[Text only available in Chinese]
2025年須全面禁膠餐具 切勿「走塑」變「走數」 10環團籲公眾提交意見書
（2021年8月16日 新聞稿） 10個環團今日聯合發佈《堂食及外賣即棄餐具派發量調查》（下稱調查）及《「外賣走塑」研究》（下稱民調）的研究結果，前者推算出快餐店年派過5億件即棄膠餐具，當中有過半仍未納入政府早前推出的「管制即棄餐具計劃」的第一階段，受規管的日子遙遙無期，恐「走塑」變「走數」；另外，民調結果則指出，市民大多同意政府規定食肆不能向顧客免費提供即棄塑膠餐具，評分高達5.21分（7分為非常同意）。
|即棄膠餐具數量 – 堂食||26.9%|
|即棄膠餐具 – 外賣(第一階段)||21.1%|
|即棄膠餐具 – 外賣(第二階段)||51.9%|
|問題||百分比 或 分數|
|綠色和平項目主任 譚穎琳||綠色和平媒體與推廣主任 陳妍妍|
|電話: 2854 8337 / 9745 9080||電話: 2854 8376 / 6922 9929|
|電郵: [email protected]||電郵: [email protected]|
Paul Zimmerman: ‘… recycling materials are not high value but they are high cost once they get into the waste system. The landfills are full. Do we need new landfill? If yes, then where is the land? Is it going to be country parks? People don’t realize waste charging has lots of implications …’
Support waste charging and improve municipal solid waste management
Please join our Petition: https://www.supporthk.org/?petition=lets-improve-our-municipal-solid-waste-management&lang=en
We urge the Government to consider the suggested key actions in 2020 Policy Address with the aims of improving and support the municipal solid waste management and recycling in Hong Kong.
Please sign our petition so we can reduce the volume of daily disposal of garbage.
1. 應用策略於每種香港都市固體廢物 (立法會資料研究組，2019年): 廚餘 (34％)、廢紙 (24％)、塑膠垃圾 (20％) 和其他垃圾 (23％)；
2. 應用「污者自付」、「源頭分類」 和 「生產者責任計劃」三大政策工具及理念，以解決都市固體廢物問題；
3. 每年撥款約8 至10 億元支持本地回收業，推動不同的減廢及回收措施；
Let’s approve municipal solid waste charging
Waste Levy, Source Separation, Recycling – 3 elements, not one less
DC/LC member petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfolxAs44alWP0_dRCEAg_HS9gLB5s9MJA_sMXHDLqYr0LkA/viewform
In 2013, the government set the goal of ‘reducing the volume of daily disposal of garbage per capita to 0.8 kg in 2022’. Yet, per capita daily disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) continues to increase every year. A record high of 1.53kg was reached in 2018. Under the current programs, recycling fails to improve. For example the export recycling rate of PET bottles fell from 8.5% (2016) to 0.23% (2018). Our three strategic landfills are under pressure and are about to saturate this decade. If nothing more is done to reduce MSW, we may have to explore new sites for incinerators or landfills. This would likely impact our country parks. Once the landfills are full, it will be politically difficult to stop this from happening.
The MSW Bill enabling charging is the linchpin in government’s waste policy and projects. Waste levies are important in promoting source separation of domestic waste and the successful expansion of our recycling capacity. Without waste charging, the separation and reduction of waste and the recovery of useful materials for recycling will fail. Hong Kong’s waste reduction management is already lagging behind other jurisdictions. Many policy initiatives have turned into broken promises. The delay of the waste charging bill will make it ever more difficult to achieve high levels of recycling. If the Bill is not dealt with within this term of government, the Bill will be delayed by 3-5 years. This unacceptable.
Improving Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste management requires key actions in the Policy Address:
- Strategies to address all types of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong (LegCo research paper, 2019): food waste (34%), paper waste (24%), plastic waste (20%) and others (23%);
- Reconfirm the principles: Polluters Pay, Source Separation of Waste, and Producers’ Responsibility;
- Allocate HKD 800-1000 million for waste reduction and recycling; and
- Apply the funds generated from waste charging in support of the recycling industry.
Implement legislation, regulations and infrastructure in support of recycling and waste management:
- Extend the collection network of food waste collection across 18 districts, to all FEHD Refuse Collection Point and public housing estates;
- Allocate resources and financial incentives for maintenance and contractor staff training for food waste collection in all private housing estates;
- Invest in food waste technology and create more jobs in recycling industry, e.g. logistic and technical support for food waste collection services;
- Educate the public on waste reduction and separation of food waste.
