All stalls in the food court of Phoenix Market City Mall in Bengaluru shifted to eco-friendly cutlery options earlier this month.
All thanks to members of an NGO – Naanu Nagarika (I am a Citizen), who had been protesting for the last few months, against the use of Styrofoam for serving food in the mall.
Styrofoam is a petroleum-based plastic product. It is the trade name for closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam, and is widely used because it is cheap, lightweight, and good for insulation. However, it is banned at many places like New York and California because of its ill effects on the environment and the health of human beings as well as animals. Benzene and Styrene, two of its components, are known human carcinogens. Thus, when food is served hot on a Styrofoam plate, it releases toxic chemicals that are very harmful. It is also very difficult to recycle Styrofoam.
But when the NGO proposed replacing the cutlery used in the mall’s food court with eco-friendly options, mall authorities refused by saying that the government did not have any rules against Styrofoam.
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“It was not easy to bring about the change. We had been protesting for months. If only the authorities were proactive. Frankly, they finally made the shift because they did not have any other option,” Bindhu, one of the founding members of the NGO, told The News Minute.
When nothing happened even after several emails and meetings, the NGO decided to launch a protest in the mall.
On November 1, they went in and spoke with several customers, explaining the effects of Styrofoam. They collected 300 signatures for the campaign in one day. As a result, mall authorities finally asked for a week’s time to make the required changes.
Thus, the food court there was made Styrofoam free – metals, melamine and areca nut plates are now being used. I am Citizen is also talking with McDonald’s to implement the same, and some other malls have already started following the steps of Phoenix Mall.