Thursday, September 17, 2009

Irresponsible use of vinyl banners

Vinyl banners have taken over Hong Kong.
Every building site, storefront and restaurant seems to be sporting a banner. As if this wasn't bad enough for the environment, government departments have jumped on the bandwagon and now use these banners for their public awareness campaigns. "Keep Hong Kong clean", "Don't drink and drive", "Drugs kill", "Prevent Japanese Encephalitis. Remove stagnant water", "Eliminate rodent nuisance", "Wash your hands" and even use them to promote temporary events such as museum exhibitions, concerts and festivals.

The effectiveness of these public campaigns has been questioned by many advertising experts who think that the public has grown tired of being addressed like a pre-schooler and that pedestrians and motorists are already bombarded with so many messages that they are too distracted to pay any notice. Besides, other channels such as radio, tv and the internet can be more effective, reducing the ecological impact of these campaigns.

As to choosing a strong, durable material to promote sport and cultural events that last for less than a month, this is by far the most absurd and irresponsible use.

Almost all banners are made of Vinyl PVC, a material that presents environmental concerns, both in its manufacture and its disposal.

It might be hard to curb their use in the private sector, but when taxpayers money is actually used to generate more waste for our overflowing landfills, one cannot help but doubt the sanity of our civil servants.

2 comments:

John said...

I beg to differ - even though I do see your point... Vinyl banners do have some good that comes from their use. For instance, they can be reused and stored easily... Which means companies will not have to continue having banners made each year. They can stand up to the outside elements which means less materials will be needed to replace ripped up light duty banners. As long as companies dispose of them properly (recycle), there should not be an issue with banners destroying the environment.

foreign body said...

John,
if banners were reused, and then recycled when no longer needed, i would only be concerned about their manufacture.
Unfortunately these banners are often used to promote temporary events and then discarded.

As to public awareness campaigns, yesterday i counted 6 banners placed by the Home Affairs Department in Causeway Bay, they were only 20 meters apart (!) and read "Get Moving. Clean Hong Kong". The same banners can be found in parks and beaches, next to other 4 or 5 banners by other government departments. They visually blight the landscape and often end up in the ocean, as witnessed after the recent typhoon. Do we want our beaches to look like a suburban car park?