Gloves spark waste outcry

ENVIRONMENTAL groups yesterday accused organisers of Sunday's concert at the Hong Kong Stadium of wasting thousands of gloves handed out during the event to muffle the applause.

The groups, initially encouraged by the concert which had a health and environmental awareness theme, were shocked to find gloves strewn across the stadium grounds and neighbouring footpaths.

The garments, provided by the Government Supplies Department, were distributed to the 38,000 people who attended the event in an effort to lessen the noise.

Residents said screams and applause were still above acceptable limits.

A government spokesman said last night that the stadium managers, Wembley International, had been contacted to return gloves discarded within the arena.

The Health and Welfare Branch, however, regarded the gloves littering the footpaths around Eastern Hospital and along Caroline Hill Road as 'garbage'.

He said the cost of collecting, washing and preparing them for re-use would be higher than buying new gloves.

Karen Lam Lai-keng from Friends of the Earth, said plans should be made before every such event to minimise waste.

'We shouldn't just be thinking of these PR exercises,' she said. 'We have to look at environmental protection as one of the top priorities during these events.' She hoped organisers of future events would take recycling seriously.

Executive Secretary for Green Power, Alex Yan Wing-lok, said cotton labour gloves of these type can be used 'time and time again', and the government should consider a policy to re-use such items, no matter how basic or cheap.

An application has been made to exempt a Basic Law promotion concert at the stadium from noise level limits.

Cheng Kai-nam, a member of the Joint Committee for the Promotion of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, said the committee wrote to the Urban Council, the Urban Services Department and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) last week to seek the exemption. No reply has been received.

The EPD has banned evening concerts producing sound levels of more than 65 decibels in the wake of stadium neighbours' complaints about a Canto pop-concert in March.

The Noise Pollution Ordinance provides that an exemption can be granted by the Governor in Council.