Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP – Nov 04, 2008
Hongkongers are among the least willing to change their behaviour for a better environment, according to a poll covering 17 countries and regions.
The poll also found Hong Kong people tended to favour such habits as controlling their energy use rather than green purchasing or more sophisticated behaviour that required more time and skills. In the poll conducted by TNS in June, more than 13,000 people in 17 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, South America and Australasia were interviewed online. About 400 were from Hong Kong.
It found that while more than 70 per cent of Hongkongers said they were willing to pay more for a better environment, only 33 per cent said they had changed their behaviour “a great deal” or “a good amount” for the environment.
The score was lower than the global average of 40 per cent and was the fourth-lowest among the 17 regions, after South Korea, Germany and Russia. The most willing to change their habits were Mexicans – 74 per cent.
From a list of 34 green habits in the survey, the five most frequently practised by Hongkongers all related to energy use. Up to 76 per cent said they always or often shut down computers and unplugged electrical appliances not in use, compared with the global average of 69 per cent.
Other habits favoured by Hong Kong people include air-drying laundry, washing clothes in cold water, using efficient light bulbs, tuning air conditioning at appropriate temperatures and cutting back on travel.
“The Hong Kong public score well above the international average in terms of these particular habits and actions. Yet their performance is disappointing in other ways,” said Wade Garland, managing director of TNS Hong Kong and Singapore.
When asked how often they bought used clothes or furniture, 60 per cent of Hongkongers said never or rarely, compared with the global average of 51 per cent, while 41 per cent never or rarely purchased eco-friendly clothing and shoes, compared with the global average of 27 per cent.
Hong Kong people also scored lower on making their own cleaning supplies, composting, having cars tuned annually and having a meatless meal at least once a week.
A question on the proposed plastic-bag levy found 42 per cent of respondents describing it as “not very effective” or “not at all effective”. Only 25 per cent said it was highly effective.
While up to 97 per cent of people were aware of the No Plastic Bag Day campaign, only 82 per cent brought their own bag on that day, and 7 per cent opted to pay 50 HK cents for each plastic bag. The other 11 per cent avoided making purchases.
Mr Garland said Hong Kong consumers seemed willing to foot the bill and enjoy the convenience. He said publicity should be stepped up to remind people about the beneficial impacts that green habits can have.