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Dr Penguang: Follow SMC’s lead in banning polystyrene containers
Tarikh : 09 Jun 2017  Sumber Berita: Borneo Post Online

oleh Peter Boon.

SIBU: Local authorities in Sarawak are encouraged to follow Sibu Municipal Council’s (SMC) footstep in banning the use of polystyrene containers in food outlets.

In making the call, Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil said styrofoam food containers are not bio-degradable and pose an environmental concern and have been identified as a major component in the clogging of drains.

He observed that some food stall operators and eateries have already started using bio-degradable papers for packing take-away food.

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

“There has been a lot of discussion on this…that is on the use of polystyrene and its impact on our health as well as on the environment.

“However, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has not made any ruling as yet….and maybe in the near future. A lot more time and discussion is still needed on the implication of such a move,” Penguang told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He added that styrofoam food containers, when inappropriately disposed of, could collect water and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Penguang was commenting on the recent disclosure by Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk James Chan that the council was currently educating the masses on bio-degradable packaging materials which were available for hawkers and food sellers.

Chan also said that for the time being, the council has no plans to totally ban the usage of polystyrene containers as discussions have to be held with the Ministry of Health, food stall operators and consumers.

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

Abdul Wahap had disclosed that at Ramadan bazaars presently, the council is only discouraging the use of such containers, adding that factories which produce polystyrene packaging must be encouraged to produce packaging made from paper.

Meanwhile, Penguang said supermarkets and departmental stores are also encouraged to use paper bags.

The Marudi assemblyman pointed out that this was important in order to assist in conserving the planet and minimising environmental pollution.

“I always believe that it is a lot cheaper and easier for us to do it now then to do it 10 or 20 years down the line, and before it is too late,” he said.