Waste disposal levy needs adjusting

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2012, 12:00am


I agree with Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah's proposed levy on waste.

The fee would be a significant step towards reducing the amount of our solid waste, while also slowing the rate at which our landfills become saturated. Yet there would be some drawbacks.

Low-income citizens might be hard-pressed to afford such a fee in their limited daily budgets. They are facing hardships as it is and extra expenditures would further lower their quality of living.

While I support the policy, I think the government should strike a balance between environmental conservation and the public good.

Before it implements this policy, the government should set up a transition period that lets citizens adapt to the new ways of waste disposal. It should also promote awareness of eco-friendly practices to the public.

We need to ensure the programme is fair and effective.

Fong Kwok-ho, King Ling College

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Kwok-ho. Waste is a very serious problem in Hong Kong. We have a lot of people living in very little space, and all that rubbish we create has to go somewhere.

We all know the landfills are almost overflowing, and talk of an incinerator is worrying, in terms of air pollution. But the rubbish has to go somewhere.

I doubt many of us could truly say we live a faultless, perfectly green life. However much you may try to recycle, I'm sure there are days when you can't find a recycling bin, or are too tired to separate rubbish. Maybe there aren't recycling bins near your home, so you don't bother.

No matter how much, or how little, you do to reduce waste, the truth is we must all do more. And this is where I think the levy could really help: the threat of paying will hopefully force everyone to do more for the environment. As you say, the government has to think carefully about charges. Some people cannot afford to spend more. Citizens' financial livelihood is as important as caring for the planet.

Karly, Deputy Editor