14 million disposable plastic umbrella covers used during Hong Kong’s rainy season

14 million disposable plastic umbrella covers used during Hong Kong’s rainy season

Environmental groups are calling for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic umbrella covers

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Plastic umbrella covers are constantly distributed and discarded during Hong Kong’s rainy season.
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

Hongkongers may end up using as many as 14 million disposable plastic umbrella covers during the wet season from June to September, prompting a green group to call for alternative environmentally-friendly options to deal with dripping brollies.

Around 90 per cent of the 53 shopping malls, commercial buildings and government facilities across Hong Kong monitored by Greeners Action this past month distributed the plastic freebies during the rain to keep floors dry and prevent people slipping.


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On average, around 288 covers were distributed every 45 minutes.

Combing that figure with the average 576 hours of rainfall between June and September recorded each year by the Observatory, and a total of 14 million umbrella covers would be used across the 53 buildings.

“People use these bags only when they enter the property and they discard them when they leave. Time of use is short but the waste they generate is serious,” assistant project manager Yip Chui-man said.


 

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Yip urged venue operators to use automatic umbrella dryers, umbrella racks, floor mats and recycling bins at entrances.

Joy Lee, a 15-year-old student from South Island School told Young Post on Friday she reuses the covers.

“These bags are useful as they keep us dry and prevent us from slipping. But considering the devastating effect on the environment, I often reuse them or bring my own bag. A possible solution is to encourage more people to reuse these bags as they are very clean and easy to bring along,” she said.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Wet weather creates umbrella cover waste

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