Say no to bottled water, drink from the tap, and help reduce Hong Kong's carbon footprint

South China Morning Post, with additional reporting by Sebastien Raybaud

A supermarket in Hong Kong was recently criticised for selling a HK$950 bottle of water, when we shouldn’t be buying bottles of water at all

South China Morning Post, with additional reporting by Sebastien Raybaud |

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Plastic bottles add 78 tonnes of waste to our landfills every day.

We need to reduce our carbon footprint in Hong Kong, says an Education University (EdU) assistant professor, and we should start by drinking tap water, and not bottled water.

Last week, Great Food Hall in Pacific Place was criticised for selling a 750ml bottle of water for HK$950. The company claims the water is sourced from Norwegian arctic glaciers. Other bottles of water, that claim to be made from Tibetan, Scottish or French glaciers, cost around HK$20 per bottle. The expensive bottles have since been removed from the supermarket.

Lincoln Fok Lin-heng, EdU’s assistant professor of environmental studies, said the price of the water doesn’t really matter, because it was a business decision made by the company. However, he said, by importing and selling bottles of water claiming to be sourced from glaciers or ice caps, a large carbon footprint is being created and left, that wouldn’t be there if people just drank water from the tap.

“It is environmentally unfriendly to consume products with such a high carbon footprint,” said Edwin Lau Che-feng, the local environmental NGO Green Earth’s Executive Director. “The carbon footprint left each year in Hong Kong per person is 6.2 tonnes – it was 5 tonnes per person in 2013.”

Lau also agreed that Hongkongers should stop buying bottled water – whether it’s imported or not, as this will help to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

World Counts, a research organisation based in Copenhagen, says the average person drinks at least five litres of water each day, which amounts to a lot of plastic water bottles being thrown away in Hong Kong. According to waste statistics taken by Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department in 2015, an average of 78 tonnes of plastic water bottles was disposed of in landfills every day.

Edited by Ginny Wong