High time to pass waste charging bill, lawmakers told - RTHK
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High time to pass waste charging bill, lawmakers told

2021-05-20 HKT 16:07
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  • Civic Exchange is urging lawmakers to pass a waste-charging bill within this term of Legco. Photo: RTHK
    Civic Exchange is urging lawmakers to pass a waste-charging bill within this term of Legco. Photo: RTHK
A public policy think tank on Thursday called on lawmakers to end the city’s two-decade long wait for a waste charging scheme, saying there is wide public support for the idea of paying for the amount of rubbish one throws away.

The Civic Exchange think tank said two thirds of the 1,000 people they surveyed back the idea. A Legislative Council bills committee is currently scrutinising the matter.

"A very strong support expressed by the public should encourage legislators and politicians to not be afraid to put the extra charge on the community, because the community is ready," said board member Paul Zimmerman, who is also a district councillor.

"It's time to do it, and not to delay it. The community wants it, the politicians should follow."

Under the government’s proposal, Hong Kong residents will need to use pre-paid, designated garbage bags – the price of which will be set at 11 cents per litre.

The administration estimates that most households will pay between HK$1 and HK$2 a day to dispose of their rubbish.

Lawrence Iu, research project lead with Civic Exchange, estimated this cost per household is cheaper than what taxpayers already shell out to have their rubbish dealt with.

"It's not free,” he said, estimating households already spend HK$2.50 a day to have their waste disposed of. “The transportation [alone] of our waste from our home to the landfill already costs a lot.”

He said their survey also suggests that the government can still do more to explain what the “polluter pays” principle is, pointing out that even more respondents – 88 percent – were supportive of the concepts of reducing waste at source and recycling.

Iu also warned that a failure to pass the waste charging bill within this term of Legco will be a great setback to the city’s hopes of reducing the amount of rubbish each household throws away, predicting it will take at least another few years before the bill is ready to be voted on again.