Plastic waste recycling
- Extend the pilot schemes of plastic collection to all 18 districts to provide convenience to the public;
- Implement the producer responsibility system for beverage (disposable) containers;
- Retrofit and expand public water dispensers for hygienic and COVID-proof bottle refilling;
- Regulate disposable tableware;
- Regulation of excessive packaging of food products;
- Ban the use of styrofoam and microplastic in personal care products
We conducted a public opinion survey between September 28th to October 6th regarding the captioned application. 143 people submitted their responses.
The majority of the respondents objected expressing concerns over the relaxation of building height restrictions, deteriorating air ventilation, urban heat island effect, daylight access and visual intrusion.
By Friday Oct 9, please submit your comments to Town Planning Board at https://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/tc/plan_application/A_K20_133.html
擬議辦公室、商業及零售發展並放寬建築物高度限制 (申請編號: A/K20/133)
- 62.94% of the respondents objected to the reflective exterior glass surface as it creates a glare which impairs the enjoyment of neighboring residents including particularly The Waterfront and The Austin. The glare may also impact nearby traffic. Solar reflections also raise temperatures and may impact vegetation nearby. Concerns were expressed over energy consumption for air-conditioning. The design is deemed does not match with the surrounding buildings.
- 71.33% of respondents are concerned over traffic impacts along Nga Cheung Road, Jordan Road and Canton Road. The proposed scheme proposed no less than 550 parking spaces for private cars. With the increase in parking spaces here and the car park at To Wah Road together with other developments in the area as well as new road connections such as the Central Kowloon Route, it is unclear whether the traffic burden exceeds capacity. Traffic congestion (and associated blaring of car horns) is experienced often in the area including along Jordan Road.
- 70.63% of respondents are concerned over the relaxation of building heights and the close distance between The Waterfront and XRL topside development. Such building structure would disturb daylight access, visual quality and air ventilation to inner area in Jordan.
- 76.22% of people object to relaxing height limit as this will set a bad precedent for nearby sites including future buildings at the WKCD. This application will set a precedent for others to change height restrictions. Respondents wonder if there is any justification of relaxing height limit after developers won bids for a site. Moreover, there is no compensation for the losses suffered by nearby residents. The gain would be simply for the developer at the cost of the neighbours.
- Although it is claimed that the proposed design has better air ventilation than the original scheme, 71.33% of respondents are concerned over the impact of having less fresh air and that pollutants residue in the community. It must be noted that the developer has failed to meet and consult the neighbours on the proposed plans.
- 49.65% of the respondents are worried over food and beverage related noise control at site, and the absence of clear operating guidelines on the use of facilities and time control of activities at the catering and commercial facilities (64.34%).
- 81.82% of the respondents are concerning over delivery of the promised public space. The promised public spaces are absent from the land lease conditions and may not be delivered. As seen throughout Hong Kong, what is promised in terms of public gains including public space, accessibility, public recreation, alfresco dining, etc, fails to be delivered. What controls will be applied by the Town Planning Board to ensure promised made are delivered?
- 86.71% of the respondents are upset with the lack of consultation and the failure to present and discuss the plans with nearby residents. Residents received insufficient information regarding the revised plans. Public consultation should have been conducted to provide clear information and to gain a better understanding. Moreover, the developer should introduce and discuss the proposal with the District Council before the deadline for comments under the Town Planning Ordinance for the captioned application.
- In the survey conducted, there is a demand for assessment of sustainability performance in terms of creating a ‘public realm’ which delivers a holistic and positive impact for occupants and neighbours. Reference is made to HKGBC BEAM Plus Neighborhood. More than 70% of respondents suggest civic spaces to be used by non-profit organizations for community activities (76.92%), promoting gender equality by introducing ‘Gender Mainstreaming checklist’ into the design and construction of the development (70.63%), and by adopting pet-friendly (78.32%) and bicycle-friendly measures (77.62%) for the site as well as the connections with the West Kowloon Cultural District to Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and Tai Kwok Tsui.
