IPOH, Jan 17 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today welcomed Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (KADA) chairman Husam Musa’s suggestion to replace plastic straws with those made from lemongrass at public hospitals.
Dr Lee said that the ministry encouraged the idea but would not make this compulsory.
“We will consider the suggestion, but the decision will be made by the cafe and canteen operators in the hospital
“They have to see the function of the (lemongrass) straw and also the cost,” he told a press conference after visiting the Bijih Timah Health Clinic here.
Dr Lee also said there were still many sustainable alternatives to plastic straws.
“I have seen straws which were made out of corn, paper and few others materials. However, the ministry is not obliged to micro-manage. It depends on the operators.
“If they believe the usage of the alternative straws is not economically burdensome, then they can implement the suggestion.
“It is a good suggestion. If it is economical, then we encourage the operators to proceed with the usage. But at the moment we don’t know the cost yet,” he said.
On Wednesday, Husam suggested that plastic straws be replaced with lemongrass in public hospitals and added that KADA is willing to supply the lemongrass to those who want to take the suggestion.
He went on to say that only the outer part of the lemongrass was needed for use as straws while its inner core could still be used for cooking.