Say no to umbrella covers, for a plastic-free Hong Kong
I agree with the environmental group Greeners Action, that “By giving out umbrella covers when it rains, [the] Hong Kong government [is] ‘taking [the] lead’ in plastic waste” (August 24).
In fact, we should build up a habit of bringing our own bag for wet umbrellas, and reuse those bags when needed. If the government provides visitors with plastic bags at the buildings it manages, to a certain extent this encourages them to use more plastic bags.
However, I don’t agree that the government should levy a charge of 50 HK cents for the covers, as suggested by one member of the group. I think the government should stop providing any plastic bags at all. As Hong Kong is an affluent city, charging 50 cents may not give citizens much initiative to reduce the use of plastic bags. Simply not using them is the best way to achieve the goal of reduced plastic waste.
Apart from floor-drying machines and absorbent carpets, I think the government can also install some umbrella dryers. I once saw one at a shopping mall, providing this service for visitors to dry their umbrella with a few simple steps. If such machines could be more widely used, people would no longer need to use plastic bags for their wet brollies.
Most of all, public education is crucial. If citizens are made to realise how plastic waste is choking our landfills and hurting the environment, they will try harder to create zero plastic waste.
Tsui Kit-lam, Kwai Chung