New guidelines aim to cut the amount of garbage generated at the many special events in Hong Kong, part of a wider plan to reduce the massive amount of trash the city generates.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Business Environment Council (BEC) released new guidelines on waste reduction for major community events on Monday.
“Waste reduction at the source is of the utmost importance in tackling Hong Kong’s waste. The Government will implement municipal solid waste charging across all sectors to promote waste reduction, and the community should prepare for the implementation of charging as soon as possible,” said Wong Kam-sing, the Secretary for the Environment.
The new guidelines also include suggestions for event organisers, such as replacing paper invitations with electronic ones, providing buckets to drain bottles of liquid before disposal into recycling bins and reusing or donating leftover supplies from after careful sorting.
The new guidelines will be tested in eight of the city’s largest events, including the Brands and Products Expo Fair, the Lunar New Year Fair at Victoria Park, the Flower Show, the New World Harbour Race, the Standard Chartered Marathon, the Wine and Dine Festival, the Hong Kong Sevens and the Tai Kok Tsui Temple Fair.
In 2015, the city produced 3.7 million tons of municipal waste, according to government statistics. There is little chance that Hong Kong will meet the target set out by the government in the “Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013 – 2022”.
The aim of the plan is to reduce the per capita disposal rate of municipal solid waste by 40 percent by 2022.
Hong Kong is home to a variety of exhibitions, expos, games and shows and such events have become a major source of waste.
The use of excessive amounts of single-use objects such as plastic cups and plates along with weak sorting and recycling practices, such as disposing without cleaning, result in far too much waste generated at these events.
Under a new scheme that will including paying for waste and will take effect in 2019, a charge ranging from HK$365 to HK$395 will be levied on each ton of wasted collected at these events.
The secretary of EPD called on more event organizers to follow the new guidelines.
“It is the responsibility of every one of us to cherish our resources… By doing so, it will help establish a green image for the event and enhance people’s sense of participation,” said Wong.
And yet, the guidelines remain purely voluntary and there is not specific target fo the scheme.
Green Earth spokesperson Chu Hon-keung welcomed the guidance but expressed concerns over compliance.
“The government should take a more aggressive approach facing the serious pollution and waste challenge in the city,” said Chu.
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