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Hong Kong’s Waste Charging Scheme Faces Public Backlash Ahead of Legislative Review

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HONG KONG — Chief Executive John Lee emphasized the importance of public opinion on the controversial waste charging scheme as the government prepares to present its findings to the Legislative Council next week.

Lee’s remarks were made in response to a recent survey conducted by the Chinese-language newspaper Ta Kung Pao, which revealed widespread opposition to the pay-as-you-throw initiative. According to the survey, more than 90 percent of the 30,000 respondents opposed the scheme, and over 70 percent believed it should be abandoned altogether.

The waste charging scheme, which has been on trial since April, is being tested in 14 locations, encompassing residential areas, retail shops, and restaurants. Initially, officials had indicated that a full implementation of the scheme was slated for August 1. However, with the trial still ongoing, the future of the scheme remains uncertain.

Addressing the media before the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lee highlighted that the government is closely reviewing the trial’s results and assessing potential challenges in the scheme’s broader application.

“In my opinion, a policy that would affect more than seven million citizens should be carefully considered. Even though the law was drafted before this government took office, we should still consider how to implement it,” Lee stated.

He reiterated the administration’s commitment to considering societal feedback. “We will explain to the Legislative Council next week what we have learnt from the pilot, the problems we have identified and the feedback we have received from the community, including through the media,” he said.

As the government navigates the complexities of implementing the waste charging scheme, it remains to be seen how policymakers will balance environmental objectives with public sentiment. The upcoming Legislative Council session will be crucial in determining the scheme’s fate and its potential impact on Hong Kong’s waste management policies.