LettersHong Kong must take a leaf out of the European Union’s book to reduce waste
- Hong Kong policymakers can learn from the European Parliament’s approval of an ambitious single-use plastic ban and regulations
- Meanwhile, bottom-up strategies such as environmental education are key to sparking change
Reference can be taken from the European Parliament’s approval of an ambitious step-by-step single-use plastic ban and regulations. Apart from market restrictions that ban the use of plastic cutlery, straws, containers and so on, countries are required to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics that have no alternatives, such as containers for immediate consumption of prepared food, by 2026.
To educate the public, certain disposable products such as sanitary items and wet wipes will have compulsory markings on their packaging to inform consumers about the presence of plastic in the product, appropriate waste management options and negative environmental impacts when the product is discarded.
China’s New Year’s resolution: bans on plastic straws, plates, non-biodegradable plastic bags
The Environment Protection Department should cooperate with the Education Bureau to design an organised, comprehensive curriculum that integrates scattered pieces of environmental education in different subjects. Currently, the information from the government and NGO education programmes is fragmented.
The curriculum should not exacerbate competition among students and schools; rather, it should focus on developing students’ critical thinking skills to avoid them being misled. Outdoor learning experiences should be included as part of experimental learning to help students establish personal bonds with nature, encouraging them to think responsibly about the environment.
Rachel Yu, student, Division of Environment and Sustainability, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology