I am writing in response to the article “Rubbish set to be charged by the bag”.
In my opinion, a “by the bag” method will not reduce the number of plastic bags used, and will not deal with the household waste disposal problem effectively.
First, although people would be charged by the number of plastic bags they use, the fee would be low at just HK$1.10 or HK$1.70 for each bag. The rich will not care about such small amounts of money. Therefore, this plan cannot motivate all residents.
Second, I think the system for collecting bags won’t work. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department says that trash bags without their logos will not be collected, but there are still many ways for unethical people to throw their rubbish away without paying the bag fee. They may discard their trash on the street or in other places, so the government should think of different measures for dealing with this kind of situation.
I think the best way to solve the household waste problem is to educate the young. Children and adolescents should be taught to keep the environment in mind. They should learn about 4R: recycle, reuse, reduce and replace. This would cut the amount of waste that needs to be collected.
Jannet Ho, Tak Nga Secondary School
From the Editor
Thanks for your letter, Jannet. We are also quite puzzled about how forcing people to put rubbish into plastic bags will reduce the number of er... plastic bags. We can see some sort of logic in that residents would perhaps think about using too many bags, but as you correctly pointed out, those who can afford it won’t care.
Hong Kong is a very clean city compared to, well, almost anywhere. We should be proud of the fact that people don’t like to litter, and prefer to place their rubbish in a bin. But instead it feels as if the government is punishing us for doing just that.
Really, though, we feel that the high offenders are not the citizens but the manufacturers and supermarkets who wrap things individually, add packet after packet of plastic to every wet item someone buys, or just go completely nuts with packaging to make something look grand. Some supermarkets seem to put plastic on stupid things, like bottles of deodorant.
If we could stop that, we would be taking a giant step in the right direction, rather than punishing people for doing what really is the right thing.