Published: 21:09, May 29, 2024 | Updated: 21:12, May 29, 2024
HK mulls collaborative waste management with other GBA cities
By Wu Kunling in Hong Kong
Cleaning workers lift household waste onto a truck at the Lockhart Road Refuse Collection Point in Wan Chai, Hong Kong on May 27, 2024. (ADAM LAM / CHINA DAILY)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is exploring collaboration on waste management with other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, including exporting waste to Guangdong province for incineration, the city’s environment chief revealed on Wednesday.

After the city shelved its plan to introduce citywide waste charging in August, Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan reaffirmed the authorities’ resolve to waste management on a radio program.

READ MORE: HK shelves waste-charging program for further optimization

Tse said the SAR government is discussing with other GBA cities whether to build an integrated waste managing system, and one focus of the potential collaboration is to use waste treatment facilities on the Chinese mainland to deal with Hong Kong’s waste, which, Tse believes, would be more cost-effective.

Tse Chin-wan said there is great potential for Hong Kong and the mainland to work together on resource recycling and other green industries

Hong Kong transports about 1,000 to 2,000 metric tons of disposed paper to mills on the mainland each day for pulping and reproduction, which is a good example of collaboration, he said.

Hong Kong has the capital and a market for selling recycled products, while the mainland has places and manpower for processing waste, Tse said, adding that there is great potential for the two places to work together on resource recycling and other green industries.

The vision is to build a waste-free Bay Area in the long run, Tse added.

Tse said the government is considering transporting some waste to other GBA cities for incineration. The residue of burnt waste can be used to produce construction materials such as cement. Completing the process of incineration and reproduction on the mainland will help cut the cost, he said.

In addition, he said that Hong Kong will accelerate the construction of its own incineration plants.

The city’s first waste-to-energy incineration plant, located on the artificial island next to Shek Kwu Chau, is expected to be operational next year, Tse noted, adding that the government will propose the building of a second incineration facility in Tuen Mun next month.

When the two plants are complete, their waste handling capacities will surpass that of the North East New Territories Landfill in Ta Kwu Ling, a site that takes in about 6,800 metric tons of urban solid waste every day, the environment chief said.

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Tse said the government is looking for a site in the Northern Metropolis on which to build a third incineration plant, adding that if all three plants are operational, the city will be able to shut down all landfill sites.

Lau Kwok-fan, chairman of the Legislative Council's Panel on Environmental Affairs, said it takes time to build incinerators or establish collaborative mechanisms with mainland cities, and therefore the SAR government needs to promote waste reduction policies in the short term.

Contact the writer at amberwu@chinadailyhk.com