WE'VE been hearing and talking about it for a fairly long time： curbing what has become known as “white" pollution. But still we are using the white polystyrene (PS) foam food containers and other disposable plastic products， which largely make up this form of littering.
Miandianwang， a well-known local fast-food chain， is still handing out takeout food in these PS foam containers， even though they should been phased out before December 31， 2000， under a Central Government decree. One of the waiters said in its outlet on Hongli Road on Monday that they are going to switch to environmentally friendly containers “some time in the future".
However， the Miandianwang outlet in Sam's Club， which is affiliated with Wal-Mart， is offering take-out food in light brown containers which are biodegradable. Liang， a clerk with Sam's Club， told Shenzhen Daily yesterday that the club required the Miandianwang outlet to do so in its contract.
According to Liang， all the departments in the club switched to biodegradable containers during the Spring Festival holiday.
Zhao Hua， with the energy division of the Shenzhen Municipal Economic Development Bureau， one of the five municipal government departments involved in the curbing of white pollution in the city， said on Monday that large companies and retailers like Wal-Mart and Vanguard have responded to the decree by switching to biodegradable containers. But she admitted that is just the tip of the iceberg in the seemingly endless war on white pollution in the city.
Zhao's bureau has met with four other relevant departments on several occasions. What they produced is not a feasible solution but an echo or rewording of the Central Government decree， according to Luo Wei from Shenzhen Municipal Legal Affairs Bureau， who is responsible for reviewing this “echo". The ”echo" has now been passed on to the municipal government which is expected to announce it formally in the near future. But Luo said she's not sure if this rewording can play a significant role in eliminating white pollution in the city. “We don't lack laws， regulations or decrees. The real concern is the effective enforcement of these laws or regulations，" said Luo.
Zhao Hua admitted that cities like Shanghai and other coastal cities which are sensitive about their image as tourist destinations are doing a better job in this regard. “Shanghai is said to have produced a very detailed handbook on how to carry out the curbing work and Hainan has even banned disposable foam slippers in hotels，" Zhao said.
Liu Guanqing， president of Shenzhen Xunbao Investment Development Co Ltd， a local manufacturer of biodegradable food containers was very eager to hear the municipal government's decision on the matter. “Since early this year， I've seen orders fly in. I'll expand production once the government announces its stance on the issue."