It has now been about two weeks since the Hong Kong government finally introduced a HK$0.50 levy on plastic bags in supermarkets and some other shops. From an environmental perspective this is a great development - although no figures have been published yet, simple observation while in the supermarket queues shows that people who use plastic bags for their shopping are very much in the minority. Most people now bring their own recyclable bags. As another observation, the supermarket chains used to have their name and logo prominently displayed on the bags which they used - form of advertisement. With plastic bags now being officially recognised as an environmental problem, the only thing printed on the plastic bags are messages about protecting the environment.
Of course, two questions remain:
1. why did it take the government well over a decade to introduce the levy after it was first proposed?
2. why does the government not introduce more meaningful measures to protect the environment?
While the plastic bag levy is a positive development, it is no more than a very very small token step in the right direction.
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