• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 3:29am

Tuen Mun landfill

Legco's public works subcommittee voted on July 2, 2013, to approve a HK$35 million study of a Tuen Mun landfill expansion in the New Territories. The move has been met with strong opposition from residents, and the district council says Tuen Mun has a disproportionate share of dirty facilities such as power plants and fuel depots. Plans for another landfill, in Ta Kwu Ling, has also been drawn into the controversy. The government withdrew plans for the Tseung Kwan O site amid strong opposition.

NewsHong Kong

Plan to charge households, businesses for rubbish disposal

Environment official says introduction of charging by 2016 could ease landfill pressures

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 4:49am

At least a fifth of the city's waste can be diverted from landfills if refuse charging is widely adopted by 2016, the undersecretary for the environment says.

Making households and businesses pay for rubbish disposal is under serious consideration, Christine Loh Kung-wai said, as the city struggles to reach agreement on landfill extensions and the introduction of incineration.

Loh said waste could be reduced by at least 20 per cent by 2020, assuming a charge was introduced across the board from 2016.

"This is just a very conservative estimate," she told the South China Morning Post yesterday. "But we are very serious about this. We will be extremely upset if we are not able to do this."

Next month the Council for Sustainable Development will launch a four-month consultation to gauge views on how to implement waste charging.

The city dumps about three million tonnes of waste a year at the Tuen Mun, Ta Kwu Ling and Tseung Kwan O landfills, which have two to six years to go before they reach capacity. This compares with landfills elsewhere in the world, some of which have about 40 years left.

Lawmakers want officials to fine-tune their landfill expansion plans and waste strategies before resubmitting funding requests.

"Hopefully, people will see we are doing something," Loh said, adding that more talks and visits to local communities were planned during the summer.

The bureau was also reviewing charges for construction waste disposal, introduced in 2006, which had diverted much rubbish from landfills, she said.

This is just a very conservative estimate. But we are very serious about this. We will be extremely upset if we are not able to do this

It also aims to reduce food waste by one-quarter by 2017 at the earliest, with citywide campaigns and the completion of two organic waste treatment centres.

On incineration, however, Loh said she would not underestimate the difficulties, noting strong opposition from residents living close to a proposed site near Shek Kwu Chau.



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This article is now closed to comments

Just keep on talking, and talking, and talking, and evaluating, and evaluating, and studying and studying, and evaluating and planning, and then talk some more, and study some more, and evaluate some more, and plan some more, and talk some more - and one day maybe the rubbish is simply going away!
Hong Kong people are giving more and more the impression that they are not able to run Hong Kong !
Where are your plans for compulsory separation of waste?
Where are your plans for reducing wasteful and unnecessary decoration/construction waste every time a flat changed hands?
Where are your plans to penalize food suppliers for wasteful and bulky packaging which has nothing to do with "protecting" the contents but is just to deceive buyers about the quantity ?
No incineration, just REDUCE waste. Ms. Loh, get some balls and multiply that charge by 5 to 10 times. But, make allowances for the poor.
And, one really wonders what a wrongly named "Council for Sustainable Development" is doing in support of allowing any waste at all - since HK's waste is certainly NOT Sustainable, so, why does HK's " Council for Sustainable Development " even consider, orbe part of, that consultation for having non-sustainable waste disposal, when only waste re-use / recycle is acceptable to a real " Council for Sustainable Development "!!
Where should the 20% go? Will it evaporate by itself
If they try to implement a charge which is connected to the volume of garbage taken from individual households or businesses, there will be a sharp increase of "fly tipping" - people putting their garbage into public dustbins and dumping in country parks or any quiet place including the sea.
Charging for garbage collection is in itself OK, but it has to be done as a flat charge otherwise it will cause an immense problem.
In Germany, where users garbage bins are weighed on collection and charged accordingly, this has created a lot of problems including people putting garbage in each others bins in order to reduce their own costs.
Hong Kong desperately needs to implement broad based garbage separation and recycling and develop a culture of doing so. Food waste, paper, plastics, glass, and dangerous waste like used batteries and old electrical or electronic devices all need to be separated. But it needs to be made easy to do it. And it needs to be heavily promoted in Hong Kong to get people to do it.


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