My Take

Why we should take waste management personally

There’s only so much the government can do to encourage us to reduce waste; in the end, it’s up to each of us to play our part

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 1:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 1:06am

On the premise that more rubbish bins mean more rubbish, officials have removed some bins from country parks and a nature reserve. They have also introduced bins with a smaller opening in urban areas to discourage people from dropping bulky items into them.

I am no waste-management expert, but on a related note, I am a firm believer that the more roads you build, the more cars you attract, so you end up with worse traffic jams. Our transport and road planning officials think exactly the opposite.

Luckily, their colleagues from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department have shown willingness to think outside the box – or at least learn from smart practices from other countries.

Forty bins have been removed along a section of the Lantau Trail on Lantau Peak, Ma On Shan Country Trail, Tai Lam Chung Country Trail near Tuen Mun, the Dragon’s Back above Shek O and the nature reserve at Tai Po Kau. More “Take your litter home” signs have been posted, but some bins will remain at trail entrances, toilets and barbecue pits.

Vanishing rubbish bins and rotten attitudes: Hong Kong’s struggle to stay clean

It’s part of a public awareness campaign that aims to get people to take their rubbish with them after visiting country parks.

I have no idea if the government’s latest efforts at waste reduction will succeed, but it deserves praise for showing initiative. Authorities have been reducing the number of bins in country parks over the last five years – from 2,870 in 2010 down to 2,385 this year. But more waste is being generated from country parks. Some 3,800 tonnes was collected last year – up from 3,700 tonnes in each of the previous two years.

By getting rid of more bins, park visitors are forced to take responsibility for their rubbish. Just for their own convenience and easy handling, they may start to produce less garbage. Maybe more people will opt for reusable bottles, containers and towels instead of disposable ones.

When I was growing up in Hong Kong, the government had to encourage people not to litter.Times have changed, our society has become more sophisticated and people better educated, so we need to take our waste management responsibility seriously. After all, our landfills are nearly full.