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Hong Kong environmental issues

Plastic on Hong Kong’s beaches makes a strong case for a mandatory ‘bring your own bottle’ policy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2018, 5:12pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 October, 2018, 5:11pm

I refer to the report “Almost quarter of plastic bottles washed up on Hong Kong beaches come from Coca-Cola Company” (October 2).

The report noted that 328 of the 1,404 bottles that local non-governmental organisation Green Earth collected in its 14 beach clean-ups across the city belonged to the Coca-Cola brand, accounting for 23.4 per cent of the total. Vita comprised 21 per cent and Cool 11.4 per cent.

The green group said both producers and consumers who discard the bottles have a responsibility to protect the environment. The group suggested Coca-Cola Company return to packaging its beverages in glass bottles and other recyclable materials.

Apart from this, there is another way to reduce the total production of plastic bottles. Everyone who wants to buy drinks should bring their own bottles, which they can reuse. Drinks should not be sold to those who don’t bring their own bottle. This would be a better way to reduce the production of plastic bottles and it also does away with the need to produce glass bottles or other recyclable materials for packaging drinks.

Although objections might be raised to this scheme on the grounds of hygiene, it could succeed with people’s cooperation.

Mickey Yu, Tsuen Wan

Watch: Can Hong Kong consumers say ‘no’ to plastic?

Individual effort can make a dent in plastic waste problem

I am writing in response to the article about the large number of Coca-Cola plastic bottles found on Hong Kong beaches. I agree with Green Earth that Coca-Cola Company should shoulder the blame, but we as citizens must make a greater effort to alleviate the waste problem, too.

According to Friends of the Earth, we send 158 tonnes of plastic bottles to the landfill every day, with plastic waste accounting for 21 per cent of the municipal solid waste in Hong Kong. Many believe that this number cannot be changed through individual efforts as this would tackle only the tip of the iceberg. However, if everyone takes a green approach to the issue, we will see improvements.

First, we should recycle every plastic bottle that can be recycled. Recycling plastic bottles may seem easy, but many people do not recycle their plastic waste simply because it is inconvenient.

Second, we should reuse the plastic bags we get from different shops instead of just throwing them away, contributing to the increase in solid waste in our landfills. Why not reuse those bags to store plastic waste that we can then recycle, for example?

We should give the environment and our enjoyment the same importance. Neglecting either of the two would have a negative impact on our daily lives.

Leo Yuen Chun-yu, Tiu Keng Leng