Say “NO” to Polystyrene

As per Wikipedia :
Polystyrene IPA: /ˌpɒliˈstaɪriːn/ (IUPAC Poly(1-phenylethane-1,2-diyl)), sometimes abbreviated PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the aromatic monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is commercially manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used kinds of plastic.
Monday February 23, 2009
Stop using polystyrene
THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) wishes to call the attention of the Selangor and Penang state governments and especially the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, to the widespread use of polystyrene food and drink containers during the recent Thaipusam festival in their respective states.
CAP conducted a study comprising random data collection at both locations where large crowds gathered during the festival to gather information on the number of polystyrene food and drink containers used.
Shockingly, the study revealed that 630,000 and 347,000 polystyrene food and drink containers were used in Selangor and Penang respectively. This data was acquired over the two days of the festival and from the numerous stalls providing free food and drink.
At times, these stalls provided up to 40,000 polystyrene food and drink packages. The data gathered does not include polystyrene package usage in other states such as Kedah, Johor or Perak during Thaipusam.
CAP takes a serious view of the fact that almost 1,000,000 polystyrene containers were used during the two days. Although there have been claims that polystyrene can be classified as non-hazardous to the environment, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims as yet.
Polystyrene is not biodegradable. It not only floats on water but is also borne by the wind, thereby polluting shores and waterways.
According to the California Coastal Commission, it is now a principal component of marine debris. The substance may also be harmful to wild animals if ingested by them.The international environment group, Californians Against Waste classifies polystyrene as a future potential threat to sustainable development.
According to a study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), polystyrene which is manufactured using HCFC-22 (Chlorodifluoromethane, a potential ozone depleting agent and potent greenhouse gas) is potentially three to five times more likely to pose a threat to the environment than other waste material.
CAP urges concerned parties in all states to play an important role in ending the use of polystyrene; not just during Thaipusam celebrations but also at official functions and celebrations.
It is regrettable that polystyrene was widely used while there are more recyclable, sustainable and freely obtainable alternatives such as banana leaves and environmentally friendly containers pioneered by Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment needs to be more aggressive in addressing the reduction of polystyrene use at all official functions as well as at national level festivities and celebrations.
As long as there are no aggressive steps taken by the authorities to halt the use of polystyrene, it will be difficult to expect society to embark on a paradigm shift to rejuvenate and preserve the environment.
S.M. Mohamed Idris,
Consumers Association of Penang.
I would support the comments given by Mr. S.M. Mohamed Idris as per the article. I strongly disagree on the usage of polystyrene materials and utensils like cups, packaging, bowls and etc. Do you know that polystyrene is NOT biodegradable? Meaning that it cannot dissolve and it cannot rot by itself. It would never will! Its chemical structure does not allow it to change. Yes, even if you bury them in the earth. Polystyrene will remain polystyrene wherever it is for… thousands and thousands of years away from now.
There are simple ways to avoid using polystyrene utensils that all of us can follow :
1) Use paper cups or reuseable plastic cups…
2) Bring water container or drinking bottles wherever you go… hmm… it could do you good favour for bicep curls! 🙂
3) Use your own plastic/ stainless steel food container when you "tapao" (take away food)… that is what lunch boxes are for!
4) Use clean recycleable papers to pack food like; nasi lemak, fried noodles and etc… avoid using polystyrene boxes.
5) Do not feel shy doing the above-mentioned practices as everyone need some time to getting used of doing something… like how recycleable woven bags were first introduced. Now I see more people carrying them when they shop! Kudos!
If you do not care of your own mother nature, NO ONE will!

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