No attempt to recycle at July 1 march

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 July, 2013, 1:35am

If any further proof was required of the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the administration for addressing the issue of waste generation and disposal, one had to look no further than the action taken over the large amounts of rubbish generated during the protest march and pro-government activities on July 1.

One thing they had in common was the generation of large amounts of recyclable materials in the form of paper, tin cans, plastic bottles and other plastics used for promotional purposes and then abandoned.

Here was a glorious opportunity for the Environmental Protection and Food and Environmental Hygiene departments to promote good practices and public education. All that was required was the placement of large mobile recycling bins at strategic locations. Many side roads were closed to traffic along the protest route and the entertainment venues are pedestrianised. Food and environmental hygiene staff, instead of standing around with their arms folded, could have advised the public on correct usage.

Much of the paper waste mashed into a soggy mess because of the heavy rain could have been saved. The protest march included a number of environmental groups so the organisers would have happily made announcements on the need to place rubbish in the skips. The concert-goers at Kai Tak could have been alerted from the stage.

Instead we had the usual sad sight of overflowing bins, the ones for recycling far too small to cope with the large quantities of bottles and paper. Those for metal were soon filled with mixed rubbish.

As soon as the crowd had passed, street cleaners appeared with large black bags, into which all rubbish was indiscriminately stuffed. I asked some food and environmental hygiene officers standing by why no effort was made to extract the recyclables and was told to complain to the 1823 hotline. This, in spite of the department having previously confirmed that "street cleansing contractors are not allowed to tamper with the content of the recyclables collection bins" ("Cleaners dump waste for recycling", March 17).

The government plans to expand the Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling landfills.

Legislators backing these proposals, without having commitments in writing and with non-negotiable timelines on the introduction of waste charges and support for the recycling industry, will have completely failed in their duty to the community by accepting more vague promises and ineffectual committees that never deliver.

Martin Brinkley, Ma Wan