Malaysia, Johor: Decision on polystyrene ban soon

SAZALI MUSA The Star 22 Oct 16;

JOHOR BARU: The state authorities are expected to hold a meeting with the plastic manufacturers association next week to discuss the ban on polystyrene food containers in Johor.

State Health and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the proposal to ban the use of non-biodegradable food containers was because they were bad for the environment.

“Polystyrene does not break down naturally, it can remain an environmental hazard for hundreds of years, clogging up drains and rivers,’’ he said.

Ayub said those that collected water also ended up becoming breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes, leading to dengue outbreak.

He said banning plastic and polystyrene and replacing them with biodegradable food containers would be good for the environment as these were environmentally friendly.

“It takes between 10 and 15 years for the biodegradable food containers to break down naturally,’’ Ayub said after opening the Empowering Society on Managing the Environment Seminar here on Thursday.

Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin is expected to announce the banning of polystyrene food containers in Johor at the tabling of the state budget next month.

Separately, Ayub said dengue cases in Johor had declined from January until Oct 8 this year, with 9,441 cases compared with 11,812 cases in the same corresponding period last year.

He said the number of fatalities from dengue also went down from 37 cases to 18 cases from January until October 8, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“The decline is due to the better awareness on maintaining cleanliness of the surrounding areas among the public and continuous cleaning efforts by local councils,’’ said Ayub.

He said the state Health Department would continue to monitor the situation despite the downward trend, including conducting regular fogging at dengue hot spots.

Ayub said construction sites in the Johor Baru district have been identified as the main breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes and the authorities had inspected some 659,757 premises this year.

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