- 93.01% of respondents support environmental protection initiatives, such as energy saving, water use and reuse, using recyclable building materials, installing waste management and treatment facilities, etc. To implement initiatives to improve energy efficiency, environmental performance and achieving Government’s energy saving plan by 2025, all new development should have set goal to achieve HKGBC Beam Plus.
飲品業龍頭企業與非政府組織攜手減廢 目標回收七至九成飲品包裝Leading drink companies together with NGOs target 70%-90% recovery of used beverage packaging
太古可口可樂香港董事兼總經理，以及香港飲品商會會長利偉達（Neil Waters）先生表示：「我們非常重視可持續發展。我們不斷重新設計包裝，包括大幅減少PET樽中的塑料重量，使產品包裝百分百可回收。我們將於2019年底前全面轉用百分百循環再造的PET生產所有Bonaqua礦物質水包裝。另外，我們亦將於全港推出300部Bonaqua加水站，支持「自備水樽」。我們將積極尋求再進一步的所有可能性。」 其他主要飲料生產商亦作出類似的承諾。屈臣氏實業飲品製造市務總經理于德超先生表示：「我們自2015年開始一直自發轉用100%再生PET物料作產品包裝，不僅減少生產、使用和浪費塑料，還有助於減低碳排放量。」
(from left to right): Mr. Herbert Yung, Director, Risk Advisory, Deloitte Advisory (Hong Kong); Mr. Edwin Lau, Founder and Executive Director, The Green Earth, Hong Kong and Spokesperson for Drink Without Waste; Mr. Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of the Single-Use Beverage Packing Working Group; and Mr. Neil Waters, President of the Hong Kong Beverage Association.
Leading drink companies together with NGOs target 70%-90% recovery of used beverage packaging
• Over 80% of beverage packaging, or over 1.7 billion containers, were wasted last year.
• The Drink Without Waste initiative supports cash-on-return of used packaging and the installation of refill dispensers.
• The HKSAR government is urged to regulate packaging standards and provide support for recycling.
• The beverage industry will take voluntary measures to reduce waste.
Hong Kong, 6 December 2018: Hong Kong’s leading beverage producers and bottlers, representing nearly half of all the bottled water and soft drinks sold in the city, together with major retailers, recyclers and NGOs, today announce their proposals to reduce the over 1.7 billion used and discarded beverage containers that end up in Hong Kong’s landfills, countryside, beaches and the marine environment. Last year, recovery rates in Hong Kong were at 9% for PET and 0% for liquid cartons.
The Single-Use Beverage Packaging Working Group was formed to help reduce the waste generated from non-alcoholic beverage consumption in Hong Kong. They launched the Drink Without Waste initiative in December last year and now pledge to work towards 70%-90% recovery rates for PET containers and liquid cartons in Hong Kong. They believe that with all parties – government, producers, retailers, recyclers and consumers – working closely together, this increase could be achieved by 2025.
“We all are responsible. We harm the environment when we dispose of single-use beverage containers at our landfills and in the natural environment,” said Edwin Lau Che-feng, Founder and Executive Director of The Green Earth, Hong Kong and spokesperson for Drink Without Waste.
“Our aim is to reduce single-use beverage packaging and, where this is not possible, to increase the recycling rate of packaging with financial incentives. This is to encourage return and collection. Hong Kong also needs to develop efficient recycling for PET bottles and liquid cartons, ensure the quality of used packaging through legislation, and increase public education.”
Strategies and actions to reduce waste from beverage consumption
The group is making four major recommendations to producers, importers, retailers, waste management services, consumers and the HKSAR government: to reduce single-use beverage containers, to regulate packaging standards, to recover used packaging, and to recycle them.
“We support creating an environment in Hong Kong, where consumers routinely refill their own bottles and cups from dispensers for water, soft drinks and other beverages throughout the city,” said Dana Winograd, Director of Plastic Free Seas.
Simeon Cheng, Head of Sustainability at MTR Corporation Limited echoed this view: “We have installed water dispensers in Tung Chung Station and Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, and we are continuing to monitor the usage and effectiveness of our programme.”
Mike Kilburn, Assistant General Manager, Sustainability at the Airport Authority Hong Kong, said: “HKIA has one of the largest networks of drinking fountains and hot water dispensers in Hong Kong. As of 2018, Airport Authority Hong Kong has installed 104 drinking fountains and 23 hot water dispensers in 13 locations throughout the terminal buildings. These fountains and hot water dispensers provide a welcome amenity and a free alternative to drinks served in single use plastic beverage containers to the passengers and staff travelling through and working at HKIA. Information about the locations of our drinking fountains and hot water dispensers is available through the “HKG MyFlight” app and other NGO platforms. We would be delighted to share our experience with others who may be interested to deploy drinking fountains and hot water dispensers of their own.”
