We are the world's largest garbage producer (1)

Here is one thing for which Hong Kong tops the world, but it is not something we should be proud of. We are the world's largest garbage producer.

According to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the area produced 2,026 lbs of solid waste per capita last year, the largest amount in the world. That is more than twice as much garbage as the people in Japan (904 lbs) and Korea (838 lbs) produced.
For the whole 2009, the "Fragrant Harbour" generated 6.34 million tons of garbage. That is nearly 17,000 tons per day - enough to fill 340 double-decker buses.

So what are the solutions? We have been dumping the garbage to the landfills, but these sites are filling up fast and are expected to be at full capacity in five years.

We have been recycling. The city's recycling programme, which was introduced in 1998, recovers half of the plastic, metal and paper waste generated.

Green activists have been pushing for imposing a fee on landfill waste, but their efforts have been fruitless so far. "It is unlikely the government would set the charge too high," said Dr. Chung Shan-shan, a waste management specialist with Baptist University. "But a low charge - which could just mean one or two dollars per day per person - is not at all a strong disincentive for creating waste."

The big question remains why the people in this tiny city produce so much garbage in the first place. Our affluence does not entitle us to be so wasteful. As citizens in the global village, we have the responsibility to keep the planet in good order, not only for ourselves but also for the generations to come.

Just because we have the means to spend doesn't mean we have to splash out irresponsibly and in so doing deplete resources and produce garbage.

No comments: