GREEN RATING Deep Green. Bring your own bottle. There are 4 water dispensers along the protest route to refill your water bottle for free. Avoid buying plastic bottled drinks. It is no use to put the plastic bottles in the recycling bin – they still end up in the landfills. And our landfills are filling up fast!
This past week, there have been a number of reports in the news about the government’s attempt to enlarge the three landfills in Hong Kong. Residents in Cheong Kwan O vehemently opposed it, some of them even going on a hunger strike. That forced the government to withdraw the controversial plan to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill, for the time being. But it has not given up on its plan to expand the other two landfills (one in Tun Mun and another one in Ta Kwu Ling). Discussions will continue next week in the LegCo.
At the same time, the so-called plastic bottle recycling scheme has turned out to be a complete joke. Due to the tightening of the import rules for recycled materials into mainland China, most of the plastic bottles collected from the recycling boxes are now being sent to the landfills.
According to the “Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong – Waste Statistics for 2011” issued by the Environmental Protection Department, in year 2011, Hong Kong produced 100 tons of PET bottle waste every day. One empty PET bottle weighs about 50 grams. That means everyday we throw away two million PET bottles into the landfills. Since this is such a huge and lucrative business, the beverage companies spend generous amounts of money on advertising. They hire famous athletes, actors and singers to show up in their advertisements. All they want is to have you, the consumer, buy more and more bottled drinks. The fact that the landfills are filling up? Since there is no law that imposes producer liability on them and it does not cost them a cent to have their bottles sent to the landfills after consumption – it is none of their business.
So who is paying the price of our waste management predicament? Of course not only the residents in Cheung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling. With our world class ability to create garbage, if we continue our consumption behaviour it won’t be too long till we need a landfill or incinerator for each of the districts in Hong Kong.
The news reports that some of the Cheung Kwan O residents will participate in the July 1st protest to urge the government to abandon its plan to expand the Cheung Kwan O landfill and to provide a timetable for its closure. We sincerely support their cause. In order to send fewer plastic bottles to the landfills, we ask for help from all the participants in tomorrow’s protest. Bring your own reusable water bottle. We have prepared a map to show you where you can refill your bottle along the way.
Still don’t have a water bottle? You may want to read our article “The Right Water Bottle for You“.