Follow the mainland's move to ban Styrofoam

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 January, 2000, 12:00am

The mainland has recently announced its policy to ban the use and production of single-use Styrofoam food containers in the coming months. People there have decided that the pollution it generate cannot be tolerated.

However, Hong Kong people are still quietly accepting the non eco-friendly food containers fast food restaurants and supermarkets.

Internationally franchised restaurants like McDonald's should not set double standards for their restaurants in the United States and those in Hong Kong.

McDonald's has stopped using Styrofoam boxes to hold its Big Mac hamburger in the US but still use Styrofoam boxes to hold the same item in Hong Kong. Why? Is it simply because Hong Kong does not have the legislation to control the use of one-off disposable Styrofoam food containers? Hong Kong continues to give business opportunities to those who are only concerned for their profit margins and who continue to pollute our environment.

If one cannot protect the environment through public education and encouragement, the Government should consider legislation to solve the problems.

The mainland has proactively set legislation to control this - why not Hong Kong? The Consumer Council could test the Styrofoam alternatives already on in the market and give recommendations to the public.

The Government could easily start trial programmes in schools to see the results on waste reduction.

Friends of the Earth would like to see the new Environment and Food Bureau tackle the issues of environment and food safety and the use of Styrofoam boxes would be a good case to begin with.

We cannot wait any longer to see how pollution affects us and the planet. By exercising our consumer rights to choose products that will not harm the environment we can encourage business to go green and pressure the Government to enhance and enforce legislation.

Wake up Hong Kong people - speak up and fight for a truly sustainable environment! EDWIN LAU CHE-FENG Assistant Director Friends of the Earth