Shah Alam aims to drop polystyrene packs

Ahmad Zaharin handing out biodegradable food packs to traders at the launch of the Shah Alam Polystrene-Free Campaign

SHAH Alam plans to be polystyrene-free by next year, with the first stage of implementation to begin at next month’s Ramadan bazaars.

The initiative will be carried out over four stages to give traders and food providers time to switch to environmentally-friendly packs.

The second stage will start on Aug 1 in markets and food stalls, followed by the third stage on Oct 1 in shopping centres and restaurants.

By the fourth and final stage next year, all operators will be encouraged to drop polystyrene packs.

Shah Alam mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad said the use of polystyrene was harmful to both consumers and the environment.

Polystyrene has cancer-causing materials and takes 500 years to disintegrate in landfills, he said during the launch of the campaign with Ramadan bazaar traders at the MBSA Auditorium yesterday.

“We will be giving 150 biodegradable food packs to the traders. The cost has been factored into the rental of the lots,” he added.

There will also be a booth selling biodegradable packs priced at 30sen apiece at the bazaar.

However, the use of environmentally-friendly food containers is not compulsory as traders can still use plastic and polystyrene.

“Selangor will be initiating a no-polystyrene campaign next year. However, until we receive a directive, traders are allowed to use the packs although it is discouraged,” he said.

Ahmad Zaharin added traders can source and purchase their own biodegradable food packs as well.

“There is no restriction,” he stressed.

During the launch, the Selangor State Islamic Department also gave a talk on food hygiene.

This year, MBSA has also identified 25 locations for Ramadan bazaars and issued 1,803 licences to traders.

The cost of a permit to sell food and drinks is RM267.60, fried food (RM299.40), coconut water, coconut shake, chicken wings, otak-otak and grilled fish (RM499.40) while roast chicken and lamb permits cost RM563.

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