Govt not given up on waste charging: environment chief - RTHK
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Govt not given up on waste charging: environment chief

2024-05-28 HKT 11:28
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  • Govt not given up on waste charging: environment chief
Green groups disagreed with the government's decision to postpone waste charging indefinitely, but the environment minister stressed officials had not given up on the policy.

The administration announced on Monday it would not implement the pay-as-you-throw scheme on August 1 as originally planned, citing concerns among residents and the limited coverage of recycling facilities.

On Tuesday, Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan said it was not suitable to set a date for the scheme.

"Our society has to be mature enough to accept this approach. Also, when the policy is introduced, its design has to be easy and accepted by the public, and be straight forward for frontline workers," Tse told an RTHK programme.

"In the coming year, we will of course expand our efforts on waste reduction and recycling, as well as promotion. On the other hand, we will also look at how we can enhance the scheme, gauge public sentiment, and see whether we have the conditions to introduce waste charging. We are not giving up on this concept."

Tse said the government might roll out waste charging in phases if officials decided to re-introduce the scheme in future, so that it's more easily accepted by the public.

But Edwin Lau, the founder and executive director of The Green Earth, told the same programme that the decision in postponing the scheme reflected a lack of faith and determination in the administration.

He said while the government's poll showed a majority of residents opposed waste charging, he understood the business sector was ready for the scheme.

"Many large companies and organisations said they had been prepared and had no issue [with the policy]. I have also asked some from the middle class, they said [paying] HK$50 a month was a very small amount," Lau said.

"The government appeared to have amplified negative responses to the policy, but did not focus on positive feedbacks."

Speaking on RTHK's Backchat programme, Wendell Chan from Friends of the Earth called on the government to dig deeper to understand public opinion on the policy.

"What we need to know is why opinion shifted, what happened there, what caused people to not like this scheme," Chan said.

"I don't think we went in-depth enough, in terms of analysing these problems in order to tackle them. The problem is that the government, right now, is way too willing to back down instead of trying to resolve these issues."

Govt not given up on waste charging: environment chief