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  Budget Speech
  Environmental Protection

73.     Promoting environmental protection will help reduce wastage, preserve and improve our environment, and ensure the sustainable development of Hong Kong .  Moreover, this will help develop our environmental industry, create more job opportunities and improve the quality of life in Hong Kong as a cosmopolitan city so as to attract more talent and enhance our competitiveness.

74.    In the light of overseas experience, I believe that introduction of suitable 孄reen?taxes can help reduce the growth of solid waste and enhance public awareness of environmental protection.  The Environment, Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB) is now studying the introduction of a product responsibility scheme for waste tyres.The scheme aims to give those concerned the responsibility of recovering and recycling waste tyres.  Under this scheme, they will have to bear the associated costs in accordance with the olluter pays?principle.  The regulatory impact assessment study on the scheme has been completed.  ETWB is now evaluating the cost-effectiveness of different options and their effect on the industry, and aims to commence a public consultation on the recommended options within this year.

75.     During this year's Budget consultation exercise, I floated the idea of a tax on plastic bags.  We all know that plastic waste is generally non-biodegradable.  A staggering number of plastic bags are used by Hong Kong people.  Each day the plastic waste dumped in landfills amounts to 1 064 tonnes, equivalent to over 33 million plastic bags.  Every day on average, therefore, each citizen disposes of nearly five plastic bags.  Such a grave situation is incongruous with the concept of promoting a sustainable society.  ETWB will study ways to help the retail industry to minimise the distribution of plastic bags and to recover and recycle the used products.  ETWB also aims to encourage the public to re-use plastic bags and take their own bags with them for shopping.  Taking as a frame of reference the overseas practices of levying a tax or charging fees on plastic bags, ETWB is studying the feasibility of introducing similar measures to Hong Kong .

76.    No matter how desirable our proposed measures are, it will be difficult to achieve meaningful results without the community taking ownership and contributing positively to the effort.  Environmental protection will bring long-term benefits to our society.  I hope the public will respond constructively to the proposals when the Government formally puts them forward.



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2004 | Important notices
Last revision date : 16 March, 2005