| James Kon |
IN AN effort to safeguard public health, the Law Enforcement Unit of the BSB Municipal Board will be issuing a notice to food premises asking them not to use styrofoam containers to keep or store any hot food.
The letter of notification will be handed to all food premises under the jurisdiction of BSB Municipal Board.
The notice also advises food premises to use food grade containers for storage. Last year, the Ministry of Development through the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) launched a campaign to reduce the use of styrofoam containers in the country to lessen the amount of solid waste and reduce the risk of potential health hazards that may come from styrofoam products.
Styrofoam is a trade name for polystyrene which is made of petrol.
According to a report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1986, polystyrene is the fifth largest hazardous waste producer.
Styrofoam is a material that does not easily decompose and is resistant to photolysis. Besides utilising a huge space at on-site disposal facilities, it also takes more than 500 years to decay.
Styrofoam basically contains a chemical called ‘styrene’ and if styrofoam containers are used to store food, the chemicals can have a negative impact on health, especially after the food has been consumed.
Production of styrofoam leads to about 57 types of toxic materials that pollute the air while also creating solid waste and sewage sludge that need to be properly disposed.
Styrofoam manufacturing uses ‘hydrofluorocarbons’ (HFCs) which negatively affects the ozone layer and increases global warming.
Due to the lightweight structure that causes the styrofoam to easily drift to sea, rivers and irrigation canals, they are classified as ‘marine debris’ by many countries in the world.
During this year’s Legislative Council Meeting, the Ministry of Education urged primary school canteens in the country not to use styrofoam containers to put hot food and drinks for sale to students and to use plastic containers instead.
The call was made by the Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong at the 10th Legislative Council Meeting in response to a question on the use of styrofoam containers made by a member of the Legislative Council, YB Awang Haji Tahamit bin Haji Nudin.