Hong Kong reduces plastic bags by 90 percent

July 5th, 2010 - 1:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, July 5 (IANS) Use of plastic bags in Hong Kong has come down drastically - by nearly 90 percent - in the past 12 months thanks to a “plastic-bags-fine” scheme launched by the government.
Registered retailers in Hong Kong distributed 90 percent fewer plastic bags in the past 12 months in comparison to the situation before the scheme, a clear sign of its effectiveness, Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s environment secretary, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The scheme, which was put into force in July 2009, had also successfully transformed shopping habits, aside from cutting down the number of plastic bags used, he said.

“Many people are putting green living into practice by using fewer plastic shopping bags and bringing their own,” Yau said.

Noting that indiscriminate use of plastic shopping bags had always been one of Hong Kong’s major waste-management problems, Yau asked citizens to continue not asking for plastic shopping bags and to think twice before disposing them of.

The fine on plastic shopping bags is the first such scheme implemented under the state’s “Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance”, and covers about 3,000 chain supermarkets, convenience stores and health and beauty stores.

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