HK landfills full in 4-8 years

HONG KONG, February 27 — Hong Kong has a “serious and imminent” solid waste problem, according to Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Dr Sarah Liao. “Unless we take decisive and immediate measures to reduce our waste, our landfills will be full within 4 to 8 years,” she told members of Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents Club at a lunch yesterday.

“The result of the source separation of domestic waste programme launched in January 2005 has been encouraging,” she said. As at January 2007, 504 housing estates with almost 700 000 households and over 2 million residents signed up for the programme. Out of these estates, 215 have floor-to-floor mode of waste separation, while the remaining have waste separation facilities on ground floor.

For those estates that have floor-to-floor facilities, the recyclables collected have increased by 56%.

For housing estates that only have ground floor separation facilities, there have also been a 36% increase in recyclables collected, according to Liao.

But more is needed to avoid a solid waste catastrophe. “In addition to source separation, we need to establish a circular economy in Hong Kong that turns our waste into useful products so that they can be channelled back into our economic chain,” she said, detailing plans for a 20-hectare EcoPark in Tuen Mun.

“The EcoPark aims to provide long-term land at affordable costs for recycling and environmental industries with a view to encouraging investment in advanced environmental technologies,” she said.

The EcoPark will be developed in two phases. Tenancies of the first batch of Phase I lots will be awarded in the first half of 2007, and the tenants concerned are expected to start operation in early 2008.

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