Citizens to sign petition and demand the government implement waste reduction strategies
(25 June 2014, press release) The Finance Committee will soon begin considering the funding application for the “3+1” proposal. Four environmental groups – Greeners Action, Friends of the Earth (HK) (FoE(HK)), the Conservancy Association and Green Power – demonstrated on the street using a giant chimney model with the words “How many more landfill and incinerator is enough?”. If the government does not put in sufficient effort in waste reduction, then there will never be enough end-of-pipe treatment facilities to handle the ever-increasing garbage. The groups urged citizens to sign a petition to ask the government to implement the waste reduction strategies proposed by them earlier in order to demonstrate their determination in promoting waste reduction.
The environment groups stressed that, although the landfill will soon reach capacity and constructing landfills & incinerators will aid with the current problem, no number of end-of-pipe treatment facilities will help with waste reduction if the government slackens its pace in reducing waste at source because they found an easy out.
The group pointed out that the past governments have issued many outlines for reducing waste, but most ended up as empty promises. The incumbent government announced the “Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable use of resources” last year. However its waste reduction progress has been disappointing, leading the public to worry that they will repeat the same mistake. Once again, the four environmental groups request the government to promise to implement the six waste reduction strategies (see table) to regain public trust.
The group has launched a petition campaign on the streets and online, asking the public to urge the government to implement the waste reduction strategies.
The Waste Reduction Strategies Requested by the Four Environmental Groups
To fully implement municipal solid waste (MSW) charging scheme before or by 2016 – and regularly review charge rates – to meet the Action Blueprint 40% waste reduction target by 2022. It must carry out the pilot MSW charging programme as soon as possible to prepare for full-scale implementation;
Set a clear time table – to gradually expand the producer responsibility scheme to include packaging material, Tetra Pak cartons, rubber tires, lumber, and all types of batteries before or by 2018;
To immediately start reviewing the construction waste disposal charging scheme by raising the charge rates and improving the trip-ticket system, through the use of an online real-time barcode process, to instantaneously confirm construction waste has reached the landfill or public fill to reduce illegal landfill dumping. This should be accompanied by increasing the penalty to serve as a deterrent;
To make sure sorted recyclables do not end up in landfills, and to the end, develop the industry chain for local environmental sector, announce the details for the Recycling Fund before applying for funding for the landfills and incinerator, and create long-term, comprehensive support programs for the recycling industry before or by 2018;
To implement a landfill ban – to restrict food waste, glass, paper, plastic and other recyclables from being sent to landfills before or by 2022;
To separate landfill expansion by phases – progress on the implementation of the Action Blueprint and effectiveness of waste reduction is reviewed annually and publicised. If the results are insignificant, it cannot continue its expansion.
The groups used giant chimney model urging government to put in sufficient effort in waste reduction at source