Macau’s construction material landfill reaches full capacity
Construction waste is often a mixture of inert and non-inert construction materials. for example, the inert material, which comprise predominantly sand, bricks, and concrete, is deposited at Public Fill Reception Facilities for use in land reclamation. The non-inert portion which consists of materials such as bamboo, plastics, glass, wood, paper, vegetation and other organic materials, is buried in landfills as solid waste.
It is important therefore, that the two should be properly sorted. To this end both on-site and off-site Construction Waste Sorting (CWS) are the two favoured options. Macau will be looking at off-site CWS as well as establishing a new construction waste facility as it’s own construction material landfill “has basically reached its full capacity”. The Environmental Protection bureau’s acting director Vong Man Hung, who was quoted as saying
that the authorities will resolve the issue through regional cooperation and establish a new construction waste recycling center in the coming two to three years.
Vong Man Hung made the statement during a press conference announcing the implementation and evaluation report of the Environmental Protection Planning of Macau (2010-2020). The press conference coincided with the World Environment Day, which is celebrated every year by the United Nations.
Vong Man Hung said that the government has started planning the establishment of a center to filter construction waste and recycle the valuable materials. In the meantime, DSPA has already built some lines to pick out “high quality construction waste” and temporarily store it near the landfill.
In the long run, the bureau hopes that the recycled waste can be reused outside of the Macau territory. The government aims to commence preparations for a formal recycling center before the end of this year. “We hope and expect that we can truly implement it in two to three years so that [different kinds of construction waste] can be separated and reused”, the acting director said.
A spokesperson later told reporters that Macau has to negotiate with mainland authorities regarding the types of recycled construction materials that will be permitted to be sent to the mainland.
Vong Man Hung claimed that the government has always been conducting research on the polluter-pays policy. This includes imposing fees on construction waste. “Of course, our goal is very clear. We will eventually arrive at the point where polluters have to pay.”
Nevertheless, she stressed that society has to understand the polluter-pays principle so that a payment scheme would be supported. “It cannot be that [DSPA] unilaterally declares that it will roll out the fee. There has to be a social foundation. Therefore, we will conduct a public consultation in the future regarding the polluter-pays system in order to collect opinions from different parties.” Wong Man Hung added that they are going to launch a public consultation over the charge of plastic bags, which will take place at the end of this year or early next year.
Apart from the landfill issue, the acting director also answered questions relating to the evaluation of the Environmental Protection Planning. The DSPA argues that most of the execution items of the plan until 2012, including the reduction of energy consumption and noise and water quality, have met their targets. The bureau even claimed that there was an “improvement of air quality” in Macau.