TRANSFORMING TUEN MUN INTO AN ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY CITY
The Hong Kong Government has, to this day, failed to develop an effective and sustainable waste management solution. Coupled with the lack of promotion for waste reduction, it has led to a production of 1.27kg municipal solid waste per person per day in Hong Kong – which is a figure higher than that of any other developed city. Without an effective waste reduction policy, the Government continues to delay in properly addressing the issue through short-term (and unpopular) measures such as expanding existing landfills, which are not sustainable for future development. Therefore, it is hoped that this paper will stimulate new ideas for waste management within the community by looking at some examples in Northern Europe, and will help to transform Tuen Mun into an ecologically-sustainable and environmentally-friendly city.
2. Core Issues:
Currently, the West New Territories Landfill absorbs almost half of Hong Kong’s daily production of waste. Fortunately, these waste products may be converted into valuable resources, which could be a great opportunity for the commercialization of the recycling industry. Waste matters can be collected and recycled, and possibly even transformed into energy and resources, and Tuen Mun could very well become the pioneer of a waste management industry in Hong Kong.
The Government should be proactive in this matter and build a waste treatment plant in Tuen Mun. The plant should have the follow basic functions:
2) Generating renewable energy; and
3) Extracting wastes from exiting landfills and transforming them into resources.
The Hong Kong Government and its relevant departments should also develop machinery, human capital, technology and infrastructure such as transportation systems to compliment such a scheme. The Government expends enormous amounts of public money and resources in the expansion of existing landfills. This strategy of storing rubbish in valuable land-space in Hong Kong is both costly and wasteful. However, investment into recycling technology would be beneficial for the community. Existing public resources could be much better utilized if it were used for investment on human capital or in technological developments – a policy adopted by many Northern European countries, such as Sweden and Norway. Hong Kong could also learn from the Taiwanese Government and separate the various types of waste. These countries have long managed waste through incineration, where the energy by-product is harnessed and converted to a useful resource. Ironically, these countries are running out of wastes and are now importing rubbish from other countries to fuel their incinerators.
By learning from these countries, Hong Kong could very well become a role model for waste management in China or even Asia. Especially as the production of waste in China is growing exponentially due to the growth in the consumer’s market, Hong Kong could export this recycling technology to the mainland, and such environmental technology could well become a very profitable and sustainable industry.
Although Tuen Mun has the potential to become an environmentally-friendly city, the Government should still conduct a comprehensive research project, which emphasizes the benefits of the project, in order to obtain the support of the Tuen Mun residents.
 環境局 (2013)， 香港資源循環藍圖2013﹣2022, P.2
 According to the Environment Protection Department, the West New Territories Landfill takes in approximately 6,131 tons of waste per day, which is about 45.6% of the total daily production.