Hong Kong unveils 10-year waste management plan

Updated: 2013-05-20 23:25


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HONG KONG - The Hong Kong city government unveiled a 10-year management plan to tackle its waste crisis on Monday, in which it admitted that Hong Kong needs to make more efforts so as to catch up with the best-in-class places such as Taipei and South Korean cities.

The plan -- The Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 - analyzes the challenges and opportunities for waste management in Hong Kong, and maps out strategies, targets, policies and action plans.

Hong Kong's daily per capita domestic waste generation rate is high when compared to cities in Asia at stages of economic development similar to ours, according to the blueprint.

"Hong Kong needs to catch up with the best-in-class cities although we have a way to go. Our job is to set Hong Kong and our citizens on that path now so that by 2022, the targets we have set in the Action Blueprint can be met."

Speaking at a press conference, Secretary for the Environment of the Hong Kong government K S Wong said the plan will reduce the per capita municipal solid waste disposal rate by 40 percent to 0.8 kg by 2022. The rate was 1.27 kg per day in 2011, and the target for 2017 is one kg.

"This is an ambitious target but it is also practical. The key to success lies in motivation," he said.

Wong said a joint effort by the entire community will be needed to embrace an environmentally sustainable culture and waste less of the Earth's resources.

The blueprint proposes policies and actions in three areas. Policy and legislation, including municipal solid waste charges and producer responsibility schemes, aim to drive behavioral change to reduce waste at source.

City-wide campaigns, such as the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign launched last Saturday, will discourage food waste and encourage recycling.

Waste-related infrastructure, including organic waste treatment facilities, waste-to-energy integrated waste management facilities and landfill extensions, will be enhanced.

The blueprint also aims for a more balanced structure for waste management, as opposed to the current practice of relying solely on landfills.

"We will encourage the public to reuse and recycle. Unavoidable waste will be turned into energy by modern technology while disposal at landfills will be the last resort," Wong said.

The Hong Kong government expects that by 2022, waste recycling, modern incineration and landfill disposal in Hong Kong will account for 55 percent, 23 percent and 22 percent of waste management respectively, more closely matching the allocation structure widely adopted in advanced economies, he said.