Among all developed cities worldwide, Hong Kong has the largest wealth disparity. Its Gini Index reached 53.7 in 20111, which reflects the huge uneven distribution of resources.
Hong Kong has 1.15m (17.1%) people living under poverty line2 and one of every three elderly is living in poverty. Some of them can barely feed themselves.
1 Source: COUNTRY COMPARISON: DISTRIBUTION OF FAMILY INCOME – GINI INDEX, Central Intelligence Agency.
2 Source: HKCSS, based on data from 2011 Population Census of Census and Statistics Department.
However, every single day, over 3,500 tons of food waste is sent to landfill, which equals to the weight of 128 double-deck buses and can fill around three Olympic swimming pools. It accounts for 40% of municipal solid waste, while the remaining capacities of Hong Kong’s three landfills will be exhausted in 2014, 2016 and 2018.3
3 Source: the Hong Kong Environment Protection Department, 2011.
Through my participation of the RTHK Rich Mate Poor Mate III program, I realize the imbalance in resources has caused complex social issues, including food waste and the exhaustions of the landfills in HK.
Each day, every wet market throws out 340kg of fresh vegetables and fruits into landfills, which are enough to feed 50 families who are worried about their next meals. Moreover, every single day, over 3,500 tons of food waste is sent to landfill which can fill around three Olympic swimming pools and the remaining capacities of Hong Kong’s three landfills will be exhausted in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Redistributing food resources to underprivileged families enable them to better use their tight budget, while bringing them love, care and hope!
I also realized that connecting individuals to take mini steps can be extremely powerful in reshaping our world. So here we are, let’s stay connected!
Why use cooking as a mean?
Firstly, food is a universal language, regardless of background and ethnicity. Everyone needs to eat.
Secondly, real inflation has decreased purchasing power. Among the four basic lifestyle requirements (衣食住行), accommodation and food account for the largest proportion of household’s monthly expenditures. According to HKCSS research, for low-income households, housing and food account for around 70% of their monthly expenditures. While it is difficult to influence the property market, we can make a difference starting from food.
Thirdly, while eating food is an individual action, cooking food can be a collective effort, hence, connecting people!