Published: 12:47, January 23, 2024 | Updated: 15:43, January 23, 2024
CE: Pragmatic approach taken for waste charging
By Wang Zhan

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu speaks to the media ahead of an Executive Council meeting on Jan 23, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has adopted “a pragmatic approach” to address public concern over the Municipal Solid Waste Charging Scheme, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, he said postponing scheme launching day to Aug 1 would allow more time for people across the society to better understand the operational details of the waste charging scheme.

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“The EEB (Environment and Ecology Bureau) has taken a pragmatic approach and used different ways to explain the operation of the scheme. Certain government buildings will start the scheme on a pilot basis and there will be different trials to test the scheme (as well),” he said.

The scheme was a legislative requirement and the government had to ensure a public consensus to implement the scheme, said Lee

The government announced on Friday that it would delay the implementation of the scheme from April 1 until Aug 1, following public confusion over how the scheme will work. 

Stressing that the government had made adjustments and found new solutions after noticing a problem, he pointed out that the scheme was a legislative requirement and the government had to ensure a public consensus to implement the scheme.

“The scheme will affect more than 7 million people … It is a scheme that requires a change in people’s behavior. We try to find solutions when issues pop up,” the CE said.

On Aug 26, 2021, the Legislative Council passed the Waste Disposal (Charging for Municipal Solid Waste) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to implement the solid waste charging in the city in 2024.

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The duties of promoting the scheme not only fell on the EEB, but also the District Councils and the Home Affairs Department, said the CE, adding that the authorities will explain to the public with audiovisual tools apart from textual materials.

Students participate in educational activities on municipal solid waste and refuse charging to understand waste reduction at source and recycling at Yaumatei Kaifong Association School in Hong Kong on Jan 16, 2024. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

The government meanwhile was seeking to establish more recycling points in various venues and the public housing estates were also planning on it, he added.

It was commonly agreed to have a green, hygienic and sustainable environment, Lee said, stressing that the government had long-term goals in waste reduction and recycling to achieve “zero landfill”.