People are reusing plastic bags in a responsible manner

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am

I am curious to know why Martin Brinkley has to defend the Environmental Protection Department's (EPD) calculation regarding plastic bag usage ('Bag count', February 29).

Despite numerous calls for the EPD to justify such figures, the department has not provided any response and Mr Brinkley seems to be speaking on its behalf.

He, like the EPD, thinks that each Hong Kong person dumps 21 plastic bags every week - an astonishingly high disposal rate, probably the highest yet known on planet Earth. Yet the EPD has not been able to explain to the public how such an incredibly large number of plastic bags disposed of per person was generated and the reliability of such a finding. It should be strongly reiterated that an exaggerated disposal rate could become a convenient excuse for more control on what was actually not necessary. Legislation based on misleading information does not make sense and is unacceptable to a knowledge-based society.

Also, the EPD appears to have misled the public by accusing people of using plastic bags 'indiscriminately' and has proposed a 'discriminatory' levy on plastic shopping (courtesy) bags given out by selected outlets, as a deterrent. But still, one cannot find any details - in its public consultation report to the Legislative Council last August for the proposed levy on plastic shopping bags - that would support its allegation of indiscriminate use. EPD surveys in the report show that plastic shopping bags were mostly being reused for garbage disposal in lieu of purpose-made bin liners, in an environmentally-conscious way.

I see how Mr Brinkley could exploit the ParknShop plastic bag saga to say Charles Chow ('Empty bags', February 21) appears to be trying to discredit the EPD's calculation on the number of plastic bags disposed of daily. Mr Chow was using the figure of 295,000 bags sold by the 220 ParknShop outlets in those five campaign days to illustrate the extremely low level of support for the campaign. Why can't the EPD simply substantiate its methodology used for establishing the more than 23 million plastic bags dumped into landfills every day?

Alex F. T. Chu, Clear Water Bay