Shah Alam Mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad speaks to Ramadan Bazaar traders on the polystyrene food containers after handing out the permits at Shah Alam City Council. Pix by ROSDAN WAHID.
Shah Alam is set to be polystyrene-free by 2017.

SHAH ALAM: Shah Alam is set to be a city free from the use of polystyrene food containers by 2017.

A four-phase campaign has been launched towards achieving the goal, and efforts to start reducing the use of polystyrene and eventually eliminating it totally by next year has begun for the Shah Alam City Council.

For starters, the use of polystyrene food containers has been discouraged at food trucks from May 1. This would also apply to food traders at 30 Ramadan bazaars locations next month.

Shah Alam Mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad said this practice would be expanded to night market traders as well as at council-run stalls from Aug 1.

Restaurants and shopping malls will follow suit from Oct 1.

"This action plan drawn up by the council leads to the fourth phase which is the declaration of Shah Alam being free from the use of polystyrene food containers in 2017.

"It is in line with the Selangor government's aspiration to do away with polystyrene by 2017 and switch to environmentally-friendly food packaging materials. This also helps Shah Alam's aim of becoming a low-carbon city by 2030," he told in a press conference after the launch at the council auditorium hall today.

Zaharin said food traders at 30 Ramadan bazaar locations in the city are provided with 150 packets of environmentally-friendly food containers.

For convenience, a council-appointed vendor will also be stationed at the bazaars to enable food traders to buy the containers at 30 sen each should they run out, he added.

He said food traders were free to also buy the food containers from shops of their choice if they wished to.

"There could still be the use of polystyrene food containers during Ramadan but the environmentally-friendly ones are highly encouraged. We cannot stop the food traders from using the polystyrene containers but we want it to be controlled.

"Using environmentally-friendly boxes is a practice they would have to start from now for the sake of environmental sustainability.

"This is also because by 2017, polystyrene will not be allowed in the city," said Zaharin, adding that polystyrene takes 500 years to decompose.