The group supports the HKSAR government call for cash-on-return schemes to increase recovery rates of plastic bottles. The group proposes that these schemes are extended to other packaging, including liquid cartons. Currently the recovery rates for used metal cans in Hong Kong is 85%, demonstrating the effectiveness of a monetary value. The group proposes that a levy should be collected from producers and importers to cover the cost of cash-on-return schemes and to help subsidise logistics and local recycling.
According to the group, regulations to homogenise all plastic bottles and liquid cartons allows used packaging to be processed into valuable feedstock such as PET and paper for new packaging and other products.
“We take sustainability seriously,” said Neil Waters, Director and General Manager of Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong and President of the Hong Kong Beverage Association. “We continuously reengineer our packaging, including significantly cutting the amount of plastic in our bottles and making our packaging 100% recyclable. Through 2019 we will complete the conversion of all our ‘Bonaqua’ Mineralized Water packaging to 100% rPET. In addition, we will launch 300 Bonaqua water stations across Hong Kong to promote the Bring Your Own Bottle initiative. We will continue to search out all possible opportunities to do more.”
Other major drink producers are also making similar commitments. “We have voluntarily taken steps to transform our packaging to 100% recycled PET material since 2015,” said Edmond Yu, General Manager – Marketing of A.S. Watson Industries. “This not only reduces the production, use and wastage of plastic, but also helps with cutting carbon emissions.” “Vitasoy Hong Kong supports the Drink Without Waste initiative. Consistently with our Company’s sustainable growth model, we are working on both plastic and carton packaging. For plastics, beyond having implemented and continuing weight reduction, installing Reverse Vending Machines to collect used bottles and Water Refilling machines to support the Bring Your Own Bottle initiative, we are working on enabling recycled PET pilots in our 2019/20 fiscal year. For carton, we are engaging our suppliers and relevant recyclers to collaborate on carton pack collection and recycling in Hong Kong,” said Dorcas Lau, CEO of Vitasoy Hong Kong and Vice President of the Hong Kong Beverage Association.
According to Edwin Lau, the waste import restrictions launched by mainland China since 2018 have changed the recycling practices in Hong Kong and around the world. “Relying heavily on exporting recyclable materials to the mainland and other economies is no longer a solution,” he said. “Hong Kong has to build state-of-the-art recycling facilities to take care of our own waste. This in turn will help develop a circular economy and help our city become sustainable.”
Land and logistic support from the HKSAR government are considered essential to controlling the cost of recycling and to achieving the goal of between 70% and 90% recovery of packaging early.
About Drink Without Waste
The Drink Without Waste initiative demonstrates how industry players and environmental groups can work together to tackle environmental issues. Since December 2017, the Single-Use Beverage Packaging Working Group, a broad coalition of drink producers, bottlers, retailers, recyclers and NGOs, has been working to develop strategies and actions to reduce waste from the consumption of beverages in Hong Kong.
“We all know there needs to be wholesale change in the ways we design, use and recycle single-use packaging,” said Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of the Single-Use Beverage Packing Working Group. “The strategies and actions we recommend are meant to be pragmatic and inclusive for Hong Kong. To stop 90% of beverage packaging from going to waste, all stakeholders including the industry, general public and the HKSAR government, will need to work together closely to limit impacts on consumer price, choice and convenience.”
Members of the group include Airport Authority of Hong Kong, A.S. Watson Group, Dairy Farm Company Limited, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited, MTR Corporation Limited, Plastic Free Seas Limited, Swire Beverages Limited, Vitasoy International Holdings Limited, WWF-Hong Kong and other key players.
The group commissioned Deloitte Advisory (Hong Kong) Limited, together with Cistri Limited, to carry out a comprehensive study to identify and evaluate how to effectively manage waste from single-use sealed beverage containers in Hong Kong. The findings informed the development of a positioning paper published by the group.
