Tuesday, November 24

Ministry agrees to ban use of Styrofoam

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SIBU: The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has agreed to start with city and municipal councils in the state to implement the ban on the use of Styrofoam, a non-biodegradable food container.

According to Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil, the exercise will later be extended to smaller councils.

“We have agreed to start (implementing the ban on the use of Styrofoam food containers) with the city and municipal councils.smaller councils will implement this in stages at a later stage,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He said the ban was necessary to conserve the planet and minimise environmental pollution.

Asked if compliance with the ban will be made a condition for coffee shops to renew their licence, he said: “We will consider that option.”

The Marudi assemblyman was asked if the ministry would be making it compulsory for all local councils in Sarawak to prohibit the use of Styrofoam (polystyrene) containers for take-away food, following Miri City Council’s move to ban the use of plastic for packing food starting Jan 1 next year.

Miri mayor Adam Yii had said the ban would apply to food and drink providers, supermarkets and manufacturers.

The banning of Styrofoam food containers in all food outlets in Sibu took effect on Jan 1, 2014 as a pilot project by SMC, making it the first local council in Sarawak to do so.

Styrofoam food containers are not biodegradable and pose an environmental concern and have been identified as a major component in the clogging of drains.

Styrofoam food containers, when inappropriately disposed of, could also collect water and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Many studies have been conducted and reports published on the negative impact of Styrofoam, both on health as well as on the environment.

Recently, Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk James Chan stated that the council was currently educating the masses on biodegradable packaging materials which were available for hawkers and food sellers.

Echoing Chan’s view, Datuk Bandar of Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai had said his council was fully committed to not using any polystyrene containers during its functions or events.