Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

What a waste: Hong Kong government ‘set to miss targets’ as people dump more rubbish

Green groups fear government waste reduction targets for 2022 could be heading for the bin as new data once again reveals more rubbish was dumped in the city’s landfills last year.

An average of 14,859 tonnes of solid waste was discarded every day last year, an increase of 3.8 per cent from 2013. It was largely driven by a 10 per cent rise in construction waste, the latest Environmental Protection Department statistics show. The 2013 rise was 3.4 per cent.

The department said the figure had “fallen cumulatively” by 9 per cent over the past decade.

The amount of municipal solid waste dumped in landfills increased 2.5 per cent from an average of 9,547 tonnes per day in 2013 to 9,782 tonnes last year.

Municipal solid waste, which is general rubbish from the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors – roughly a third of which is food waste – is the biggest component in the city’s rubbish mix, followed by construction and demolition waste.

This means that on average a person generated 1.35kg of rubbish a day last year compared with 1.33kg in 2013, 1.3kg in 2012 and 1.27kg in 2011.

“The fact that the trend is still upwards is worrying given that the government set targets in 2013 to reduce [per capita municipal solid waste] by 20 per cent by 2017 and 40 per cent by 2022,” said Greeners Action chief Angus Ho Hon-wai. “We are not optimistic that these targets will be met.”

Ho said the only policy that would help lower waste drastically was a municipal solid waste charge. Legislation implementing such a charge was initially slated for next year, but the government has yet to table the relevant legislation.

World Green Organisation senior manager Angus Wong Chun-yin said even if a waste charge system was approved next year, the scheme would not come into full effect until 2018 or 2019 at the earliest.

“Whether or not they can achieve their 2022 waste reduction target depends on whether they can set up a charge by then,” said Wong. “At this point, even meeting their interim 2017 target will be a challenge.”

Wong said one positive sign was that the quantity of food waste was not going up too much. He urged the government to provide more financial support to food recyclers and surplus food collectors.

The recycling rate stood at 37 per cent last year, with the total recovered quantity of recyclable materials rising by 45,000 tonnes over the previous year. More ferrous metals were recovered, but the collection of paper and plastic waste dropped by 87,000 and 144,000 tonnes respectively.

A department spokesman said measures had been introduced to support the recycling industry, including the HK$1 billion Recycling Fund launched earlier this month.

Source URL:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *