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Levy May Be Imposed to Cut Plastic Bag Use in HK
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Hong Kong government may be urged to impose a levy on plastic bag use to save the city from plastic bag landfills as there are over 8 billion plastic shopping bags disposed yearly, according to the figure released Monday by environmental department.

In a paper tabled to lawmakers Monday, Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department urged the legislative to agree to impose a levy to cut plastic bag use, adding a 50-cent levy could cut plastic bag use in Hong Kong by one billion.

The department said about 8 billion plastic shopping bags are disposed of at landfills annually in Hong Kong, which equals to more than three bags a person daily -- a much higher figure than those of developed economies.

It said that in an opinion survey on bag usage conducted last year, more than 85 percent of respondents said they will cut usage if a levy is imposed.

The result of the No Plastic Bag Day campaign launched in supermarket chains indicates that a charge of 50 cents could lead to a drop in plastic shopping bag usage by up to 54 percent at participating retail chains.

The department suggests a phased approach to be adopted in imposing the levy by first covering chain or large supermarkets, convenience stores and personal health and beauty stores, affecting up to 100 retailers with about 2,000 outlets.

It estimated that the levy collected for the first few years will be less than 200 million HK dollars a year. The department hopes to consult the public and discuss the implementation details with the trade in the next two months.

(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2007)

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