener future especially during the holiest month of the year. Silkina Ahluwalia, CGTN, Jakarta.