有害醫療廢料再現香港 市民健康繼續受嚴重威脅 Dangerous and harmful medical waste found on HK’s beaches continues to put people at risk
今天創建香港行政總裁司馬文先生，居民Moran Zukerman，無塑海洋行政總裁Tracey Read及梁嘉麗小姐於政府總部外再次展示在大嶼山海灘收集的大量醫療及化學廢料，並呈交環境保護署進行調查。
Dangerous and harmful medical waste found on HK’s beaches continues to put people at risk
Hazardous medical waste continues to pollute Hong Kong’s water and beaches. The waste poses a huge risk to the health and safety of tourists and Hong Kong people.
Today, Designing Hong Kong’s CEO Paul Zimmerman, Moran Zukerman, a local resident, and Plastic Free Seas’ CEO Tracey Read and Julia Leung again submitted a large amount of medical and chemical waste retrieved from a Lantau beach to the Environmental Protection Department.
It is the third and largest delivery of medical waste to the EPD for investigation. In a letter they seriously urged EPD to take follow-up action. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has yet to publish the investigation outcomes after large amounts of medical and chemical waste were collected and delivered to the government on 12th July 2016 and 6th December 2016 respectively.
Reports of syringes and needles washing up on beaches all over Hong Kong have been lodged since 2008. To show the scale of the issue Mr Zukerman has concentrated his efforts on collecting dangerous medical waste from one small Lantau beach since last year. This third delivery in 12 months includes 529 syringes, 402 without needles and 127 syringes with needles. Also included are drug vials, medicine bottles and medicine packets. Some of the items have evidence of bite marks by fish. “Government has hired more contractors for beach cleaning, but I keep finding more medical waste,” Zukerman said. “I don’t want beach cleaning. I want full forensic investigation into potential source points, and preventative strategies to stop medical waste floating in our seas.”
“Some of the medicine looks to be originating from China, others are obviously from Hong Kong,” Plastic Free Seas’ CEO Tracey Read said. “The HKSAR government needs to have an inter-departmental collaboration with Guangdong counterparts to investigate the sources and nature of the waste and establish an action plan to deal with the illegal disposal of hazardous medical and veterinary waste in China and Hong Kong. Preventing the waste from leaking into the environment is of the utmost importance.”
One solution to stop improper disposal of local medicines and used syringes is to facilitate a Hong Kong “take-back” program for unwanted medicines and accessible disposal facilities for used syringes. Government can work with public and private health facilities to provide sharps bins (for used syringes) and containers for unwanted medicines.
創建香港行政總裁司馬文先生，居民Moran Zukerman及無塑海洋行政總裁Tracey Read今天於政府總部外展示大批於大嶼山海灘拾獲的醫療廢物，並再次交給環境保護署化驗及作進一步的調查。此外，他們更向環境保護署遞交信件，表達對事件的極度關注及促請有關部門盡快展開調查及跟進工作。
Hazardous medical waste continues to pollute Hong Kong’s water and beaches. The waste threatens the health and safety of local residents.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has yet to respond and publish the investigation outcomes after large amounts of medical waste were collected and delivered to government on 12 July 2016.
Today, Designing Hong Kong’s CEO Paul Zimmerman, Moran Zukerman, a local resident, and Plastic Free Seas’ CEO Tracey Read submitted again a large amount of medical waste retrieved from a Lantau beach to the EPD outside the Central Government Office. In a letter they urged EPD to take follow up action.
The newly found dangerous medical waste collected at one Lantau beach from July – November 2016, includes 303 syringes without needles, 96 syringes with needles, more than 200 drug vials, a collection tube suspected of containing human blood, plastic medicine bottles and packets. Some of the items have evidence of bite marks by fish.
What is now needed is an in-depth inter-departmental investigation into the source and nature of the waste and to establish a database and action plan which deals with the illegal disposal of hazardous medical waste.
The government is urged to act with expediency in response to the medical waste found.
Press release on 12 July 2016: https://goo.gl/42p5DX
創建香港行政總裁司馬文先生、無塑海洋教育項目經理梁嘉麗小姐及居民Moran Zukerman今天展示大批於大嶼山三白灣 (愉景北商場旁) 拾獲的醫療廢料，這些廢料由本年5月起開始收集，經分類及調查後，有明顯證據顯示廢料來自中國廣東省。
Dangerous medical waste found at HK’s beaches
Large amounts of marine waste washes up at Hong Kong’s beaches regularly, especially during rainy season. Heavy rain fails over the last month has triggered large amounts of waste washing into the seas.
