Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 50, Chemical waste disposal – Forty years champion for the environment

Chemical waste disposal

One of the early deliverables of the 1989 White Paper “Pollution in Hong Kong: A Time to Act” was the Chemical Waste Treatment Facility in Tsing Yi Island. The plant was built quickly and commissioned in April 1993. The Facility was the answer to the once widespread problem of dumping chemical waste into rivers or sewers. Under the new system, chemical waste producers would be registered and required to pack and store chemical wastes for collection by licensed collectors using a “reverse milk bottle” system, thus making sure the chemical waste is tracked and safely disposed of.

The plant was extraordinary in that the government took a “build first, charge later” approach – not unwelcome by green groups – and issued a consultation paper in June 1993 seeking views on the charges to be levied, well after the plant went into operation. The government’s target was to devise a simple system to achieve an overall 43% recovery rate for operating cost, with a low starting fee at 20% gradually rising to full recovery by the end of the eighth year.

CA replied in August 1993 welcoming the polluter-pay principle behind the charging scheme but at the same time expressing concern over enforcement, as a large number of firms had not registered. CA also queried why the recovery was limited to operating cost only but not capital cost.

That last point was the subject of another letter to the Environmental Protection Department in March 1996, when the Chemical Waste Treatment Facility had run smoothly. The polluter-pay principle was highlighted again and EPD was asked to develop a plan for full cost recovery, instead of being persuaded into freezing the charges as the government was then under pressure for.

May 27, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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