Malaysia: WWF urges city hall to widen ban on polystyrene

The Star 27 Feb 16;

KOTA KINABALU: The World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia hopes that city hall will continue its ban on using polystyrene at all official functions, and possibly expand the area of ban.

“We hope that for Earth Hour this year, the end to polystyrene usage can be extended throughout the city with the help of food vendors in Kota Kinabalu,” WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said in a statement.

He said such actions were in line with the Local Agenda 21 from the United Nations action plan on sustainable deve­lopment.

It is a local government-led, community-wide and participatory effort to esta­blish a comprehensive action strategy for environment protection, economic prospe­rity and community well-being in the local jurisdiction or area.

Dr Dionysius said polystyrene or plastic bags, widely used especially in takeaways, was convenient but came at the cost of the environment.

“These items are not easily recycled thus often ending up in landfills or are carelessly discarded,” he said.

He added that these non-biodegradable items would quickly become an eyesore or worse still, clog up drains and waterways, which became breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.

But that’s not the end of it.

“Polystyrene, due to its lightweight and buoyant nature, can also travel through drains and gutters.

“Eventually it reaches the ocean, perhaps even breaking down into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that can be mistaken as food by marine and other wildlife and killing them,” Dr Dionysius added.

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