Levy eases environmental burden
The 50-cent plastic bag levy is effective because more people are not asking for plastic bags when shopping at supermarkets, according to a green group.
A survey commissioned by Friends of the Earth found that 78 per cent of respondents would not ask for any plastic bags when shopping at supermarkets, compared with 54 per cent in the previous poll.
The latest survey tracked changes in public behaviour since the introduction of the plastic-bag levy in July.
Some 1,000 people aged 15 and over who had shopped at a supermarket at least once last month were interviewed by the public opinion programme of the University of Hong Kong.
The poll found that 78 per cent of them would not ask for plastic bags when shopping at supermarkets, while 74 per cent of them would bring their own bags.
Moreover, those who did ask for bags sought fewer bags, down from an average of 1.5 in the April poll to one in last month's survey.
Friends of the Earth senior environmental affairs officer Michelle Au Wing-tsz said if every Hong Kong resident sought half a plastic bag less, 3.5 million plastic bags would be saved each day, which would be a huge relief for the environment.
There were worries about a huge increase in the number people buying garbage bags after the introduction of the plastic-bag levy. But the increase was only 2 per cent, the survey showed. Also, the public supported expanding the plastic-bag levy to newspaper hawkers, stationery shops and pharmacies.