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SEN visits Wan Chai District (with photos)

     The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, today (February 13) visited Wan Chai District to promote to retail shops the upcoming full implementation of plastic shopping bag (PSB) charging. He also visited an eco-friendly workshop established by a non-government organisation in the district and met with members of the Wan Chai District Council.

     Accompanied by the District Officer (Wan Chai), Miss Angela Luk, Mr Wong first visited the upcycling workshop operated by St James' Settlement Rehabilitation Services to observe how it creatively converts waste into new products with modern designs.

     The workshop's team of skilled designers upcycle discarded materials like carpets, wallpaper and plastic bottles to form unique new products. Mr Wong said the products of the workshop, which are environmentally friendly, creative and practical, serve as good examples of waste reduction and recycling.

     Mr Wong then proceeded to a ginseng and Chinese medicine shop and a bakery in the district and purchased some Chinese New Year goods and snacks. Mr Wong also took the opportunity to promote to the shop owners the full implementation of PSB charging starting from April 1. From that date onwards, all retail shops in the territory, irrespective of the scale and the nature of the business, will have to charge customers not less than 50 cents for each plastic bag, unless the use of a plastic bag is exempted from PSB charging, such as for food hygiene reasons or prepackaging.

     Although some plastic bags are exempted from PSB charging, Mr Wong said that retail shops should distribute fewer plastic bags while members of the public are urged to keep the good habit of bringing their own shopping bags in order to use less and waste less, thereby further reducing the usage of plastic bags.

     With the Chinese New Year approaching, Mr Wong called on members of the public to maintain the eco-friendly practice of "food wise, waste less" while celebrating the festive occasion. For example, they should prepare appropriate amounts of food so as to avoid wastage, choose new year gifts with minimal packaging, and reuse or recycle lai-see packets. After the Chinese New Year, members of the public may also donate surplus items to the needy through charity organisations, and contact relevant green groups for the collection and recycling of festive flowers to be discarded.

     Concluding the visit, Mr Wong met with Wan Chai District Council members to exchange views on overall environmental policy and district environmental issues. Noting that community participation and support is vital to the promotion of environmental protection, he thanked the councillors for their efforts in promoting environmental protection at the district level, adding that the Government will continue to collaborate with the District Council to help build a green community together.

Ends/Friday, February 13, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:41


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