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Hong Kong environmental issues

Most Hong Kong people in favour of mandatory pay-as-you-throw scheme for household waste, survey finds

  • In all, 81 per cent of respondents backed such a scheme, up from 69 per cent in 2012
  • Green groups urge government and Legislative Council to implement the scheme as soon as possible
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 6:50pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 9:14pm

More than four in five Hongkongers support a mandatory pay-as-you-throw scheme for household waste, with low-income families also strongly backing the proposal, according to a survey by five green groups.

In all, 81 per cent of respondents backed such a scheme, up from 69 per cent in 2012 and 67 per cent in 2011.

Among those who earned less than HK$10,000 (US$1,282) a month, 81.2 per cent supported the scheme, while 82.3 per cent of people living in public flats also gave it the nod.

With such strong public support, the five environmental groups – Greeners Action, Green Power, Green Earth, the Conservancy Association and Greenpeace – urged the government and Legislative Council to implement the scheme as soon as possible.

A new bill on the scheme was introduced to the legislature on November 14, a spokeswoman for the Environment Bureau said.

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“Environmental protection and waste reduction are what people want,” said Angus Ho, executive director of Greeners Action.

“We urge the members of the Legislative Council to speed up the passage of the bill which has been delayed for 14 years.”

Under the quantity-based waste charging scheme, an estimated 80 per cent of rubbish generated by housing estates, residential buildings and shops will have to go into designated bags of various sizes and priced at an average of 11 HK cents (US$0.01) per litre.

On Tuesday, the five environmental groups released a study by Hong Kong Shue Yan University on the waste charging scheme which polled 1005 people from November 11 to 22.

It showed more than 81 per cent of people in Hong Kong were willing to pay for household waste generation, with a remarkable number of low-income supporters.

“The proportion of low-income supporters was higher than the average,” said Cheng Luk-ki, director of Green Power.

“We are sure that all groups of society are the same in supporting the scheme.”

Hong Kong has long been plagued by waste problems.

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In 2016, 10,345 tonnes of municipal solid waste were sent to the city’s landfills every day, according to Environmental Protection Department statistics.

That means each person disposed of an average of 1.41kg of waste daily.

The bureau’s spokeswoman said the government would continue soliciting support from various sectors of the community with a view to easing passage of the bill and implementing municipal solid waste charging to drive behavioural changes as soon as possible, hence achieving waste reduction.