Eliminate Use of Styrofoam for Food disposables: Stop #PlasticPollution

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Polystyrene/Expandable Polystyrene (PS/EPS) (Tradename: Styrofoam) a petroleum-based plastic, gained popularity because it is lightweight and offers good insulation and is now so commonly used in India, especially in the takeaway food industry, that people assume it is 100% safe.


Styrofoam contains the toxic substances Styrene and Benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to humans. Hot foods and liquids actually start a partial breakdown of the Styrofoam, causing these toxins to be absorbed into our bloodstream and tissue. Chronic exposure to high levels of styrene can cause adverse health effects such as liver and nerve tissue damage. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Besides health issues, polystyrene is also a direct threat whose detrimental impact on the environment is huge. The manufacturing process releases harmful compounds such as Benzene, polluting our air, water and land. The unused polystyrene ends up as debris in our waterways, choking marine life in all its forms. It can take 1000’s of years for this harmful product to decompose and there is currently no viable method of recycling.  Way back in 1986, EPA reported the polystyrene manufacturing process as the fifth largest creator of hazardous waste.

As a result of these adverse effect on human health and environment, several cities across the United States, have taken the bold step of eliminating the use of polystyrene completely in food packaging. Of course, the move will impact businesses, but the people and administration of these communities have decided to give precedence to people’s health over certain business.

India should join these progressive communities. I urge the Indian government, in particular Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban the use of polystyrene food and drink containers across the country. The Prime Minister has again and again stated that “Caring for the environment is a part of our culture. Let us leave a better planet for the future”. Now it’s time for our bold and decisive PM to prove his intent with actions.

We have one planet. Let's respect it. Hope you support to make this happen.

Photo courtesy of Plastic Pollution Coalition.