Discover Hong Kong | Waste disposal needs a common sense solution

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Jamie | Founder of J3 Private Tours Hong Kong | Offering Award Winning Private Tours of Hong Kong

Waste disposal requires a common sense solution here

This is not going to be a lengthy rant - but having lived in Hong Kong since 1972 I have watched with interest on how the Hong Kong Government deals with rubbish disposal and I have always been very proud of the fact that Hong Kong remains one of the cleanest cities in the world which is always noticed by visitors and commented on in very favourable terms.

Unfortunately our standards are slipping and it is because rubbish is now a political issue and the Government is caught up in a battle with Green Activist Groups (over 20) whose well meaning manifesto's should be left in the conference room of their offices.... and yes, I am talking about the political battles over Waste Collection, Landfills, Waste Incinerators and such

Have you ever heard of Jack Ryan? Who you say? Jack Ryan is a fictional character in a series of books by Tom Clancy and he rises from being a trainee agent in the CIA to President of the United States - it is a terrific story arc over 7 or 8 books and Jack Ryan is a rare breed for a Government Employee in so far as he hates politics and his mantra is common sense.

.... and that just about sums me up   common sense

Up until recently Hong Kong had 43,000 rubbish bins on the streets (hence the clean streets) and in urban areas they tended to be bright orange so you could not miss them, in parks and gardens and such they tended to be green, better to blend in.

With so many rubbish bins there was no excuse for people to litter and this is where I will remind you that I am not going to write a lengthy discourse on the Hong Kong Governments Policy on waste disposal which is work in progress and very fluid at the moment, with big changes about to happen.

In the past couple of years, the 20+ Green Activist groups (who naturally have to justify their existence in order to get donations) came up with a raft of totally odd ideas which in my humble opinion defy logic and the worst of it is that the Government Departments in order to show that they are doing something have actually implemented some of these very odd ideas.

Common sense people common sense.

Let's deal with the Country Park's rubbish issue which is highlighted in the article below.... the AFCD actually removed rubbish bins from Country Parks in Hong Kong, the logic of the Green Groups been that it will force people to carry around rubbish / trash and take it home and dispose of it... what a bunch of well meaning oddballs, common sense dictates that human nature dictates that if people cannot find a rubbish bin they will simply throw the rubbish on the ground or into the bushes because no one wants to carry a smelly half eaten lunch box and / or 6 empty water bottles around for half a day

..and so for the past year we have had major issues with rubbish in country parks.

I freely admit that this is a complicated issue, rubbish disposal is not a "sexy subject" but at stake is peoples perception of a clean Hong Kong, the reality of which is changing and for the worse.

So now I will comment on street rubbish which for me is a much bigger issue than rubbish spoiling the pristine country parks - the image below of the orange bin can be seen all over Hong Kong because our friends at the Green Activist groups have been busy there as well - again they managed to persuade the various Government Departments to actually reduce the size of the openings on the rubbish bin, to stop shop owners and the like from putting in large amounts of trash..... again. common sense dictates that people will simply just pile the rubbish next to the rubbish bin which is exactly what happens, they also got the Government to remove ashtrays from the top of the rubbish bins and now people just flick the butts onto the floor.

So essentially, our Government who has shown remarkable common sense in dealing with rubbish over the decades is now pandering to politically motivated, money grabbing Green Activist groups who would not know what common sense was if it was stapled to their foreheads (metaphorically speaking, I mean them no harm!) it makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

My common sense solution is to increase the number of rubbish bins, make the holes wider, put back the ashtrays, increase the rate of rubbish collection from full bins until a smarter / more comprehensive plan can be implemented and stop listening to Green Activist groups who are motivated by politics and money not common sense., it really is time for the Government to think rationally and not be swayed by Facebook and Instagram campaigns where 50,000 people "like" the proposal to remove the rubbish bins from the country parks and streets., human nature is human nature particularly when it comes to rubbish.

Image 1 - Letter to the Editor dated May 21st 2018 from the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's leading English language newspaper.

Some acronyms you need to know:-

  • FEHD - Food and Environmental Hygiene Department

  • LCSD - Leisure and Cultural Services Department

  • AFCD - Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

Image 2 - a typical FEHD rubbish bin overflowing with trash on the streets of Hong Kong

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Image 3 - a typical LCSD rubbish bin, commonly seen in parks and sitting out areas in Hong Kong.

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Image 4 - a banner put up by the AFCD and sponsored by their friends in the Green Activist groups in Hong Kong, the AFCD is / was responsible for rubbish bins in Country Parks which have recently been removed.

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Oh my golly gosh, the simply amazing Pagani Zonda Absolute - this is a custom made car and is rumoured to be the only one of it's kind in the world and it is in Hong Kong!... oh... and yes, this is my picture, talk about being in the right place at the right time.