UNLESS people embrace the 'polluter pays' principle landfills will be exhausted in less than two decades, Tony Eason, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands said yesterday. Mr Eason's warning came as he opened a $3.5 billion hi-tech landfill in Tseung Kwan O, New Territories, part of the Government's ambitious three-phase waste-disposal scheme. 'We are looking for a scheme which is both practical and workable,' he said. 'The landfill will only last 13 to 14 years, but if people of Hong Kong start recycling and begin to pay for the services then it should last much longer.' The Government had originally planned to charge for using the site, exempting households serviced by the Urban Council, but bowed to protests from other users. 'The 'polluter pays' principle is popular throughout the world and if it is explained properly here then there will not be a problem.' The Government is now reassessing how to institute a smoothly-operating charging scheme and does not expect to arrive at a solution before May. It predicts a 'polluter pays' scheme would bring in $120 million in extra revenue.