“What is now needed is an in-depth investigation into the type and source of the waste rather than black bag beach cleaning actions,” said Paul Zimmerman.
Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong, together with Julia Leung, Program Manager – Education of Plastic Free Seas and Moran Zukerman, a local resident, presented dangerous medical waste found among rubbish collected from a Lantau beach, Sam Pak Wan, since May this year. Many items had definitive markings pointing at locations in the Guangdong Province.
Medical waste collected were for human and veterinarian use (antibiotics and preventative medicine), and many are hazardous and potentially poisonous.
Paul Zimmerman explained: “We sorted and investigated the waste, most of them are vials, syringes, plastic/glass bottles, dialysis bags, medical pills, fully intact glass ampoules. From the brands and simplified Chinese text, it is obviously come from locations in the Guangdong Province. We even found a working pass from a Chinese government transport officer among the waste.”
Open waste dumps are a long standing problem in Hong Kong and on the Mainland. Exposed waste is subject to flooding and washing out to rivers and seas. Hazardous medical waste poses a health risk as beachgoers could injure and infect themselves by stepping on needles. Moran Zukerman, a local resident who has been living in Hong Kong for over 15 years, expressed his concern: “Medical waste is beyond littering, it’s not only harmful to the environment and oceans, but also causes a threat to human beings who consume the fish and many of the medical products shows signs of fish bites who are exposed to those dangerous items, and are eventually consumed by humans.”
Julia Leung explained: “Plastic Free Seas and Green DB have since 2013 reported the medical waste found on beaches to the Marine Department and the Environmental Protection Department. There were also media reports at that time. It is entirely unclear what investigation has been conducted by the EPD into the sources, and what action have been taken to contact the authorities and medical institutions both in Hong Kong and the Mainland.”
“We urge the government to seriously investigate the medical waste we found. The items will be sent to the Environmental Protection Department for investigation and follow up action.”
Waste retrieved from Aberdeen Harbour by the Save Aberdeen Harbour Alliance on 25 June 2016
Fix it: Stop waste before it floats
Report of open waste dump at Wei Ling Ding island: http://goo.gl/WKOzQy (Chinese only)
Facebook video of illegal waste dumps in Hong Kong: https://goo.gl/77r5AL
Let’s not blame the rain
For as long as the government has tracked data on marine refuse, it shows that during the rainy season, the weight of marine refuse collected from the seas and shores increases.
The latest increase in floating rubbish washing onto Hong Kong shores has been linked by the government with the recent extreme rain events throughout the region.
The relationship is plausible. Rainwater washes floating debris left on the land into drains, culverts, streams and rivers, and on to the open seas.
Extreme rain also causes flooding which dislodges debris and again this will flow to the sea. So what to do next? First of all, let’s not blame the rain and climate change.
The Pearl River Delta has (for a very long period) had a subtropical climate with rainy seasons. Repeated sudden deluges of large amounts of water have been a fact of life for many centuries. Climate change is predicted to result in fewer rain days but an increase in the average rainfall intensity.
Consumerism is a problem – but not the cause of marine waste
Others blame consumerism and our lifestyle, especially the shift to packaged food distribution, and one-off serving containers for meals and drinks.
While correctly pointing out that behaviour changes can significantly reduce the volumes of waste produced in this region with rapid urbanisation, rise in income and the feeding of millions of workers, it does not address the cause of floating marine refuse.
Waterproof all waste handling
Floating marine refuse can only be addressed by fixing the structural problem of poorly contained rubbish lying on land.
The coastal dump site at the island of Wei Ling Ding is not the only one along the coast and rivers of the mainland and Hong Kong.
Look no further than the villages and brownfields of the New Territories, or look around Hong Kong Island, and discover how much rubbish lies open and exposed to rain at the government’s refuse collection points.
Add to that the illegal dumping, including hazardous medical waste, by unscrupulous collectors of waste.
By all means, the government should model sea currents to try and pinpoint the source of the recent upsurge in floating waste, but we should not waste time.
With years of evidence of increases in marine refuse during the rainy seasons we can safely agree on the general narrative: we need to waterproof our waste handling from consumers to waste processors, both in Hong Kong and China. And with climate scientists predicting more extreme rainfall, we need to do this sooner rather than later.
(Article was first published in the South China Morning Post, 16 July 2016)