Department floats ideas to cut illegal dumping

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 2008, 12:00am

The Environmental Protection Department has pledged greater co-ordination among departments to tackle illegal dumping and suggested tighter legislation to fight the problem.

In a paper delivered to lawmakers yesterday, the government said it was willing to consider extending government control to private land in order to regulate dumping.

The government now has no authority to regulate dumping of construction and demolition material on private land if the owner has given permission.

Another option would be to legislate for a 'trip-ticketing system', which is already in place for public works projects. A ticket is issued to every truck leaving a site carrying waste and it has to be cross-checked by a receipt at the disposal site.

The legislative suggestions come on top of a government pledge to improve co-ordination among departments to step up enforcement and share information.

Routine inspections will be increased and enforcement action recorded in a shared database.

The paper follows a motion at a special environmental panel meeting last month that called for urgent action in the wake of a sharp rise in complaints since 2006.

The proposals will be discussed in a Legislative Council meeting today to be attended by Environment Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah.

But lawmakers have warned that the administration often backed down when faced with opposition from vested interests and yesterday's paper was filled with caveats.

Regarding the regulation of waste disposal on private land, even with consent, the paper said: 'This legislative approach will carry significant implications ... on private property rights and needs to be further considered through discussions with ... various stakeholders.'

Enforcement of a 'trip-ticketing system' would also add to costs: 'We would need to consult the construction industry and other relevant stakeholders,' the paper said.