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Waste plan must include recycling

South China Morning Post – 20 Jan 2012

I have been very disappointed to learn about the government’s proposal to charge for solid waste.

This is not because I do not support efforts to reduce the volumes of waste generated in Hong Kong. However, the government is once again proposing a short-sighted solution to what is a pressing problem.

Most countries which have introduced this kind of waste-charge system have made it part of an integrated package, with a good recycling system and facilities which enable the public to distinguish between different kinds of waste. Also, regular and convenient collection methods are provided.

This is not the case in Hong Kong. I still cannot find a place to leave empty glass bottles for recycling. I have no choice but to throw them in the rubbish bin.

How can the government simply introduce a waste charge for the public without ensuring there is a comprehensive recycling network?

It is acting with indecent haste and I wonder if it has considered the possible consequences of its actions.

Some Hong Kong citizens, in order to avoid paying the waste charges, might just leave rubbish on the streets. Imagine the manpower and other resources that would be required to clean up this mess. And what sort of impression would this give to our visitors?

Some households might even accumulate rubbish at home rather than pay the charge.

If that happens, I dread to think what conditions will be like in some of the tiny flats we have in Hong Kong. It could also lead to domestic problems.

It is important to promote the need for us to have simpler lifestyles and recycle, not to reduce waste by charging.

I wish to stress again that without a good recycling system, this charging policy is bound to fail.

It will leave the public feeling discontented with the new policy and only cause grievances.

I hope the administration will shift its focus and come up with policies that have long-term benefits for society.

C. C. Chan, Hung Hom

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