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Navigating Hong Kong’s Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Charging Scheme: A Call to Action

As the total quantity of Municipal Solid Waste in Hong Kong has shown a significant increase from about 4,000 tonnes in 2020 to 20,000 in 2022 (The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2023), the government of Hong Kong is going to implement a Municipal Solid Waste Charging scheme that covers both domestic and commercial/industrial waste on August 2024. Regarding this, the Network of Environment Student Societies conducted an exclusive interview with the Greener Action and A Plastic Ocean Foundation separately to hear their opinions and insights as civil representatives and delve into this scheme, its impact, and the road ahead.


The MSW Charging Scheme: Importance of Implementing The Law

As someone passionate about the environment and sustainability, both Greener Action and Plastic Ocean Foundation representatives mentioned that attaching a price tag to waste generation will improve people’s awareness of recycling and reducing plastic and other solid waste. 


The Perk of MSW Successful Implementation

The true perk of the implementation will be shown by successfully implementing this scheme. 

  • Revenue for sustainability. As mentioned by the representative of Greener Action, the fees collected contribute to waste reduction initiatives, recycling programs, and education, which will benefit both the environment and society.

  • Advantage for people’s awareness. As citizens will be charged for using designated or labeled plastic bags, they must choose to produce more MSW since they need to pay more. This will make people more aware of their Municipal Solid Waste daily.


The Advantages of MSW Implementation: Each Representative's Special Perspective

  • Greener Action. The MSW charging scheme offers universities a valuable advantage by enabling the sustainability team to collect data on waste production. Moreover, universities can enhance their sustainable practices by analyzing the data collected. Additionally, encouraging individuals in dormitories to purchase their own designated MSW bag fosters awareness and promotes urgency in waste reduction.

  • A Plastic Ocean Foundation. This scheme will bring a positive benefit to the environment. Implementing this scheme will lead to the reduction of plastic usage along with a decrease in plastic pollution, which threatens our oceans, food chain, and human health.


The Corner Stone of Success: Advice for Improvements

Both representatives believe the law is well designed where no follow-up law is needed as it will bring abundant benefits. However, they believe that it is crucial to enhance the communication strategies as message matters and infrastructure, which includes:

  1. Facility Expansion:

    1. Invest more in facilities that facilitate waste separation, for instance, in public spaces such as restaurants, companies, and universities,

    2. Increase the number of public collection points as accessibility matters and encourage the responsibility of disposal,

    3. Design waste collection points with unique distinctions for those with visual impairments to improve accessibility for everyone.

  2. Education and Clear Explanations: Briefly introduce and explain in more detail how the MSW charging works, why it matters and the reasoning behind the implementation, the scheme's mechanism, and how individuals will be charged.

The Involvement of Each Representative’s Organization

Both representatives believe the scheme will have a beautiful outcome if all stakeholders work hand-in-hand throughout the scheme's preparation and implementation. Therefore, they have conducted several actions to raise awareness.

  • Greener Action: Survey restaurants better to understand their concern about the MSW charging scheme, donate to reduce food waste in the market, and distribute the revenue to needy people and others.

  • A Plastic Ocean Foundation: Establish a blue ocean school network, training students to be ambassadors to reduce waste in school/community, shows and seminars about minimizing waste and SDG, and others


Conclusion: Our Shared Responsibility 

The MSW charging scheme isn’t just a policy. It’s about the mindset shift towards a greener living for our environment and minimizing waste production. Although the MSW scheme is well designed and requires no follow-up law, improving communication strategies and infrastructure will help successfully implement the law. Every societal element should collaborate to reduce Municipal Solid Waste and advocate a sustainable Hong Kong 🌿🌏.


Reference

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. (2023, December 22). Waste statistics for 2022 published. Retrieved March 22, 2024, from https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202312/22/P2023122200276.htm#:~:text=The%20quantity%20of%20waste%20recovered,2%20per%20cent%20from%202021



金華冰廳

























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