Plastic Bag Levy Begins
For me the above photo is pretty symbolic of Hong Kong's environment. Soaring towers of steal and black clouds with just a hint of sun soaked hills sparkling in the distance. When I ask my expat mates what they like and dislike most about living in Hong Kong an answer that often crops up to both is "the environment". From the farm and wetlands to mountains and beaches Hong Kong crams an impressive array of spectacular space in to the small area; after all the territory is more than 60% park land. Yet on the other hand the environmental ethics displayed here are often disgusting - resources are squandered and filthy waves of pollution are created by Hong Kong's excessive use of fossil fuels and the factors that fuel the World's consumerism across the border.
Today's the day I claim; the day for what? Today a tiny, token step is being taken to try and shift the balance towards environmental sustainability. To reduce the amount of 'post consumer waste' generated in the form of plastic shopping bags, the Government is implementing a good old fashioned strategy of hitting Hong Kongers were it hurts most; their wallets. From today retail outlets over a certain size (read supermarkets and department stores) will have to charge shoppers 50c for each plastic bag they use. 50c isn't much for a bag, but hopefully it's enough to encourage consumers to not just turn to the benefits of a reusable bag, but to be more aware and responsible for their environment generally. The plastic bag levy is certainly a step (alas a very small step) in the right direction, let's just hope it's an effective one.
Visit Government's website on the plastic bag levy.