Simple lifestyle changes could help to clean up HK's environment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2011, 12:00am

As Kermit the frog once famously said, 'It's not easy being green.' Actually I'm on the verge of giving up. Why bother?

The changes I have made to my lifestyle for the planet are numerous but it is starting to look all so futile in the face of an avalanche of indifference from what seems like everyone around me. The last straw for me was one day earlier this month.

In the changing room of the gym in my clubhouse, I came across a man using a hair dryer to dry his umbrella.

He stood there for five minutes slowly rotating his umbrella under the warm blast of air while outside the sun was shining.

He obviously wasn't paying the power bill, and that probably explains his actions. More importantly, he didn't understand that there was a cost to the planet.

I work in a building that has six flights of spacious well-lit and well-ventilated stairs, yet everyone takes the lift.

I am not an engineer but the amount of energy required to raise a lift four metres must be substantial and the amount of water required to create that amount of energy considerable.

The 12 steps to the floor above are shunned in favour of a five- minute wait for a lift that will carry a person three or four metres.

The recycling bins for plastics and metals in our building are either completely empty or full of assorted rubbish, which is progress of a kind, but most of the local secondary students leave their food packaging in the garden next to the bins, or on the seats beside them.

As a society, Hong Kong residents are failing to acknowledge the looming environmental catastrophe or adopt simple lifestyle changes, which will contribute to any sort of solution.

In the absence of a shift in the community's mindset, the government has to grasp the nettle.

The plastic bag levy seems to have forced a rethink by some but to imagine this change of behaviour reflects environmental concerns is misguided.

In Hong Kong, it is all about the money. What plans does the government have to save us from ourselves? It is about time it started to clearly articulate and implement some drastic measures before it's too late.

An increase in the tariff for water would at least be a start.

P. C. Brownlie, Fanling