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Hong Kong plastic bags come at a cost

HONG Kong will be applying a plastic bag levy from today. Retailers including supermarkets and convenience stores are now required to charge customers HK$0.50 (6 US cents) for every plastic bag.

Edward Yau, Hong Kong's top environmental official, said the levy was a direct economic incentive to discourage the indiscriminate use of plastic shopping bags. He said he was confident that the consumption of plastic bags would be cut by billions within a year, Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 2,000 supermarkets and convenience stores are affected by the levy.

A similar levy was applied on June 1, 2008, on the Chinese mainland. The country has banned the production of ultra thin bags and prohibited free bags at supermarkets and shops since then. Hong Kong's green groups held a promotion yesterday reminding peoples to bring reusable bags when shopping. Edward Yau and other entertainers handed out reusable shopping bags and pushed the environmental cause.

One green group predicted that the levy would cut the use of plastic bags by 70 percent.


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