Go green this holiday season
With Lunar New Year festivities in full swing, Green Power and Hongkong Electric have joined forces to appeal to the public to abandon wasteful festive habits that might harm the environment.
The environmental-friendly measures proposed instead of traditional practices involve using reusable red packets instead of self-adhesive ones and avoiding gift-wrapping when exchanging presents with friends and relatives.
To gauge the public's reaction to the proposed practices, Green Power has conducted a survey on locals' habits while celebrating the holiday.
The survey interviewed 289 Hong Kong citizens about their views on gift wrapping, eating endangered species and using new red packets and banknotes for lai see.
The findings show that the public is willing to switch to a green Lunar New Year.
More than half of the respondents said they would reuse red packets and avoid gift-wrapping. It is estimated that stopping these practices can conserve 74 tonnes of paper and save more than 1,200 trees. As for the consumption of endangered species during family reunion dinners, most respondents said they would not eat sharks' fin or wild reef fish.
'Promotions by various green groups have helped make Hong Kong people aware of the harm of consuming endangered animals to the environment,' said Dr Cheng Luk-ki, Green Power's head of scientific research and conservation department.
'However, there has been a shift towards eating other costly dishes such as fish maw, sea cucumber and abalone. These species face extinction due to over-fishing.'
However, critics might point out that adopting environmental-friendly practices will put a dampener on the festivities.
Sharing with the audience how they will go about celebrating at a news conference last month, Hongkong Electric employees and their families demonstrated that ingenuity can bridge the gap between festive extravagance and green austerity.
Ginger Tang, a member of one of the families present, offered her tips on red packets.
'I no longer queue up at banks for new banknotes. Instead of using new banknotes for lai see, I use old ones,' she said.