The government said Sunday that it has not yet decided whether or not to impose a plastic carrier bag tax, admitting that it has the responsibility to reduce the number of plastic carrier bags used in the city but declining say whether it will come up with anyspecific measures to lower the amount.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of Sunday’s Environmental Protection Week opening ceremony in Macau, Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) Director Cheong Sio Kei said that the government had to collect public opinion on the issue first before deciding whether or not there should be a plastic carrier bag tax.
He made the remarks when asked by reporters as to whether or not the government would impose a tax on plastic carrier bags given to shoppers.
According to the findings of a survey and study on how to limit the production and reduce the use of plastic carrier bags conducted by the bureau last year, each resident used 2.2 plastic carrier bags on average per day and the total amount of plastic carrier bags used locally was about 450 million in 2012. The bureau announced the findings in a statement Sunday.
The total weight of the plastic carrier bags thrown away was about four percent of the total weight of all solid refuse in the city, according to the findings.
“The government has to consider this issue in a comprehensive manner …I expect that it will take a few years for people to voluntarily reduce the number of plastic carrier bags they use, and then there should be regulations in place regarding the possibleimposition of a tax,” Cheong was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying. He also said that there should be some measures in place to encourage consumers to reduce the number of plastic carrier bags they use.
Asked by reporters whether there would be any timetable for when the government would make up its mind on imposing a plastic carrier bag tax or how it would try to reduce the number of plastic carrier bags locals use, Cheong declined to elaborate.
Cheong merely said that his bureau would collect more public opinions on the possible measures to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags.(macaunews)