Au­thor­i­ties act against pa­per pile-up

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By SYLVIA CHANG and MIRIAM ZHANG in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at sylvia@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The Hong Kong gov­ern­ment for­mu­lated a con­tin­gency plan to deal with pa­per and card­board waste on Fri­day af­ter sev­eral of the city’s re­cy­clers de­cided to sus­pend waste-pa­per col­lec­tion for a week.

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment and Food and En­vi­ron­men­tal Hygiene De­part­ment will en­hance street clean­ing and col­lec­tion ser­vices to al­le­vi­ate the pil­ing up of waste pa­per on streets af­ter the sus­pen­sion be­gan on Fri­day, Sec­re­tary for the En­vi­ron­ment Wong Kam-sing said.

Wong called on the pub­lic to sep­a­rate re­cy­clables at source and store up waste pa­per if the sit­u­a­tion per­mits. Once the stor­age reaches a con­sid­er­able amount the pub­lic can send them to the four Com­mu­nity Green Sta­tions and 18 Com­mu­nity Re­cy­cling Cen­ters for col­lec­tion.

The FEHD will pro­vide ad­di­tional re­cy­cling bins out­side refuse col­lec­tion points and fol­low up with col­lect­ing and re­cy­cling ser­vices of the sorted waste pa­per in large quan­ti­ties. The Eco­Park in Tuen Mun has 3 hectares re­served for tem­po­rary stor­age.

Most of Hong Kong’s raw waste pa­per goes to the Chi­nese main­land as the city lacks sort­ing and pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity. Main­land au­thor­i­ties have how­ever an­nounced that they will tighten im­port re­quire­ments on 24 types of solid waste from over­seas, to be en­forced by the end of this year.

Some re­cy­clers said their main­land part­ners had not re­ceived ship­ment ap­provals is­sued by au­thor­i­ties for new or­ders from Hong Kong.

“It is a chal­lenge for Hong Kong. It’s a cri­sis, but at the same time, an op­por­tu­nity for Hong Kong to re­shape our re­cy­cling in­dus­try and also the gov­ern­ment pol­icy,” said Jonathan Wong Woon-chung, pro­fes­sor at the De­part­ment of Bi­ol­ogy at Hong Kong Bap­tist Uni­ver­sity.

Jacky Lau Yiu-shing, di­rec­tor of the Hong Kong Re­cy­cle Ma­te­ri­als and Re­pro­duc­tion Busi­ness Gen­eral As­so­ci­a­tion, es­ti­mated the in­dus­try may face se­ri­ous set­backs and fi­nan­cial loss if the main­land re­stric­tions come into force.

He an­nounced the halt of waste-pa­per col­lec­tion on Fri­day morn­ing, call­ing for at­ten­tion from the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment to find so­lu­tions and pro­vide sup­port for the busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion in the long run.

Not all re­cy­clers share Lau’s gloomy out­look. Al­lan Wong, a lo­cal re­cy­cler of plas­tic and pa­per waste, doubts the mo­tive of the busi­ness sus­pen­sion Lau an­nounced. Some ex­porters may be at­tempt­ing to bring down the re­cy­cling costs they pay, by fu­el­ing pub­lic un­cer­tainty about the fu­ture of the in­dus­try, he sus­pected.

He said he will keep col­lect­ing and ex­plore mar­kets in South­east Asia.

En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Wong said the SAR gov­ern­ment will keep close con­tact with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and rel­e­vant de­part­ments in Guang­dong prov­ince for so­lu­tions.

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

Pa­per and card­board pile high at Ram­bler Chan­nel Pub­lic Cargo Work­ing Area in Kwai Chung on Fri­day as re­cy­clers sus­pended waste-pa­per col­lec­tion af­ter main­land au­thor­i­ties moved to tighten re­stric­tions on waste im­ports.

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