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Lawmakers pass bill on plastic bag charge scheme

2019-04-15 08:00     Comment:1

The Legislative Assembly (AL) has passed the outline of a government-drafted bill which proposes the launch of a charge scheme on plastic carrier bags for retail businesses.

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário introduced the bill during a plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle on Friday.

The bill proposes that the amount to be charged for each plastic carrier bag is to be determined by the chief executive in an executive order after the legislature has passed by bill.

The government has said that the proposed plastic carrier bag charges will be added to the respective businesses’ income.

The bill proposes that exemptions can be made for plastic carrier bags used for unpackaged food or medicinal products, for non-hermetically packaged food or medicinal products, and for food or medicinal products that need to be kept in a cold or hot state.

All retail outlets
The bill proposes that the charge scheme cover all retail outlets, “particularly including” pharmacies, food souvenir shops, bakeries, cosmetics shops, beauty product shops, personal care product shops, supermarkets, convenience stores, and department stores.

The bill proposes that when the plastic carrier bag charge scheme is implemented in the future, the business owners will have to display promotional materials – such as posters – about the charge scheme in clearly visible locations in their retail premises.

Fines for breaches
The bill proposes that shops providing customers with free plastic carrier bags will be fined 1,000 patacas for each case. Shops owners failing to display the promotional materials in their shops will face a fine of 600 patacas each time.

1 pataca
The government launched a 45-day public consultation in December 2015 on the possible implementation of a plastic carrier bag charge scheme in the retail sector, when the government proposed that one pataca should be charged per bag.

During Friday’s plenary session, Rosário noted that the government has been proposing that one pataca be charged per plastic shopping bag since the launch of the public consultation on the matter a number of years ago. However, the policy secretary was quick to add that he doubts whether the proposed one-pataca charge would be effective to persuade shoppers to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags as Macau is a wealthy region. Rosário said he personally believed that only a higher charge would be effective.

“Macau is a wealthy city. That’s why even if we charge one pataca [per plastic carrier bag], we will continue to use plastic carrier bags. I agree with launching the charges, but will one pataca be effective [in reducing the use of plastic carrier bags?”, Rosário asked rhetorically.

The bill will now be reviewed in detail by a standing committee of the legislature before its final debate and article-by-article vote in a plenary session.

Lawmaker-cum-activist Sulu Sou Ka Hou urged the government to stipulate in the bill following its review by the standing committee that the amount to be charged for each plastic carrier bag will have to be reviewed at regular intervals.

Rosário said he personally believed that it was not a good idea to add an obligatory review mechanism to the bill as experience shows that the government has eventually been unable to conduct such reviews at statutory intervals in previous pieces of legislation.




Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário addresses Friday’s plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle. Courtesy: TDM

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  • visitors2019041521:172019-04-15 21:17

    Why no NBA sport new? I want to see please!!! can you post in the NBA sport news in the Macau Post Daily? Thank you

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