With disposable masks, self-testing kits, takeaway meals and shopping deliveries becoming part of daily life these days, the need for greater environmental awareness has seemingly fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. But this does not mean the push for greener lifestyles should be abandoned for good. Indeed, the global health crisis of the past two years or so should bring about a greater sense of urgency to introduce tougher regulations against pollution in the long run. Slowly but surely, Hong Kong is taking another step to curb single-use plastic products. Responding to a report on single-use plastic by the Council for Sustainable Development, the government said it would accept all 24 recommendations, including a higher plastic bag levy and sales bans on cups, plates, cutlery and cotton buds made of plastic. Noting the pandemic had changed people’s dining habits and lifestyles, officials said they would formulate a work plan to implement the proposals as soon as possible. The recommendations are not new. They are part of a wider strategy released last year to achieve the so-called zero landfill target by 2035. But, as with the delayed waste charge and other green initiatives, there is no concrete timetable for individual schemes. The council chief believed the measures could be implemented within years after life had returned to normal. This seems too slow in light of the mounting waste generated during the prolonged health crisis. A more ambitious timetable would convey determination and help change behaviour. Covid-19 ‘has created 8.4 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste’ The government is lagging its overseas counterparts in fostering a plastic-free culture. Even though efforts are finally under way to catch up, there appears to be more talk than action. Such procrastination does nothing for the government’s undertaking to promote sustainable living. The city has debated long enough on the way forward. With the outgoing government only in power until late June, the details are likely to be followed up by the next administration. This will be a good opportunity for the new team to show a stronger commitment to fighting pollution.