By Jean Cao Junchen
Image credit: Lee Forrest.
China will lift a 14 year long ban on disposable polystyrene tableware, the Beijing Times reported Tuesday.
The National Development and Reform Commission of China published a document (pdf) in late February calling for an end to the ban, but neglected to provide a thorough explanation or reason why.
A high ranking official in China Plastics Processing Industry Association was quoted by China Chemical Industry News as saying that the disposable foam boxes were proven to be a safe and low material consumption, and they can be recycled so as not to create excess waste.
The International Food Packaging Association refuted that the disposable tableware was harmless. Polystyrene tableware may contribute to poisoning if oily food contained within it is heated by microwave oven.
The lifting of the ban attracted much negative comment on Weibo, as netizens cast doubt on the safety of the products and worried about their potential impact to the environment.