Friday, December 15, 2017

Open Space: A Camosun student looks at Hong Kong’s recycling system

September 3, 2015 by Annie Luke, contributing writer

Compared to Victoria, Hong Kong is in the dump in regard to their waste management schemes: their landfills are expected to be full this year.

The easiest thing to do would be to criticize them and suggest that Hong Kong adopt a system such as Victoria’s, where places to deposit recyclables, compostables, and garbage are placed across our city.

But forcing our waste-management practices on Hong Kong would be like wearing a size XXS T-shirt when you’re really a medium. Yes, it may fit, but it will not look good.

This article originally appeared in our August 19, 2015 issue.

This article originally appeared in our August 19, 2015 issue.

Hong Kong has had an incredible population growth, which challenges the land in terms of resource preservation and waste management. While Victoria’s population rests at approximately 330,000, Hong Kong is at a booming estimated 7.3 million.

Having been in Hong Kong for three months, I’ve found hundreds of garbage bags filled with items; I often take them to bottle depots. And not only does every item from leftover food to wine bottles get thrown out, but I’ve experienced flying garbage in typhoons! While I’ve been in Hong Kong I’ve experienced a black rainstorm and typhoon signal No. 8, in which civilians were dodging huge plastic containers flying through the air.

Raised by two parents who have always had a compost in the backyard and deeply detailed recycling bins in the house, I cringe at the sight of others misplacing garbage. I have many friends who stand on either side of the waste-management scale: either they worship the recycling system or have admitted that they could not care less about the environment.

I’ve always found the latter’s level of apathy shocking; however, I won’t say that the majority of my generation lacks empathy. They lack knowledge.

Waste-management programs should be more transparent, and people of all ages should have the ability to access information about the facilities that manage waste. We should be given more opportunities to visit the sites, such as landfills and glass-treatment plants, that are managing our waste.

Compared to the advanced and efficient metro system Hong Kong has provided, their waste-management programs are far from the same level of quality.

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