Landfill solution lies in cutting waste

Kitty Chan, Heep Yunn School

Hong Kong must look to the long-term, not expand site at Tseung Kwan O

Kitty Chan, Heep Yunn School |

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The Legislative Council is planning to repeal the government's order to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill site, which is expected to be filled up in 2014. The government had proposed using five hectares of the Clear Water Bay Country Park to extend the landfill site to satisfy needs. Some environmentalists have suggested the government take concrete action to reduce waste as a solution to the landfill problem.

In my opinion, this is proof that the Hong Kong government was not careful enough when planning the city.

Tseung Kwan O used to be a barren area that very few people lived in but has developed to become a heavily populated town. It is obvious that a landfill site could create hygiene and odour problems for the residents living there. However, the Hong Kong government allowed construction of residential buildings near the original landfill site. If the government had considered the planning of the town as a whole more carefully, it would have kept the landfill site and residential areas as far from each other as possible in order to alleviate the impact of the landfill site on the residents there.

Not only has the Hong Kong government been careless in town planning, it has also been short-sighted when drawing up policies concerning the environment. Reduction of waste is one of the main focuses of environmental policies in many countries such as Singapore.

Sad to say, the Hong Kong government has not done anything significant to reduce waste. In fact, the volume of waste has increased by 7.3 per cent over the past five years. And, whenever the landfill sites fill up, the government expands the sites. The government fails to tackle the root cause of the problem. If this continues, we will not be able to use the landfill sites for long even after they are expanded. This is a very disappointing result produced by our government.

Many environmentalists have pointed out many possible ways to help reduce waste, like developing the recycling industry and a policy of charging fees for waste. But our government seems too busy to carry out any consultation or investigation with regard to the above policies. The landfill sites could have been used for a longer time if our government had taken the initiative to combat the problem of increasing volume of waste.

The government must be more insightful and lay down a long-term plan to improve Hong Kong's living environment. If not, Hong Kong's environment is likely to deteriorate, and we, Hong Kong citizens, will suffer most.

Sad to say, the Hong Kong government has not done anything significant to reduce waste