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Hong Kong environmental issues

No price too high, if Hong Kong wants a future free of plastic waste

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 7:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 7:04pm

Mainland scientist Wang Gexia has announced the ambitious and environmentally friendly creation of a non-toxic, dissolvable form of plastic (“Chinese scientists hope to fight ocean pollution by making plastic that breaks down when exposed to seawater”, September 7). This sounds great, especially since Hong Kong is currently drowning in plastic, our landfills will be at maximum capacity by 2020, and our government still will not provide adequate plastic recycling.

We also have tonnes of plastic trash in our oceans, which can end up in our food chain, and this new dissolvable plastic can be applied to shopping bags, forks and spoons (and hopefully bottles too), according to scientists.

So, if scientists from the mainland are doing their part, surely Hong Kong will want to work with them to implement this environmentally friendly endeavour, right?

Plastic waste chokes Asia’s oceans

Marine trash from mainland could be ‘7 times worse than estimated’

Wrong. Chan Wai-kin, a chemistry professor specialising in polymeric materials at the University of Hong Kong, says the biodegradable plastics “cost … more than traditional ones”. That is, unfortunately, very short-sighted thinking.

We have billions of Hong Kong dollars stored away for a “rainy day” and, when a revolutionary idea comes along like this, it is ironically a Hongkonger who points out the slightly higher operational costs.

I have an idea, let’s ask Hongkongers: would you rather be taxed more for a third runway, train to Guangzhou and bridge to Zhuhai and Macau, or for a walkable waterfront park, real recycling centres and biodegradable plastic?

Nick Anderson, North Point