WWF-Malaysia Applauds Sibu’s “No Styrofoam Containers” Initiative
9 January 2014, Kuching: WWF-Malaysia
applauds Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) for banning the use of polystyrene containers for food and drinks in support of Local Agenda 21. The ban is on all food and drink outlets, including all hawker stalls and coffee shops, restaurants, school canteens and other eateries, in Sibu.
“WWF-Malaysia is pleased that Sibu is taking this initiative, the first in Sarawak, as it not only benefits the well-being of the people but is a noble environmental conservation act,” said WWF-Malaysia’s Head of Conservation (Sarawak), Dr Henry Chan.
“WWF-Malaysia has been advocating for conservation and sustainable development in the country, including Sarawak. Banning polystyrene is part of how society can play its role for the environment,” said Dr Chan.
He added, “Alternative packaging such as recycled paper, biodegradable products and ‘bring your own food containers’ should be considered. We hope that this step will be adopted by all the other councils in Sarawak for it is a great initiative for the people and nature.”
Polystyrene, or more commonly known as “styrofoam”, is a petroleum-based plastic made from the styrene monomer. It is a light-weight material that is used in all types of products from cups that keep beverages hot or cold to packaging material that keeps fragile items safe during shipping. It is one of the cheapest packaging material in the market.
However, the use of polystyrene is health-threatening because it leaches toxic chemicals into the food that it contains especially when the food or drinks are hot.
“Polystyrene foam takes many years to decompose. It is also threatening to wildlife when dumped as litter. This material is often mistaken as food that ends up choking and clogging the digestive systems,” Dr Chan said.
He added that research found that when hydrocarbons in polystyrene are released into the air, and combined with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight, they form tropospheric ozone, which is a serious air pollutant at ground level.
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For further information:
Alicia Ng, Senior Communications Officer, WWF-Malaysia (Sarawak Office)
Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia