Transcript of opening remarks by SEN at media session


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is the transcript of opening remarks by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, on the implementation arrangements for municipal solid waste (MSW) charging at a media session at Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (March 20):

Introduction of the Bill to LegCo

     The successful experiences of our neighbouring cities revealed that the implementation of quantity-based municipal solid waste charging can effectively bring about behavioural change to waste reduction. Based on the implementation framework recommended by the Council for Sustainable Development after its public engagement exercise earlier on waste charging, the Government plans to introduce a bill on the MSW charging scheme to the LegCo in the second quarter of this year, 2017. Taking into account the time required for the scrutiny of the bill and a preparatory period of 12 to 18 months after the passage of the legislation, it is expected that the waste charging would be implemented in the second half of 2019 at the earliest.

Charging mode

     On the proposed charging mechanisms, two charging modes will be adopted, namely charging "by bags" and charging "by weight".

The charging "by bags" arrangement will apply to premises using the refuse collection services provided by the FEHD, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Charging will be based on the sizes of the pre-paid designated garbage bags following the "polluter pays" principle. Most of the residential premises, street shops and institutions will adopt this charging mode.

     The charging "by weight" arrangement will apply to premises which hire private waste collectors to directly dispose of waste at landfills or refuse transfer stations.

Charging will be based on the weight of waste disposed. Commercial and industrial premises and residential premises not using the FEHD's waste collection services will adopt this charging mode.

Charging level

     On charging level for the "by bags" arrangement, we propose to set the per-litre charge for designated garbage bags at 11 cents in the first three years of implementation. If a three-member household uses a 15-litre designated garbage bag, i.e.

the bag I've just shown, for daily waste disposal, it will have to pay about $1.7 per day. If a smaller volume of 10-litre designated garbage bag is used, it will have to pay $1.1 instead. Dump less, and save more. For oversized waste which cannot be properly wrapped into a 100-litre designated garbage bag, they will be charged through pre-paid oversized waste labels at a uniform level of $11 per piece.

     For the "by weight" arrangement, the "gate fee" for MSW disposed of at landfills and refuse transfer stations would be charged at $365 per tonne.

The MSW disposed of at the four urban refuse transfer stations and the North West New Territories Transfer Station would be charged at $395 per tonne.

Enforcement

     On enforcement, the frontline staff of the FEHD will conduct visual screening at the waste reception points to see if the waste handed over to them has been properly wrapped in designated garbage bags or attached with oversized waste labels, and will reject any non-compliant waste. Fixed penalty tickets at $1,500 each will be issued to offenders intercepted on the spot, and prosecution by way of summons will also be taken against serious and repeat offenders.

     Making reference to the Plastic Shopping Bags Charging, we will put in place a six-month phasing-in period after the commencement of the MSW charging. Warnings will be issued in non-compliant cases and enforcement actions would be taken in serious cases, for instance, if the offender repeatedly contravenes the law despite warnings given.

Publicity and education

     We will publicise to different sectors and stakeholders details of the charging scheme through a wide range of public education and publicity activities. The slogan will be "Dump less, Save more".

Recycling and waste reduction support

     To complement the introduction of MSW charging, the Government would incrementally enhance the support for waste reduction and clean recycling.

This includes providing more recycling bins to residential and commercial and industrial premises, adjusting the ratio of recycling bins in public places and extending our Community Green Stations network.

Conclusion

     We need the support of the entire community for the successful implementation of MSW charging. It would make Hong Kong greener and more sustainable. Let us reduce waste at source, "Dump Less, Save More".

     Thank you.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the opening remarks.)



Published on: 2017-03-20

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