Hong Kong’s waste management lags behind other developed Asian cities

Hong Kong is facing a waste crisis.

Landfills in the city of 7 million people are nearly full. Volume of waste has risen for a fifth straight year.

Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei—each generates about half of Hong Kong’s waste. This is due to clean policies that encourage recycling.

Hong Kong’s density and exorbitant land prices slow recycling efforts. Operators are reluctant to earmark sites for recycling facilities, say environmentalists.

The city’s three landfills are expected to reach full capacity in two years.

“At the time, there were relatively few people living near these three corners that the government had identified to build giant landfills. But as the years have gone by, we are running out of space, and in some areas people are moving closer and closer to the landfills. And also, we can’t really extend them very much more. So we need to have a completely different system,” said Christine Loh, Hong Kong Undersecretary for the Environment.  

The government is looking for solutions.

It has promised new infrastructure, including a multibillion dollar incinerator. The city is also considering a waste-charging scheme.

“The economic tool—to get people to understand they are going to have to pay as they throw—is very powerful,” said Loh.

Hong Kong’s coastline also sees waste from mainland China, where companies discharge waste into the sea to save the cost of proper disposal.

Waste management had been a low priority since Hong Kong was handed over to China 20 years ago.

“The government has been extremely slow since the handover. They have been preoccupied with political reform, constitutional development, and they have kind of ignored a lot of the mundane issues of running a city smartly,” said Paul Zimmerman, local district councilor and environmentalist.  

 
 
 

North Korea to Stop Nuclear Tests, Abolish Test Site Ahead of Trump Summit

North Korea to Stop Nuclear Tests, Abolish Test Site Ahead of Trump Summit
SEOUL—North Korea will suspend nuclear and missile tests effective immediately and abolish a nuclear test site in the ...
READ MORE >
 

Comey Memos Discredit Narrative That Trump Obstructed Russia Probe

Comey Memos Discredit Narrative That Trump Obstructed Russia Probe
Memos written by former FBI Director James Comey show that President Donald Trump did not interfere with the ...
READ MORE >
 

Giuliani Joins Trump’s Legal Team, Expects to End Russia Probe Within 2 Weeks

Giuliani Joins Trump’s Legal Team, Expects to End Russia Probe Within 2 Weeks
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said that he will join President Donald Trump's legal team and ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Pentagon: Man Linked to 9/11 Attacks on US Captured in Syria

Pentagon: Man Linked to 9/11 Attacks on US Captured in Syria
WASHINGTON–A man linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, who was said to have ...
READ MORE >