Email this article
Transcript of remarks by SEN (English only)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, on the waste diversion plan and municipal solid waste charging after the Tai Po District Council meeting today (November 7):

Reporter: Can I just ask about the (refuse) transfer stations' fees? You obviously are trying to allow the (refuse) transfer stations to admit private companies' rubbish, but there are concerns from the trade that they hope the charges can be lowered. Is there any room on the Government's part to lower the charges?

Secretary for the Environment: The charge has been lowered to increase the incentive for them to better utilise the existing refuse transfer stations (RTS). I think we can keep the dialogue with the trade, so that we can understand their concern more, and then they can understand our policy. In fact, the lowering of the RTS fee would benefit some other trade operators, especially those who had been using the stations in the past. So, I think we have to strike a balance among all these concerns.

Reporter: There are also some legislators who are concerned that you are spreading the municipal solid waste away from the Tseung Kwan O landfill. You are expanding or allowing garbage from different areas of Hong Kong towards Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling landfills. The legislators are concerned that the rubbish, the bad smell and bad odour will spread across Hong Kong. How can the Government deal with that?

Secretary for the Environment: I think the concern should not be over-exaggerated. Firstly, we are going to subsidise the upgrading of existing private refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), so that the hygienic transportation of municipal solid waste would be enhanced very soon. That would benefit not only those living near the landfills, but also all the people in Hong Kong. At the same time, as said earlier, we will review the fee of the (refuse) transfer stations, so that the diversion of waste would be in a more systematic way and the stations' capacity can be optimised for use. While we are going to divert the municipal solid waste away from the Tseung Kwan O landfill, we would use the upgraded RCVs and also maximise the use of sea routes for transportation, so that the nuisance or the concerned impact to Hong Kong's territory will be minimal.

Reporter: About another topic. You are obviously proposing to collect waste charges for families. Is there any idea what exactly the level we are looking at? Are we talking about $30 a month, $40 a month, or what sort of figure we have now?

Secretary for the Environment: Your point is about the quantity-based waste charging. I would like to say that it would help to reduce the overall quantity of MSW (municipal solid waste) in Hong Kong, so that it would help to reduce the RCVs' induced traffic in the long term and would also further make Hong Kong's overall hygiene condition better. Back to your question is that the Council for Sustainable Development (SDC) is carrying out a four-month public engagement process. The process is to collect views, including yours, i.e. how much charge for an average household could be conducive to behavioural change. The essence is not about how much the Government wants to charge, but we are going to engage the public to collect views about what would be the appropriate level that would be best conducive to behavioural change in Hong Kong. To add a point, it is not to recover the waste-related costs charged by the Government. It is really to talk about behavioural change through this kind of fee-related mechanism.

Reporter: So there is no level exactly that the Government have in mind? Is there any level?

Secretary for the Environment: The Government is open-minded about this, but we would like to encourage the public to seize this opportunity to voice out their opinions through the SDC.

Ends/Thursday, November 7, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:41


Print this page