🌊 Free Tide: Green groups campaign for plastic cutlery ban by 2025
In today's news: disposable plastic cutlery, dog ambassadors and Law Society politics
Hey everyone, it’s Sze Yu and I’m back on High Tide! From now on, I’ll be reporting your news all the way from Berkeley, California. Enjoy!
~ Sze Yu
Environmental groups urge HK to speed up plastic cutlery ban
An investigation by 10 environmental organisations (paywalled) monitoring four major fast-food restaurants has found that only 48 per cent of such disposable products used by the four chains could be covered under phase one of the new two-part government ban.
Last month, the Environmental Protection Department’s introduced a two-stage proposal to regulate expendable plastic tableware. In phase two, the ban on disposable plastic cups, cup lids or food containers will be extended to takeaway orders. A two-month public consultation is now ongoing.
However, Greenpeace campaigner Leanne Tam Wing-lam accused authorities of making sluggish progress, saying it “was not difficult at all” to kick-start phase one, especially seeing as 26.9 per cent of utensil supplied are simply disposable tableware for dine-in services.
“Many restaurants have already given up offering disposable tableware to dine-in customers. You can say it’s really easy to achieve phase one,”
— Leanne Tam Wing-lam, Greenpeace campaigner
All 10 organisations involved in the investigation, including Greenpeace and WWF, said they were disappointed with the government’s planning.
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 3 (imported)
Total cases: 12,037 cases so far (75 active cases, 212 total deaths, 11,750 total recovered)
Hong Kong tightens quarantine requirements for 15 “high-risk“ countries
Citing threats from the Delta variant, the Hong Kong government has reclassified 15 countries (including the US, Spain and France) as “high-risk“.
Unvaccinated residents of Hong Kong or those without a recognized vaccination record can only enter the city if they did not stay in any high-risk areas for more than two hours in the 21 days before arrival. Australia has also been moved from the low-risk to the “medium-risk” group.
~ Guess I won’t be visiting HK anytime soon…
Secretary for Justice warns law societies to stay apolitical
Secretary Teresa Cheng wrote on her official blog on Monday that Hong Kong’s legal societies should “stay professional” and steer clear of politics.
“Recently, I am aware of views that legal bodies are neither political parties nor political organisations and should therefore strive to maintain their professionalism rather than politicisation. I fully agree,”
— Secretary Teresa Cheng
The recent scrutiny on Hong Kong law societies comes after the Hong Kong Bar Association angered China by by voicing concerns at certain judicial developments in the city, including the Beijing-imposed national security law.
The Legislative Council’s new building extension is expected to cost HK$ 1.7 billion (paywalled). The extension aims to accommodate an additional 20 lawmaker’s offices, with construction set to begin by the middle of 2022 at earliest and be completed by the middle of 2025.
Number of homeless women in Hong Kong has tripled since 2014.The Society of Community Organisation (a local non-profit) says that the number of homeless women has risen from 43 to 171 people in 2021. The city's homeless shelters only provide 31 bed spaces for women.
Hong Kong airport will be setting up its first ever dog squad, which will serve to both enhance security and greet inbound travelers. Ten canines will deployed in phases to patrol the terminal and surrounding areas and sniff out contrabands. The canines’ vests will also feature a green “Pat Me” patch, and travelers will be allowed to take photos with them after getting permission from the dog handler.
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