Hong Kong introduces plastic-bag tax to cut waste mountain

Hong Kong introduces plastic-bag tax to cut waste mountainHong Kong - Hong Kong lawmakers Thursday approved a tax on every plastic bag handed out by supermarkets in the city as of July in a move to cut the mountain of waste created by the bags.

The tax of 50 Hong Kong cents (6 US cents) will be levied from July 1 in a total of 2,000 shops, including every major supermarket, in the high-rise city of 7 million.

Legislators voted 35 to 3 in favour of the levy which was opposed by industry groups representing Hong Kong companies making plastic bags at factories in neighbouring southern China.

Littering is a major problem in the former British colony, a notoriously environmentally unfriendly, densely populated city which has one of the world's largest per capita carbon footprints.

Around 30 million plastic bags a day are thrown away in Hong Kong - more than four per person - accounting for some 6 per cent of the 17,500 tons of rubbish sent to the city's landfill sites every day.