Annie Lao Ka Weng, one of the five activists who organised the “Macau Plastic Waste and Pollution” petition, said Thursday that she was “extremely disappointed” with how the government had responded to her anti-disposable plastic campaign which had collected more than 4,700 signatures from the public last month.
In mid-August, Lao – a 29-year-old writer – and four of her friends formed an ad-hoc group and started the petition. The activists delivered the petition to the government at the end of August, demanding the government give a response in a press conference in a fortnight or by Thursday.
According to Lao, the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) sent an e-mail to her Thursday night, a copy of which Lao forwarded to the media.
In the e-mail, the bureau writes that the government has always focused on the plastic issue and since 2015, the government has been working on legislature to impose a charge on all plastic carrier bags of between 50 avos (cents) to 1 pataca. It underlines that as the bureau has held various anti-disposable plastic activities over the years and has “consistently” released details of their related anti-plastic work to the public, so there wouldn’t be a press conference regarding the issue.
Lao said, to Macau Post Daily, that she and her fellow activists were “extremely disappointed” by the government’s response as they felt that the government wasn’t answering them properly and their voices had not been heard.
She said that the government’s progress was “very slow” and “behind” other countries or regions as it was still only planning to do something that Hong Kong had done many years ago, expressing the view that it was not progressive enough.
According to Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Bureau, “The Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags”-which requires retailers to charge consumers 50 cents for each plastic bag taken – was introduced in 2009 while the amount of plastic shopping bags disposed of has dropped from 660 million in 2009 to 120 million in 2013 in Hong Kong.
Lao said that the activity promoting the reduced use of plastic carrier bags by the Environmental Protection Bureau sent the “wrong message” to the public.
According to the activity, any local resident who refuses a plastic carrier bag when shopping in specific shops and supermarkets can get a stamp on their receipts, with which they are entitled to join a lucky draw, with gifts being supermarket coupons and prepaid cash cards.
She pointed out that government gave rewards for not using single use plastic bags, but didn’t educate the public about the reason behind not using them.
As of last night 5,180 had signed the petition both online and offline.