Author: Li Man Fong
Hong Kong is regarded as one of the most fast-paced cities in the world. Due to fact that people do not have concepts of being environmentally friendly and there are not efficient and effective recycling policies in Hong Kong, the amount of waste dumped by people has been increasing and the landfills are going to be saturated soon. This rubbish problem has raised public awareness. Despite the gravity of rubbish problem, there are many ways to cope with it.
Hong Kong is a city of hustle and bustle, so most of the citizens are busy. As a consequence, they do not have the ideology of 4Rs: Reusing, Recycling, Replacing and Reducing. Most people over-consume and they do not think twice before buying something, so they may find things unnecessary after bringing them home. With the rising living standard, Hongkongers do take everything for granted; consequently, they do not treasure or reuse those resources. For the sake of convenience, they dump all sorts of rubbish, including items that can be recycled and reused. For instance, some discarded electronic appliances can still function well. They do not recycle them or donate them. In addition, most of the Hongkongers use a vast amount of disposable plastic bags and tableware for convenience in their daily fife. These behaviors tremendously increase the amount of garbage. Consequently, the rate at which landfills are going to be saturated is expedited.
Another reason for rubbish problem in Hong Kong is the inefficient and ineffective recycling policies.
The number of rubbish bins is much larger than that of recycling bins. This leads to difficulties of recycling. For convenience’s sake, Hongkongers are indiscriminately dumping all kinds of rubbish. Moreover, there is not sufficient education to arouse people’s environmental awareness. For instance, there is only an advertisement to promote the concept of 4Rs, but that cannot effectively boost people’s environmental awareness. Since people are not well-educated, they do not have the ideology of going green. As a result, they generate such a large amount of waste every day that landfills are becoming saturated soon. If both the government and citizens can work together, this problem can be alleviated.
The Hong Kong government can implement more efficient and effective recycling policies. The first step is to decrease the number of rubbish bins whereas the number of recycling bins should be increased so that people can easily and conveniently recycle things. Moreover, the Hong Kong government can set up laws that impose limitation and levy taxation on waste so that people’s inclination to dispose of waste can be reduced. Also, charges on factories and restaurants can act as a deterrent to decrease the amount of waste generated. The last step for the Hong Kong government to take is to impose environmental education especially for primary and secondary students. The Environmental Protection Department can hold talks and seminars for them regularly so that their environmental awareness can be aroused. Their environmental awareness can be built up at a tender age. This will reduce the amount of waste dumped and slow down the landfills’ saturation.
It has been argued that the effectiveness of coping with trash problem totally depends on Hongkongers’ initiative but not on the government’s measures, so introducing more recycling policy will not work. This stance fails to recognize the responsibility of government’s adequate and suitable policy. In fact, should the government not propose effective measures to arouse public awareness, Hongkongers will not recognize how serious the problem is and will not take any practical action, such as reducing the purchase of things not necessary. Ultimately, the Hong Kong government bears a far bigger responsibility than individuals.
Despite the fact that the trash problem is very serious, it can be solved by implementing more efficient and effective recycling policy. It is hoped that the Hong Kong government and Hongkongers make a joint effort to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfills and thus alleviate the trash problem.