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All HK Sectors Seek Measures to Avoid Waste

At the current rate of municipal solid waste being produced from households, offices and other commercial and industrial premises, Hong Kong will be running out of landfill space in six to ten years.


Recognizing this pressing technical, social and political issue in Hong Kong, experts from the government, civil society and industry Wednesday participated in the second Enviro Series conference - Sustainable Waste Management: Policy, Partnership and Prospects to debate and share views.


The Business Environment Council (BEC), the organizer of the conference, said that in planning this conference the sense of urgency has been clear.


"We are all important actors in the required waste management transformation, it is important to educate the community to accept the realities that we must all take greater responsibility and stronger measures to avoid waste," said Andrew Long, chairman of BEC.


"We are now considering appropriate technologies for the development of large-scale waste treatment facilities to reduce the volume of non-recyclable waste and also developing our proposals on other initiatives such as Product Responsibility Schemes," stated KK Kwok of the Hong Kong government's Environmental Protection Department, "Waste prevention and recycling have been and will continue to be our focus."


Government will address the non-recyclable waste issue in the findings of its study on integrated waste management facilities. "It is important for the community to draw up a comprehensive plan now to set out action to achieve sustainable management of municipal solid waste" said Raymond Fan, deputy director of Environment Protection Department.


The government is working towards publishing a policy document later this year on this matter.


Urged by the Council for Sustainable Development, the government is pressing ahead to meet the targets set by the Council based on the discussions that took place in a series of stakeholder engagement workshops last year, according to Albert Lai, chairman of the People's Council for Sustainable Development, who was directly involved in running the workshops and developing the targets.


Business responded, with the plea for "a new generation of ' sustainable' legislation, economic incentives, robust, proven technologies and positive, waste management partnerships that will sustainable benefit Hong Kong's economy, society and environment." The views of business were reflected by James Graham, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce's Environment Committee Chairman.


Other speakers from the industry also expressed their ideas on public private partnerships and industry-led initiatives on solid waste management, and working with government on projects such as the Eco-park, which will benefit the recycling industry.


(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2005)

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