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Sustainability Special: Plastics

Wong Cheonghong and his plastic recycling company which turns plastics into tiny pellets

Lao also remarks that in today’s disposable and heightened consumer culture, we should try to live as people used to in the past, by using any one single item until it literally falls apart before new things are bought. “For sustainability,” she says, “there’s no end to the conversation. The conversation should be ongoing – every day and in everything, for all sorts of people.” Lao says that Macao could benefit from the ‘repair café’ culture that’s taking root in the UK. These cafés offer expert advice from ‘fixperts’ and skilled enthusiasts to people who bring in broken household items such as bicycles, tea kettles, toys and umbrellas, and have them repaired and reused rather than thrown out.

Photos by Wong Sio Kuan

of solid waste per day – a number higher than that of Hong Kong or Singapore, where the daily rate was 1.41kg and 1.49kg respectively. Since the petition began, Lao has been brought closer to like-minded people who are collaborating to protect the environment through activities such as beach clean-ups and pop-up recycling events. As such, she believes that a ‘green economy’ – one that the UN describes as focusing on ‘sustaining and advancing economic, environmental and social well-being’ – should replace Macao’s existing economy that is mainly focused on profit and income. “If we don’t have a sustainable perspective on everything,” she says, “it’s not going to work in the long run.”

Whatever methods Macao could take on to battle the plastic waste problem, it’s clear the movement is starting to step up its game with people and businesses which are launching new initiatives all the time to help in the fight. And that includes Macao’s Chief Executiveelect, Ho Iat Seng, who, following his election win in August, said that Macao would carry out its own good environmental work by not simply transferring recycled rubbish to other countries or regions for processing – which he described as ‘fake environmental protection’. He also urged residents to increase their awareness of the environment and encouraged them to use fewer ‘non-eco-friendly’ products like bottled water. So, if you want to become more sustainable, listen to the advice of the next Chief Executive of Macao. Also listen to the eco-warriors like Annie Lao and Capricorn Leong, support recyclers like Wong Cheong-hong, bring your own containers to the store to avoid shelling out for plastic bags and applaud the efforts of businesses like Melco and Sands China. Plus, get educated on the subject. As Gonçalves notes: “Improving environmental education to alert citizens about this [plastic] problem is critical. A reduction in the consumption of plastic products – in particular of singleuse plastics and of plastic products that can be easily replaced by better alternatives – is a start that all of us should adopt.”

Visit Waste No Mall’s Facebook page (澳門不是垃圾站 Macau Waste-No-Mall) to find out more about the community campaign that aims to promote waste reduction and proper recycling in Macao.

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Profile for Macaulink

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...