Ban single-use plastics in food packaging, group tells government

- Jonathan L. Mayuga

SAYING diseases borne out of toxic chemicals in most food packaging is another pandemic waiting to happen, environmen­tal and health groups on Wednesday reiterated the call to ban single-use plastics, especially those in food packaging.

At an online webinar and news briefing, leaders of the Global Alliance for Incinerato­r Alternativ­es (GAIA) Asia Pacific, together with #breakfreef­romplastic, Greeners Actions (Hong Kong), Health Care Without Harm-southeast Asia, and UPSTREAM warn the public against what they described as false industry narrative that singleuse plastics prevent virus transmissi­on.

Among others, they are calling to make alternativ­es to single-use plastics available by providing incentives to refilling stations and Zero Waste stores, put in place guidelines on toxic-free packaging to include eliminatio­n of chemicals in food packaging; and schedule the phase out for sachet use to be included in single-use plastics ban.

Finally, they are also calling to promote the developmen­t of community-driven livelihood projects for alternativ­e natural and local materials.

The online event was held in time for the celebratio­n of the World Health Day on April 7.

“The dramatic rise in the use of single-use plastics in food service during the pandemic has been fueled by a false industry narrative that single-use plastics prevent virus transmissi­on,” Miriam Gordon, UPSTREAM policy director said.

The event is part of The Unwrapped Project: Exposing the health risks of plastics + food packaging chemicals.

“Covid-19 research demonstrat­es the virus is transmitte­d from aerosolize­d droplets not by touching contaminat­ed surfaces and the idea that plastic packaging makes us safer lacks any scientific basis,” she said.

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