Hong Kong has an imminent waste problem. At present, we rely
solely on our landfills to dispose of our waste. Although
we are recovering 40% of our waste for recycling, our landfills
will be full in 6 to 10 years if we do not substantially reduce
the generation of waste and cut down the amount of waste we
send to the landfills.
The Government Acts
We must address the waste problem in a holistic manner. This
Policy Framework sets out a comprehensive strategy consisting
of a series of tried and proven policy tools and measures to
tackle our waste problem head on and achieve the following targets:
||To reduce the amount
of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in Hong Kong
by 1% per annum up to the year 2014.
||To increase the overall recovery
rate of MSW to 45% by 2009 and 50% by 2014.
||To reduce the total MSW disposed
of in landfills to less than 25% by 2014.
Tackling the Problem at Source
Waste avoidance and minimization are our top priorities.
We introduced a territory-wide waste recovery programme in
January 2005 to facilitate waste separation at the household
level. We aim to expand the scheme to cover 80%
of the population by 2010, and
significantly increase the recovery of our domestic waste.
To make proper use of the recyclables recovered, we must have
a robust recycling industry locally. In addition to the existing
policy of providing land on short-term tenancies, we are setting
up the EcoPark for the recycling industry. The EcoPark will
come into operation in late 2006.
Additionally, we will continue to encourage the development
of recycling technology through the Environment and Conservation
Fund and the Innovation and Technology Fund. In doing so,
we will not only reduce pressure on our waste facilities,
but also conserve resources and jump-start a circular economy.
Throw less, Pay less
The core of our comprehensive strategy is the "polluter-pays"
principle. We propose to introduce producer responsibility
schemes (PRSs) that hold the manufacturers, importers, retailers
and consumers responsible for what they produce and consume.
We aim to introduce to the Legislative Council the Product
Eco-responsibility Bill in 2006
to provide a legal framework for PRSs. With PRSs in place,
we can consider introducing landfill disposal bans so as to
make better use of our landfills as the final repository of
unavoidable and properly treated wastes. We also propose introducing
legislation on waste charging by 2007
as a direct economic incentive to avoid and reduce waste.
While our proposed policy measures would have substantial
impact on waste reduction and recycling, we must face up to
the reality that there will still be unavoidable waste that
we must handle. We propose to develop state-of-the-art Integrated
Waste Management Facilities with incineration as the core
technology for final waste treatment. In developing the Facilities,
we will adopt the most stringent emission standards to minimize
their impact on the environment.
Our comprehensive strategy can only work in partnership with
the public. We urge the community at large to fully support
this Policy Framework.