Hong Kong faces a huge waste disposal problem. Hidden under many of its beautiful parks, golf courses and sports grounds are millions of tons of garbage. Only three of their 13 landfill sites are still open which will soon overflow given the rate at which they are filling up. The situation is only going to get worse, says Suveera, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
When I first moved into the pristine environment of Discovery Bay, Hong Kong, there was not much to complain about. Breathtaking views, clean roads, and extremely well-maintained environs. Through the green leaves, I could see the glistening sea. Just looking out of the window at the distant lights of the city across the harbour and falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. What’s not to love…. Everything goes on like clockwork… battery operated buses arrive to pick you up, not a second late, no private cars allowed, and a cap on the number of golf carts …the only private type of automated transport that can be owned. It seemed to me that Hong Kong, and Discovery Bay, in particular, was doing a great job of being environmentally friendly.
And then one day I saw the garbage truck also arrive at the scheduled time. The mountain of black garbage bags that I saw collected just from a small group of houses, was alarming. A look into the supermarket explains a lot. Almost all of the vegetables and fruits are unnecessarily wrapped in plastic. Disposable use and throw utensils sell at an alluring price. The toy shops full of plastic toys, and parents, with their bulging wallets willing to buy them for their children, only to discard them a few months later, after the novelty fades.
Hong Kong faces a huge waste disposal problem. Hidden under many of its beautiful parks, golf courses and sports grounds are millions of tons of garbage. Only three of their 13 landfill sites are still open which will soon overflow given the rate at which they are filling up. The situation is only going to get worse, with China putting up a ‘Green Fence’ and a ban on taking in unprocessed waste from other countries. With not enough recycling sites in Hong Kong, a lot of the waste is just getting dumped into landfills. There is a proposal for an incinerator, which might reduce the amount of waste, but will add to air pollution, which is already a problem in the city. The government is considering imposing a charge on per litre of waste collected from each household. This move has in other countries reduced the waste by almost 30 percent.
There is hope only if we start at the level of the individual and reduce waste and recycle. Recently there was a great initiative by a school in DB, Discovery Bay International School, wherein, they completely did away with disposable cutlery at one of their very popular events. The international food fair. Not even one stall served food in disposable plates or boxes. Thousands of people visited the stalls and most of them got their own plates from home. Whoever did not, could rent plates at the venue. The whole community came together to make the event and its concept a success. It was heartening to see what can be accomplished if only a bit of extra effort is put in. This needs to be replicated in our homes, in our parties, and in the whole city.
Only if we all join hands and try to make a change, can we save the earth that is drowning in the waste that we generate?
Photos from the Internet, sourced from the author
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Suveera Sharma is a postgraduate in English and a qualified software trainer. She is an avid reader and writer. Being the daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood in various cantonments all over India. At present, she is settled in Hong Kong. She runs storytelling sessions for little kids and writes in her spare time.