The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, today (April 26) attended an information session and provided different stakeholders from the construction industry an update on the adjustment of the construction waste disposal charges and associated supplementary measures.
The information session was organised by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and co-organised by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Hong Kong Green Building Council.
Speaking at the information session, Mr Wong cited a consultancy study report published by the CIC early this year and said that locally generated construction waste is on the rise, which is a concern for the community. In 2014, the overall construction waste disposed of at landfills averaged about 3,942 tonnes per day, and amounted to 27 per cent of the total waste disposal. In addition, Hong Kong in recent years has been taking forward concurrently a number of large-scale infrastructure projects from which reusable public fill generated has reached a peak.
Mr Wong said, The Government will introduce legislative amendments to revise the charges under the Construction Waste Disposal Charging Scheme so as to broadly attain cost recovery. We will further review the construction waste disposal charges in the light of the latest developments in the introduction of quantity-based municipal solid waste charging at an appropriate juncture. The revision of disposal charges not only reflects the principle of polluter-pays, but will also provide economic incentive for the industry to use less, waste less and adopt construction methods that are conducive to reuse and recycling.
The EPD proposes to continue to impose disposal charges by quantity to encourage construction waste producers to reduce waste and to practise sorting. The specific proposal is to increase the public fill charge from $27 per tonne to $71 per tonne; the sorting charge from $100 per tonne to $175 per tonne; and the landfill charge from $125 per tonne to $200 per tonne. Apart from the sorting charge, the proposed public fill charge and landfill charge will achieve full cost recovery. The proposal will be introduced by way of subsidiary legislation to the Legislative Council for negative vetting, with a view to completing the legislative process for implementation on April 7, 2017.
Mr Wong said, At the same time, the EPD will continue to collaborate with relevant government departments to take strict action against any activity involving illegal dumping of construction waste. We are also conducting studies to ascertain the feasibility of mandating the use of automatic monitoring technology (such as global positioning system) on construction waste collection vehicles to help track and log their activities, which may assist our investigation and in turn deter illegal activities. We acknowledge that the affected trades may have concerns about privacy, compliance cost and other operational issues. To this end, we will actively engage the trades so as to formulate a specific proposal as soon as possible.
Mr Wong also called on the public to join collaborative efforts to avoid increasing construction waste by actively considering environmentally responsible and simple designs when renovating homes, thereby easing the burden on our landfills.
Enhancing construction waste management with multi-pronged measures in conjunction with construction industry