Government bans kaylite packaging •Health considerations cited •Defiant citizens face prosecution

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri

Walter Nyamukondiwa and Lovemore Meya—
Government has — with immediate effect — banned the use of polystyrene material, commonly known as kaylite, and related plastic packaging citing health hazards and pollution. The ban will mostly affect the food industry, especially vendors and fast-food outlets. Kaylite manufacturers provided a cheaper form of packaging which, however, created environmental challenges.

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Exposure to chemicals emitted by heated kaylite causes headaches, weakness, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal and minor kidney effects.

It also decreases concentration abilities and may cause irritation of the mucous membrane and affect the eyes, nose and throat.

Studies have shown that increased styrene exposure leads to chromosomal damage, abnormal pulmonary function and cancer.

With emphasis on reusing and recylcing of materials, polystyrene cannot be recycled, while its non-biodegradable nature means it is ingested by aquatic animals that humans later consume.

This badly affects the environment.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA), through their board chairperson Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi, said in a statement that Government considered the health of the nation in arriving at the decision.

“The Environmental Management Agency has with immediate effect activated Statutory Instrument 84 of 2012 (Plastic Packaging and Plastic Bottles) (Amendment) Regulations, 2012 (No 1.), which prohibits the manufacture or importation of expanded polystyrene (kaylite) for use or commercial distribution within Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ambassador Nsimbi said the decision was arrived at after wide consultation with stakeholders.

“The ban has been effected after wide consultation in order to protect the citizens of Zimbabwe from the environmental and health impacts caused by expanded polystyrene (kaylite),” he said.

The ban comes a few days after Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri read the riot act against councils, companies and individuals that pollute the environment.

Cde Muchinguri said stern measures would be taken against those who pollute the environment, with prospects of offenders being sued.
She said it could not be business as usual, as Government steps up efforts to maintain a clean and safe environment.

The ban on kaylites will also affect those in the transport industry who use polystyrene as cushion against the damage of goods in transit.
Polystyrene is also widely used in construction.

The Statutory Instrument states that any company that generates the material would take responsibility to recycle it.
Studies have shown that kaylite is not economically viable to recycle and it is feared to cause cancer from the styrene gas it emits.

Packed with 57 potent chemicals that generate toxic by-products when burnt, polystyrene is feared to leach into packaged food, thereby exposing consumers to health risk.

Used to serve mostly warm food, the kaylites release styrene when they get into contact with warm food and drink, alcohol, oils and acidic foods.

Industry that use kaylites screamed yesterday over the ban.

Mr Tawanda Mutyebere of Chicken Slice said the ban was harmful to their operations.
“Government’s announcement that it has immediately effected SI 84 becomes very difficult for us to operate since we have been using them for years,” he said.

“This simply means that we must stop trading, kicking us out of business and Government is supposed to give us some time and should have consulted with stakeholders.”

Simbisa Brands (Chicken Inn) managing director Mr Warren Meares said they would explore better packaging.

“We use them all the time to serve our three million customers in the country and the announcement by Government to stop using kaylites means we have to conform to the law,” he said.

“We will have to find a solution for a better packaging. We have been talking to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing (Saviour Kasukuwere) and EMA for us to look for a solution. We appreciate where the Government is coming from and we respect it.”

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  • Good packaging

    Tawanda Mutyebere’s response there is childish, immature and one not to be expected from a businessman. You can not talk of closing your business when only one factor of out of many has changed its characteristics. Shame.

  • tafamutekwe

    Why is EMA picking and choosing items to ban whilst leaving out other un-recyclable environmentally hazardous and dangerous items like imported bottled beers such as Castle Lite etc. that are not only littering the environment but are also dangerous when carelessly broken and left un-bined?

  • Sgt Bere

    I thought the manufacturing of the so called Kaylites was one of the promised 2 million jobs by Gvt. Now how many families are going to be affected. School dropouts will increase, thefts, prostitution and so on. Ummmmm Mwari pindirai. Maonero anguwo zvangu

  • Environmentalist

    EMA is doing nothing about people burning rubbish in neighbourhoods. You complain and no action is taken. Smoke from rubbish dumps is actually far more directly toxic than the unproven hidden problems EMA wants to put all their energy on. If EMA wants to get some credit, they must first take action on the obvious, that is:

    BURNING OF RUBBISH IN THE NEIGHBOURHOODS.
    WANTON LITTERING IN TOWN OR NEIGHBOURHOODS
    ILLEGAL DUMPING OF RUBBISH IN NEIGHBOURHOODS
    LITTERING AND RUBBISH DUMPING IN DRAINAGE CANALS, CULVERTS etc.
    RECKLESS USE OF MERCURY AT MINES.
    DAMAGE TO ENVIRONMENT BY GOLD PANNERS.
    And so on and so on.

    After satisfactorily showing some significant improvement on the above can they now look at more subtle or insidious dangers like use of kaylite for food packaging and so on.!!!

  • Tengenenge

    The Rambo “banned with immediate effect” approach is uncivilized and completely unnecessary! What about the orders on the way? What are the substitutes? Who else has banned it? If we care for Zimbabweans this much can we prioritize making basic medicine available at our hospitals with immediate effect ?

  • DarkChild

    Local Government’s failure to provide refuse collection and disposal services is the real issue here! In town, just across Avenues clinic there is now a dumping site with over-flowing bins that have been there for at least 2 months now, right at an intersection – the stop-sign is now almost covered by rubish!

  • Royboy

    Let’s ban tobacco with immediate effect as it’s harmful to one’s health. If not then why the double standards.
    It’s not right to ban it with immediate effect,there has to be a time frame to allow companies to find alternatives.

  • mr truth

    cde its likey that, our prices are to increase, for fast food

  • mr truth

    i dont think it can act as the best idea

  • tarch

    saka take away yoiswa pai manje nhai. So much efficient in introducing policies and statutory instruments dzeku banner this n that. nxaaah