May 29, 2022
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Hong Kong zero-COVID policies create mountains of plastic waste

Hong Kong zero-COVID policies create mountains of plastic waste

HONG KONG — Hong Kong arrivals meet plastic all over the place in quarantine inns: Distant controls are wrapped in cellophane, pillows are encased in plastic baggage, meals comes with plastic cutlery. 

Hong Kong’s strict quarantine policies — meant to halt coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) on the border and locally — have been criticized for damaging the financial system and psychological well being. Environmentalists say the policies are additionally hurting the setting by producing extra waste. 

“Every single one of the staff members here wears full PPE … the gowns, the gloves, the booties, the hats, and that’s every staff member and on every floor,” stated Hong Kong-based skincare entrepreneur Clementine Vaughan, who flew into town on April 4. 

“The phones, you know, the remote controllers, everything’s been cellophane-wrapped,” she stated, talking to Reuters from her quarantine resort. 

Hong Kong disposes of over 2,300 tonnes of plastic waste a day, and with a recycling charge of simply 11%, in line with authorities figures, most of it goes into landfills. 

A authorities spokesperson stated officers have been conscious of a surge in disposable waste since COVID started, urging individuals to undertake a inexperienced life-style so far as potential. 

Edwin Lau, with native environmental group The Inexperienced Earth, stated Hong Kong’s method to COVID mirrored its lack of environmental consciousness. 

“People living in quarantine hotels, they are not confirmed cases,” Mr. Lau stated, urging the federal government to permit the recycling or reuse of plastics from quarantine amenities. 

Hong Kong, one of the few locations that holds to a zero-COVID coverage, has quarantined tens of 1000’s of individuals this 12 months in amenities for the COVID-positive and close to contacts. 

The amenities add to the waste drawback, with residents confirming to Reuters all meals got here in plastic baggage. 

Paul Zimmerman, an elected district councilor, stated the amenities are additionally wasteful as a result of they’ll’t be used long-term, resembling for public housing. 

“They’ve been built very quickly … (and don’t) comply with any particular building standards we have in Hong Kong.” — Reuters

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