Hong Kong should learn to cut waste before charging to dispose of it
I am writing in response to the article, “Back new waste charging scheme, minister urges” (November 5). I strongly oppose government plans to launch this mandatory waste charging scheme in about two years’ time. This scheme will further increase the financial burden on overstretched Hong Kong residents, especially the underprivileged. Once the scheme takes effect, such people would have no choice but to reduce living expenses. Another reason is Hong Kong’s lack of recycling facilities, despite record amounts of municipal solid waste being created every day.
Food waste makes up the bulk of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong, including from restaurants, hotels, wet markets, and the food production and processing sectors. Before launching a waste-charging scheme, the government should implement a stringent policy to encourage residents and businesses to cut food waste. Allocate funding to support local food banks and charities to collect unwanted food from markets or hotels and provide meals for the needy. This can support the underprivileged, while relieving the pressure on our landfills.
Environment chief Wong Kam-sing himself said that Seoul and Taipei are decades ahead of Hong Kong on waste reduction because they “created an atmosphere for the public to reduce waste”.
The government would have to invest in setting up waste treatment facilities. The cost of cutting waste is a fraction of that needed to treat waste. The government should continue to develop more environment-friendly measures and follow-up actions to reduce all waste at source, increase recycling rates and cater for waste treatment.
Kong Lok Son, Tseung Kwan O