Costa Rica to ban polystyrene/styrofoam

Costa Rican President says his countrymen must make changes ‘in our minds but also in our actions’

Image result for polystyrene ocean

Costa Rica is set to ban the import and sale of polystyrene due to environmental concerns over the packaging material.

Signed into law earlier this week, it will come into effect in 2021, the same year the government has said the country will become the first plastic-free and carbon-free country in the world.

Polystyrene/Styrofoam is a popular choice used in packaging and transporting food due to its low weight, low production costs and because it is hygienic, compared to other alternatives.

However, the environmental dangers over the material have been well documented. It is not biodegradable and can break up into small pieces that get into our waterways and can be ingested by marine life. Polystyrene can take up to 500 years to decompose.

The chemicals used in its production are hazardous to humans and those who are exposed to the styrene component during its production can develop irritation on their skin, eyes, can suffer respiratory and gastrointestinal effects.

Costa Rica has long recognised its unique biodiversity as being among the country’s strongest assets. The country covers just 0.03 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but is home to about 4 per cent of the species on the planet, according to its government

Plastic is recognised as a major threat to this abundance.

Image result for costa rica biodiversity
Red-eyed Tree Frog in Costa Rica

When President Alvardo took office last year, he had this to say at his inauguration, “Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.”

“We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies.”

Would you like to see your country ban polystyrne/styrofoam as well?

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