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To start off the environment topic, we look at one issue that is closely linked to our everyday lives. The production of food waste in Singapore has long been recognised as a problem, but a look at the statistics shows just how bad the problem is:

As pointed out here and here, the scale of the problem has gotten even worse in the past 5 years, making this a pressing problem — and one that is directly influenced by consumer (i.e. our) habits.

Of course, this is not solely due to individuals and families wasting food directly in our everyday consumption; that would be far too simplistic a view. An investigative final-year report by a group of NTU students, Food Waste Republic (the main website unfortunately appears to be defunct, but a summarypresentation slides and an accompanying report do enough to give a good idea of the content) point out that consumer preferences strongly influence significant food wastage further up the food supply chain, from the presentation of fruits and vegetables and the preference for fully-stocked shelves, to the abundance (and thus wastage) in restaurants and hotel banquets.

Obviously, this is not a problem limited to Singapore. One interesting attempted solution is an upcoming business venture that takes food items past their ‘best-by’ or ‘sell-by’ date (or are thrown out for other reasons) and sells them at much cheaper prices; the basic idea is simply that most such foods are not actually expired, but are past their best condition and are probably unattractive to the consumer.

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