An environmentalist has welcomed new rubbish bins that authorities are trialling, saying the government is trying to encourage people to reduce their waste at source, or dispose of it at home, for when a household waste-charging scheme begins in April.
Edwin Lau, founder and executive director of The Green Earth, says the ergonomic design of bins means they can be easily emptied through a door on the side. He says enforcement action and littering penalties will be stepped up to make sure people do not leave garbage next to the bin, because they cannot fit it into the smaller opening.
"If the government can enforce the law - I mean seriously - and then the public will defer from just leaving garbage next to the bin rather than putting it inside," he said.
Lau also said he liked the conical shape of bins, as it prevented people from leaving their rubbish on top.
In October, penalties were increased to HK$3,000 from HK$1,500 for littering after the Chief Executive John Lee raised the matter in his maiden policy address last year.
Lau said the government was going in the right direction with it plans to reduce rubbish bins in the city, as part of its waste reduction efforts. He said this was part of a world trend and, for example, in Japan it was very hard to find a public garbage bin. He said this would help people understand that the system was geared towards waste reduction.
Some cleaners have said the opening of the new bins is too small, although they have welcomed the fact that they no longer need to lift off the top of the bin to empty it.
The Environmental Protection Department says it will evaluate whether the bins need to be improved after the trials are concluded, before giving a final design to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department as well as the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.