Rajma, Idli among Top 25 global dishes causing most damage to biodiversity | Health - Hindustan Times

Rajma, Idli among Top 25 global dishes causing most damage to biodiversity: Study

By, Delhi
Feb 23, 2024 12:16 PM IST

Rajma and Idli are responsible for causing biodiversity damage. Here's all that you need to know.

Our favourite food items are causing damage to biodiversity – says a study that was conducted to assess the biodiversity footprints of 151 popular dishes all across the world. The food item with highest damage to biodiversity is lechazo, a roast lamb recipe from Spain. It is closely followed by four beef and meat preparations consumed in Brazil. Idli is ranked sixth in the list, and rajma (kidney beans curry) comes at a close seventh. Dishes containing meat have more biodiversity footprint than vegetarian and vegan dishes, as was expected. However, it was surprising to find Idli – made with rice batter – and rajma – a vegetarian dish – on the list.

Rajma, Idli among Top 25 global dishes causing most damage to biodiversity: Study(Unsplash)
Rajma, Idli among Top 25 global dishes causing most damage to biodiversity: Study(Unsplash)

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Luis Roman Carrasco, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore led the study and said, " The large impacts of legumes and rice in India was a surprise, but when you think about it, it makes sense. In our analysis, the biodiversity footprint represents the number of species that have been at least partially impacted to produce that dish. The biodiversity footprint gives us an idea of how many species we’re pushing closer to extinction by eating that dish."

The study assessed each of the 151 dishes and how the ingredients of the dishes impacted the species richness and range of wild mammals, birds and amphibians in the cropland. Choice of food is influenced by taste, price and health, and the study aims to help people become environmentally conscious by tailoring their food habits.

Due to expanding agriculture, there has been severe damage to biodiversity due to habitat loss. Non-vegetarian food dishes have a negative impact on livestock rearing. India is one of the top producers of legumes. Rice and legumes are cultivated on the lands that were traditionally hotspots for biodiversity, leading to biodiversity damage. However, the study further mentioned, that despite the production of rice and legumes, India has been successfully coexisting with biodiversity due to a large proportion of the population being vegetarians.

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    Tapatrisha is Content Producer with Hindustan Times. She covers stories related to health, relationships, and fashion.

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