Coun­tries ban sty­ro­foam food con­tain­ers

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

the world are mulling a ban on the use of sty­ro­foam, the ma­te­rial most widely used to make dis­pos­able cups and plates, af­ter grad­u­ally ac­cept­ing it as a se­ri­ous haz­ard to the en­vi­ron­ment. The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion in Tai­wan has re­cently an­nounced that it aims to im­pose a na­tion­wide ban on the use of sty­ro­foam cups. In the US, the mayor of New York City has an­nounced a city­wide ban on the ma­te­rial. In 2011, the US Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices had added styrene, a syn­thetic com­pound in sty­ro­foam, to its list of known or pos­si­ble car­cino­gens. Sty­ro­foam or ex­panded poly­styrene foam is a non-biodegrad­able sub­stance. Its use to serve food and drinks is danger­ous be­cause hot foods and liq­uids par­tially break­down the sty­ro­foam, caus­ing some tox­ins to be ab­sorbed into our blood­stream and tis­sues. Sty­ro­foam's non-biodegrad­able na­ture makes it a men­ace for the en­vi­ron­ment. Marine pol­lu­tion and threat to wildlife are other prob­lems caused by sty­ro­foam.

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