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Expanded polystyrene, commonly referred to as kaylite | Coastweek

HARARE (Xinhua) -- Photo take on July 12, 2017 shows packed food for sale at a local restaurant in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 12, 2017. Zimbabwe has banned the use of expanded polystyrene, commonly referred to as kaylite, as it moves to protect public health and stop massive pollution caused by wanton discarding. XINHUA
Zimbabwe bans use of kaylite over health, pollution concerns

HARARE (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has banned the use of expanded polystyrene, commonly referred to as kaylite, as it moves to protect public health and stop massive pollution caused by wanton discarding.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) spokesperson Steady Kangata confirmed to Xinhua that the ban targeting products used to package takeaway and refrigerated foods was with immediate effect.

A notice issued Wednesday by the board chairperson of EMA Zenzo Nsimbi said that the ban was effected in line with a 2012 statutory instrument that prohibited the manufacture or importation of kaylite for use or commercial distribution within the country.

“The ban has been effected after wide consultation in order to protect the citizens of Zimbabwe from the environmental and health impacts caused by expanded polystyrene,” he said.

He added that anybody who violated the ban would be guilty of an offense.

The move has taken many food outlet operators by surprise, with a supermarket worker saying she wondered how they would continue serving their customers with takeaway food.

“So are we going to ask them to bring their own plates and cups?” she said.

Many outlets offering takeaway food have been using the kaylite in lieu of proper plates and cups.

Consumers have, however, not been binning them after use, resulting in the clogging of storm drains and a higher prevalence of flooding in the city center and littering of the country’s rivers.

Even the highways have become heavily littered as people threw the kaylite out of moving vehicles after finishing their meals.

Results of a research by the University of Zimbabwe that was published recently said kaylite contained cancer-causing styrene which could migrate to food as it was warmed or refrigerated.

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Panic as environmental agency begins fining retailers over use of kaylite

HARARE (Xinhua) -- The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) of Zimbabwe on Friday unleashed enforcement officers throughout the country to uphold a ban on kaylite as panic gripped retailers after at least one large retail chain was fined for having kaylite packaged goods on its shelves.

The agency effected the ban on Wednesday in line with Statutory Instrument 84 of 2012 which prohibits the manufacture or importation of kaylite (expanded polystyrene) for use or commercial distribution within the country, citing health and environmental reasons.

A manager with the retail chain who declined to be named said enforcement officers in the city of Masvingo found workers removing the kaylite packaged goods from the chillers and still fined the retailer, albeit at a lower scale because there were signs of compliance.

“They were going to fine us 5,000 U.S. dollars but since they found us removing the goods they settled for 200 dollars.

“We have instructed all our outlets to remove goods which are packaged in kaylite. We will also instruct our suppliers to come and uplift their products because we cannot risk being fined on their behalf,” he said.

A mini-survey by Xinhua revealed that the retailer had by 11 am Friday removed all kaylite packaged goods from the chillers.

However, another large retailer was still to comply and it was business as usual as outlets continued to serve food in kaylite packaging while their freezers and chillers were laden with such products.

Food outlet operator Kudakwashe Motsi said he would be switching over to the more expensive paper plates and shrink wraps but would have to balance the costs with a view to remaining viable.

Results of a research by the University of Zimbabwe which were published recently said kaylite contained cancer causing styrene which could migrate to food as it was being warmed or refrigerated.

On the environmental front, many outlets offering takeaway food have been using the kaylite in lieu of proper plates and cups but this was being disposed of indiscriminately and causing massive pollution.

A retail shop employee who also declined to be named said they approached EMA on Friday to make representations to be allowed to continue using kaylite until they came up with different packaging but were told that they had to stick to the law.

“There are many of us who have been affected differently and we presented our cases to be allowed to continue using kaylite until we came up with Plan B but they told us that there was nothing they could do except to uphold the law,” he said.

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