Despite wide-spread poverty and starvation in South Asia, the food waste epidemic that has swept the globe still impacts the region's most in-need citizens, with a large portion of food being lost every year. However, according researchers at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, this food waste could be significantly reduced with the help of one ancient storage device.
Evaporative cooling was a method used by the world's most ancient societies to keep food fresh longer. "Egyptian, Roman, and Persian societies used the idea to store food by simply resting two terracotta pots, one over the other, and filling the space in-between with sand and water. As water evaporates from the sand, it removes the heat thus keeping the pot above, where food is kept, at cooler temperatures," researchers Tamara Nair and Christopher Lim explain.
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These cooler temperatures are key for the storage of food, as reliable means of refrigeration are harder to come by in many areas of southern Asian. The researchers note that the majority of South/Southeast Asian food waste happens in the storage and transportation stage, rather than during consumption. In India alone, up to 40 percent of fruit and vegetable output is wasted due to poor refrigeration.