Thursday, 29 November 2007

Plastic Bags are Back

'Supermarket faces flak for U-turn on plastic bags'
South China Morning Post, 27th November, p.C1

I was disappointed to read in today's South China Morning Post that the ParknShop supermarket chain has scrapped it's levy on plastic bags after just five days. The decision to charge shoppers 20 cents per plastic shopping bag was a brave attempt to reduce Hong Kong's terrible waste. Hong Kong is a city of about 6.9 million, yet we disgustingly use 23 million plastic bags daily, that's three a day or twenty-three per person per week. ParknShop cited "public criticism" as the reason for the withdrawal of the levy.

For me I see a situation where yet again the selfish nature of consumers has overcome concerns for Hong Kong obviously polluted environment. I visited ParknShop once during he charges and was impressed to see people bringing their own bags or refusing them for small items, yet this has all stopped now that plastic bags are free again. The attitude here is one of laying blame elsewhere, most often on the belching factories across the border, and ignoring Hong Kong's own contribution to the disgusting state of its environment. The amount of "public criticism" that ParknShop received suggests that the bottom line for most Hong Kong consumers is their wallets. If charging for bags will stop their pointless use I say bring back the charge and make us pay $2 or even $10.

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