Let's kick this littering habit for good

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 1994, 12:00am

CAN somebody please explain to me why littering seems to be such a deeply embedded habit in Hong Kong? Walking anywhere in public places around the territory, even on beaches and in designated picnic and barbecue sites, it is clear that barbecue forks are seen as disposable, as is everything else associated with eating out.

True, the bins provided are quite widely used, but this does still not prevent all kinds of non-biodegradable rubbish being strewn everywhere.

Recently I observed a large family group on a river cruise in Shanghai making a game out of disposal of their waste, overboard. Three generations were involved so it would be hard to blame it on any particular age group. And from my regular visits into southern China I can confidently report that the litter problem is even worse up there! One of your contributors recently suggested a 'tidy-up Hong Kong day'. A very good idea, but I submit that it is likely that one will be needed every week! Contrast this with the cleanliness of the MTR and most shopping malls where there are organised systems and employees to deal with any problem before it becomes too great. Despite valiant attempts by the Government to promote a better environment (through TV, press and signboard ads, the BYOB campaign etc), short of waiting for perhaps many decades for the message to filter through, the only conclusion is that what is needed are hundreds if not thousands of designated street monitors.

It is clear that the police are too busy (or don't care enough) to follow through with arrests and prosecutions even though they have the powers, and appealing to people's common sense via the campaigns that are in place only has very limited success.