Kaylites cause cancer, EMA moves to effect ban
MASVINGO- Environment Management Agency (EMA) Masvingo province has started ticketing businesses involved in the manufacture, importation and use of expanded polystyrene (kaylite) a popular food packaging material in the country in line with S I 84 of 2012.
“We have started enforcing the statutory instrument which bans the use and manufacture of kaylite for commercial purposes with effect from Today (Tuesday) and the tickets will range from $100 to $5000.
“Businesses have been given enough time to switch to alternative packaging material like khaki wrappers and cardboard box and fibre containers because kaylite has been found to be a pollutant as it takes over 500 years to decompose and research has shown that it is health hazard because it causes cancer,” said EMA Masvingo province manager Robson Mavondo at a press conference on Tuesday.
He also added that 50% of litter in the cities and major highways is kaylite thrown by consumers after eating food from fast food outlets and supermarkets.
A study by the University of Zimbabwe Institute of Food, Nutrition and Family Health led by lecturers Batsirai Chipurira, Emelia Guchu and Lorraine Mitumbi over four months found out that reheating and refrigerating food in kaylites resulted in an increased migration of styrene (an organic chemical compound)to food, raising the cancer risk.
The study also revealed that 97% of the kaylites manufactured by three companies in Zimbabwe have serious health effects to the consumers.
The president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Divine Ndhlukula said as the voice of business they have no problems with the ban and encourage those affected to be more innovative and look for alternatives which do not harm the environment.
“We are strong advocates of sustainable development and we are in support of the banning of the use of kaylites because they harm the environment as they are not bio-degradable.
“The world is not for us only, there is also the future generation to be catered for, as ZNCC we also reward companies that engage in sustainable development,” said Ndhlukula.
A manager from one of the leading supermarkets in Masvingo said EMA’s proposal is not sustainable because there is no alternative packaging for popular traditional foods like Sadza and stew which cannot be packaged in cardboard boxes or khaki wrappers.
“The ban is unfortunate as it has been a line of business for most SMEs and very convenient on gatherings, so I call upon the authorities to do more research on the subject. The ban will also result in loss of employment if no alternative is found as the economic situation is not conducive for such drastic measures,” said Phinies Munemo of the Small to Medium Enterprise Association.
Adrian Essaya a consumer said kaylites should be banned if they cause health problems.
“The retailers and manufacturers should look for alternatives than to continue feeding people poison, it is an opportunity for them to be innovative,” said Essaya.// news