PETALING JAYA: Polystyrene food containers should not be used when serving food to devotees during Thaipusam.
In urging temple managements to avoid the use of polystyrene material in their premises and surroundings, the Consumers Association of Penang education officer N.V. Subbarow said such disposable containers would create a large amount of garbage if used.
“Many are not aware that polystyrene takes around 500 years to degrade in the environment,” he said.
He said that when polystyrene garbage is burned, it emits dangerous chemicals which could pose a serious health threat to the general public.
“As Thaipusam is a religious festival, it is important that devotees are not exposed to harmful chemicals,” he said.
“Bearing this in mind, temple managements should ensure that devotees are served food and drinks in safer biodegradable containers,” he added in a statement.
He said devotees too could play their part by bringing their own containers to help reduce the amount of garbage.
Subbarow urged temple managers to impose stricter rules in order to discourage traders from using polystyrene packaging or plastic bags.
He said those found flouting these guidelines should not be allowed to set up stalls during next year’s Thaipusam.
“Let’s strive towards a polystyrene-free Thaipusam and use this festival as a platform to save and conserve the environment for our future generations,” he said.