Charmaine Brown and Victor Maphosa
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is planning to escalate the fight against the sale and use of banned polystyrene material, commonly known as kaylite, after carrying out a blitz in Mbare last week which led to the arrest of several people that were selling them.
The joint operation, which targeted Mbare market place, saw dozens of people that were selling kaylites being arrested.
In an interview with The Herald on the sidelines of the joint operation, EMA Harare provincial environmental manager Mr Robson Mavondo said the operation was on-going and restaurants were next.
“The resurfacing of this type of kaylites, which the Government has banned has prompted us to investigate the source and those who supply the market,” he said.
“We discovered that there is smuggling of kaylites into Zimbabwe from South Africa and Zambia. These kaylites are then kept at Mbare market place for distribution in the market and that is why we have carried out this joint operation to confiscate all the kaylites and destroy them.”
Mr Mavondo said the operation was on-going until all illegal kaylites were wiped out from the market.
“We will only stop this operation when there is no single kaylite on the market, soon we will be targeting some restaurants in the city centre,” he said.
“We urge everyone in the fast food industry to use regulated kaylites and related packaging material. We have organisations here who have heavily invested in manufacturing the legal kaylites.”
Mr Mavondo said as EMA, they have done public awareness informing people that kaylites were dangerous to the environment as they blocked sewage drains and affected their health.
“We keep on encouraging people to avoid using illegal kaylites because they block sewage drains and they are dangerous to the health of the people as they are cancerous,” he said.
“The Government decided to ban these kaylites, therefore, we are now enforcing it for the safety of people.”
Besides being a danger to the environment, exposure to chemicals emitted by heated kaylite causes headaches, weakness, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal and kidney complications.