Waste disposal charges gain public support

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 December, 2012, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 December, 2012, 7:37pm

Hongkongers increasingly support the idea of charging a fee for waste disposal, according to an environmental group’s survey released on Monday.

Friends of the Earth said 65 per cent of about 1,000 people polled last month supported a waste disposal fee, in a survey it commissioned to the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion poll programme.

That is an increase of 13 percentage points since the group’s previous poll, in March, which found 51.7 per cent support for the “polluter pays” principle.

As many as 75 per cent in the new poll thought a fee would create an incentive for people to recycle their rubbish.

Those opposed to such a scheme dropped by 10 percentage points, to 25 per cent, since the March poll.

“This shows that a policy of charging for waste disposal, by quantity, has gradually become the mainstream view,” said Celia Fung Sze-lai, environmental affairs officer with the group.

Among those opposed to such a measure, many said it would create an economic burden for them and would be difficult to enforce. Many opponents said disposing of rubbish is a “daily need” that should not be subject to a levy.

Fung said: “Our group is of the view that throwing out trash is any citizen’s right, yet it comes with an obligation [to be responsible].”

She urged the government to quickly release a plan for a levy on solid waste disposal. A public consultation on the subject was held this spring.