Hong Kong has much to learn from Japan on waste reduction

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am

It was interesting to read reports about the stand legislators took against the extension of the Tseung Kwan O landfill ('Lawmakers back motion to scrap landfill plan', October 14).

The problems we face with our landfills need to be dealt with immediately. Hong Kong is so small and using landfills is still the best way to dispose of waste here.

However, we should also look at waste disposal methods elsewhere. For example, we could learn a lot from Japan. Its main method of waste disposal is incineration.

I am not saying we should follow suit, as incinerators would not be feasible in Hong Kong. However, I would say that Japan does more with regard to environmental protection.

It has a successful recycling policy and this is an area where we can learn from Japan.

Waste is separated and classified into refuse that is not combustible, what is combustible and what material can be reused.

This efficient separation and classification system lightens the load for the incinerator.

There is also a great deal of education regarding handling and separation of waste.

This means that all Japanese have a keen sense of the need to protect the environment and they see this as an issue that must be addressed on a daily basis.

We do have a waste recycling policy, but how many Hong Kong citizens make an effort to separate their refuse? We have to ask how much support the government gets from its citizens when it comes to environmental protection.

Officials should note how things are done in Japan.

The government should try to educate Hongkongers, and promote the right message so that they become aware of the need for environmental awareness and think about this issue every day.

Helen Keung, Tsuen Wan