H.K. launches plan to tackle waste crisis

AFP-JIJI

Hong Kong on Monday launched a 10-year plan to reduce waste by 40 percent per person to catch up with other leading Asian cities and avert a looming environmental crisis.

With a population of more than 7 million, the city currently sends 1.27 kg per person per day to three huge outdoor landfill sites that are set to reach capacity by 2020.

A government document proposes reaching the reduction target by expanding recycling, levying duties on household garbage and improving waste-related infrastructure.

It also mooted the possibility of building incinerators and extending existing landfill sites.

“To face the challenges of the waste issue fundamentally, we need the joint efforts of the entire community to embrace an environmentally sustainable culture in daily life,” the city’s environmental minister, Wong Kam-sing, told reporters.

The government hopes to recycle 55 percent of the city’s waste, incinerate 23 percent and place 22 percent in landfills by 2022. In 2011, 52 percent of waste was put into landfills and 48 percent recycled.

But the proposal to build an incinerator is unpopular with residents and some environmentalists.

Hong Kong’s generation of waste per person is higher than other large Asian cities, including the Tokyo metropolitan area and Seoul, which generate only 0.77 kg and 0.95 kg of daily waste per person, according to the document.