Real green spaces could vanish under a tide of vinyl banners

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 November, 2010, 12:00am

We are losing our country parks to landfills while the MTR Corporation continues to expand the size of advertising space along station walls, on station floors and on the carriages of its trains.

Such space is covered in self-adhesive vinyl (often dozens of metres long) that, after a couple of weeks, is removed and sent to landfills.

Using vinyl, which has a huge environmental impact, is totally irresponsible and if the government were serious about waste reduction, it would discourage this form of advertising by imposing a waste disposal tax.

When will the real cost of advertising be calculated?

A waste disposal tax would force advertising agencies to switch to more creative and sustainable techniques.

I do not see anything creative in destroying the planet while trying to make us buy one brand rather than another.

A waste disposal tax would send a strong signal that the government is determined to reduce waste. But just how determined is it? It has not even managed to write a code of conduct for its own departments.

The East Asian Games comes to mind. The number of vinyl banners displayed in our city surpassed by far the number of spectators.

This could hardly be called a successful campaign. Undeterred, the administration continues to hang vinyl banners that add visual clutter to our streets, beaches and parks, and will inevitably end up in landfills.

Surely there are better ways to increase public awareness of the risks of, for example, drink-driving, drug abuse, dengue fever, encephalitis, rodent infestation and pickpockets, than covering the city in huge banners that will only start to decompose in 50 years' time.

Maybe these officials are unaware that vinyl PVC is a durable material that presents environmental concerns, both in its manufacture and disposal, and it should not be used as liberally as officials are doing.

The Urban Renewal Authority, responsible for the makeover of the Central Market, is just as oblivious to the necessity of reducing waste.

Here is an historic Bauhaus-style building that is far more environmentally-friendly in its design than most new buildings, and yet it was completely wrapped in green vinyl to create a 'central oasis'.

Has anybody ever seen an oasis made of plastic?

A vertical garden would have been a far more appropriate solution, and would have reduced pollution and indoor temperatures instead of adding to them.

Unless someone puts a stop to this vinyl fever soon, there will be no more green oases to escape to, as our country parks make room for waste disposal facilities.

Laura Ruggeri, Lamma