Citing environmental and health issues, Phuket is aiming to phase out the use of containers using foam materials on the island province.
Phuket’s vice-governor, Thavorn Kongkaew, has overseen the signing of Memorandums of Understanding between the government, private sector and local associations participating in the phase-out.
“Phuket is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the country,” said the vice governor. “Apart from being responsible for the locals, we also have to be responsible for the tourists. The food packaging must be of a high safety standard; that’s why we signed the MOU today to make Phuket 100 per cent free of foam [polystyrene] containers.” Thavorn praised paper-packaging entrepreneurs for their “great coordination” in signing the MOU and offering alternative packaging at a reasonable price. He singled out Thai Paper and Biodegradable Packaging for the Environment (BPE) for their contribution. Phuket Provincial Public Health Office will follow up on the progress of the companies and organisations, said the vice-governor.
Meanwhile, Phuket’s chief of the Public Health Office, Dr Jirapan Taepan, said that foam packages used for food are made from styrene, the black-coloured waste from petroleum refineries. Styrene, has been linked to long-term health effects, said Jirapan, and could also cause delays in the periods of women. “Styrene is a carcinogen that causes three types of cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer,” said the doctor. “Eating from foam packaging at least once a day for 10 years continuously can increase the risk of cancer by six times.” NTN EP