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October 19th, 2012:

Waste output drops for the first time in four years

Ada Lee
South China Morning Post
October 18, 2012

The amount of waste produced in Hong Kong dropped 9 per cent last year – the first dip in four years – but the amount of food waste, a key concern for environmentalists, increased.

The biggest drop was in waste for recycling – down 16 per cent – and the average quantity of solid waste disposed of at landfills decreased 2.6 per cent to 13,458 tonnes a day, while construction waste dropped 7 per cent, according to the government.

The reduction of recycling waste was especially obvious in plastics, with a fall of 47 per cent.

Friends of the Earth’s environmental affairs manager Celia Fung Sze-lai attributed this decrease to the gloomy economy in Europe, as recycling companies tended to receive less waste when the prices were depressed.

Fung said yesterday the city was also receiving less plastic waste from overseas to be transferred to other places, such as the mainland. Her group had been told by recycling companies that the recycling price for plastic had dropped from 7,000 yuan a tonne last year to 4,500 yuan recently, due to a smaller demand in the mainland and overseas.

Fung also said the increase in food waste was worrying, and urged the government to come up with comprehensive strategies to recycle it.

Friends of the Earth said the government had revised waste figures for 2007 and 2008. If the original figures were taken into consideration, the decrease in waste production would be the first since 2005.

The government said the amount of construction waste dumped in landfills had dropped by half since charges for dumping construction waste were introduced in 2006.

Fung agreed the scheme was effective and noted that many construction companies now reused construction waste. The public’s sense of environmental issues had also increased, and owners tended to carry out less unnecessary home renovation.

Disposal of domestic waste had also dropped cumulatively by 15 per cent since 2004, the government said.

But Fung said the city’s landfills would soon be full and the government should implement a waste-charging scheme as soon as possible. “Although the amount has dropped, Hong Kong is still producing a lot of waste. It should focus on reducing waste from the source.”

Copyright 2012 South China Morning Post Ltd.All Rights Reserved

South China Morning Post

Smoky old diesels en route to ban

Older diesel vehicles will be banned from Hong Kong roads under a “carrot and stick” plan, environment minister Wong Kam-sing said yesterday.

Winnie Chong and Choya Choy

Friday, October 19, 2012

Older diesel vehicles will be banned from Hong Kong roads under a “carrot and stick” plan, environment minister Wong Kam-sing said yesterday.

Wong’s comments came a day after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government would consider “tighter control over and the eventual phasing out of old buses and commercial vehicles.”

It also came as the roadside air pollution index topped 130 in Central, prompting health warnings for a ninth day running.

Wong noted that the mainland has set a deadline for discontinuing licenses for commercial diesel vehicles that are 15 years old.

“We can have a carrot and stick to guarantee that we would achieve the air quality by a certain time, say we are setting a target for 2015, so that we have to have an effective measure to phase out those old diesel commercial vehicles,” he said.

Wong said 80 percent of roadside air pollution comes from diesel commercial vehicles.

Undersecretary for the Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai said the government is thinking of “specific formulas” for franchised buses, non- franchised buses, school buses, tourist buses and trucks that use diesel.

The proposals could be ready next month, she said, adding that setting age limits for such vehicles will be legislated.

Hong Kong Guangdong Transportation Association secretary Tse Long said the government should cover at least one-third of the cost of upgrading their fleets and pay for the entire cost of discarding the old trucks.

“It should be same as the practice for poultry vendors who surrender their licenses,” he said.

Kowloon Truck Merchants Association chairman Leung Kun-kuen said such a move would force truck drivers out of work and operators to close down as they would not be able to afford HK$700,000 to HK$800,000 to buy new vehicles.

Government figures show there are about 140,000 commercial diesel vehicles, which account for 20 percent of road traffic.

There are more than 30,000 trucks aged 15 years old, comprising about 30 percent of existing trucks.

Friends of the Earth senior environmental affairs manager Melonie Chau Yuet-cheung said: “The measure certainly will help improve the air quality.”

Clean Air Network campaign manager Patrick Fung Kin-wai hoped the government will set a concrete timetable and provide a scrapping incentive for vehicle owners to replace their cars. A truck operators’ alliance will meet officials next week.

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Tough measures considered to get old diesel vehicles off Hong Kong’s roads


Submitted by admin on Oct 19th 2012, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong


Jennifer Ngo

Officials may consider not renewing licences for commercial trucks more than 15 years old that contribute hugely to pollution in the city

The government is considering adopting tough measures to phase out old diesel-powered commercial vehicles to help tackle declining air quality.

Environment secretary Wong Kam-sing said yesterday that the government would consider policies such as those on the mainland of not renewing licences for diesel-powered vehicles more than 15 years old.

About 60,000 Euro I and Euro II emission-standard vehicles, from 12 to 18 years old, are still operating in the city. Euro I emission standards were introduced for buses and truck in 1992. Euro II levels aimed to reduce permitted emissions by up to 30 per cent compared with Euro I. Euro VI will be introduced next year.

“Roadside pollution is most problematic [in Hong Kong],” Wong said. “We need policies to specifically deal with it [if we need to tackle air pollution [as] 80 per cent of pollutants come from old diesel-run vehicles.”

Wong’s comments came after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told the Legislative Council on Wednesday that tackling pollution would be a major concern. Leung also said the government would implement policies to phase out old diesel-run vehicles.

Government reports show that road transport accounted for 286 tonnes of sulphur dioxide emissions in 2010, up from 271 tonnes in 2009.

“We hope to set some timetables and goals,” said Wong, but further communication with the transport industry and Legco would be needed.

Transport unionist and truck driver Stanley Chaing Chi-wai said: “To improve the air quality [in Hong Kong] is not just about tackling transport.

“Right now, if our trucks comply with transport and environmental rules and emissions are below the allowed level, we can continue to drive our vehicles,” said Chaing. Trucks were checked on an annually, he said.

If licences were not renewed for diesel vehicles more than 15 years old, this would contradict existing regulations, he said.

Truck driver Tse Long said: “If [there is a 15-year vehicle age limit for licensing], some people will probably go to court about it.”

Tse said more incentives were needed, not tough measures.

He said a government scheme to subsidise drivers willing to upgrade to a newer truck model offered inadequate funding.

Increasing subsidies would be more effective in getting old diesel trucks off the road, rather than imposing a new licensing regime.

According to the Environmental Protection Department’s latest figures, only 10 per cent of 120,000 commercial diesel vehicles are covered in the subsidy scheme. It only pays for 18 per cent of new vehicles.

In 2010, then acting secretary for the environment Dr Kitty Poon Kit proposed higher fees for older vehicles to get them off the road. But the plan was scrapped.



old diesel vehicles

Wong Kam-sing

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