Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 35, Waste reduction campaigns – Forty years champion for the environment

Waste reduction campaigns

CA has strong expertise on waste management policy. This has been due in no small measure to two decades of experience in organizing community-level waste reduction and recycling campaigns.

In January 1988 a working group was formed on a campaign to promote prudent use of plastic bags 慎用膠袋. The campaign was launched on 7 February with a range of activities including visit to plastic bag factory, landfill site inspection and talk on recycling. It culminated in a week of exhibition at Star Ferry from 29 May, the opening day of the Clean Hong Kong Campaign to World Environment Day on 5 June, where a collection point was set up for the public to bring recycled material. The campaign was championed by Simon Chau Siu Cheung and had the support of both the Education Department and the Environmental Protection Department.

A similar but larger-scale “Reduce Rubbish 減少垃圾 Campaign” was organized the following year, with a combination of quiz, seminar, pollution-free picnic and slogan competition. A “Reduce Rubbish 減少垃圾 Carnival” planned for 11 June was to be the finale of the campaign; then came the Tiananmin Square Tragedy in Beijing on 4 June and CA decided to postpone the event to 22 October.

Among CA’s campaigners was one Wong Ping Tong 黃炳棠 who worked for the Reduce Rubbish Campaign. He left CA later for health reasons but still helped in the campaign as a volunteer. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated and he died of heart failure on 31 December 1989.

CA continued with the campaign in 1990 but in a different form, with 8 April designated as “Newspaper Recycling Day”. A total of 159 metric tonnes of newspaper was collected from the campaign.

Thereafter CA’s community campaigns on waste management were undertaken side by side with policy lobbying. In 1994 it began to call for a levy on plastic bags. In 1997, a large-scale plastic bottles recovery programme was organized in 9 districts in the New Territories, with the support of the Provisional Regional Council. The campaign lasted until 1999 when the brown plastic bottle recycling bin was introduced. Then in 1999, a “Green Challenge” campaign focused on plastic bags for newspapers, extending to over 1,000 newspaper vendors and retail outlets and collecting over 500,000 signatures of pledges not to receive plastic bags with newspapers. But bad habits die hard and most consumers and vendors resumed plastic bags for newspapers afterwards. To this date CA is still busily involved in community recycling projects of one kind or another.


May 11, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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