Trees in landfill tell the story of Hong Kong’s lack of green sense
- Hong Kong’s shining facade belies its poor record in waste generation and recycling, where most trees felled in a typhoon end up in a landfill
I was impressed with how quickly Hong Kong cleaned up the streets and restored transport routes after Typhoon Mangkhut, the city’s most intense on record. The first thing that struck me when surveying the aftermath was the number of trees that had been uprooted, and how quickly they were cleared away. However, I was appalled to learn how much of that timber was disposed of in landfill, more than 7,000 tonnes so far (“Most of the trees felled in Hong Kong by Mangkhut to go to landfill”. But then again, perhaps I should not be surprised.
Hong Kong has a terrible record for waste generation and recycling, a problem that has barely been addressed, and it seems this lackadaisical attitude extends towards the environment in general. The recently opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is a feat of engineering, yet no thought was given to constructing a system of windmills or a wind farm at the same time (Hong Kong’s sole power-generating windmill was commissioned in 2006).
Hong Kong presents a facade of engineering progress, efficiency and environmental management, yet, in reality, its resources are being depleted, the landscape is saturated with trash, and not much beyond token efforts have been made towards renewable energy.
A city that appears futuristic today, but has little consideration for the future, leaves little to be proud of for its future generations.
Stephen Hughes, Peng Chau