Waste management in Hong Kong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the densely populated Hong Kong, waste is a complex issue.[1] The territory generates around 6.4 million tons of waste each year[2] but is able to collect and process only a minimal portion of recyclable waste.[3] By 2019, its existing landfills are expected to be full.[4] The government has introduced waste management schemes and is working to educate the public on the subject. On the commercial side, producers are taking up measures to reduce waste.


Hong Kong EPD (Environmental Protection Department) provides data and statistics about waste management.[5]

Waste management process[edit]

In Hong Kong, wastes generated can be categorised as municipal solid waste, construction and demolition waste, chemical waste and other special waste, including: clinical waste, animal carcasses, livestock waste, radioactive waste, grease trap waste and waterworks/sewage sludges. According to a 2016 report from Waste Atlas, waste generation in Hong Kong is around 6.4 million tonnes per year or 900 kg/cap/year.[6]  

Wastes in Hong Kong are first collected from disposal bins to refuse transfer stations (RTS). After they are compacted and put in containers, they are delivered to disposal lands or recycling centers.

There are hundreds of collectors in the territory where wastes are located before transferring to refuse transfer stations.[7] There are seven refuse transfer stations in the territory. They serve as centralised collection points for the transfer of waste to the strategic landfills.[8]


Operated by the EPD,[clarification needed] the landfill sites only accept garbage from Hong Kong. Thirteen of 16 landfills were closed from 1988 to 1996. Starting from 6 January 2016, the South East New Territories Landfill (SENT) will only receive construction waste.[needs update] Hong Kong has three strategic landfills in use. All are located in the New Territories:[9][10][11]

Landfill Location Hectare Opened Capacity Status
West New Territories Landfill (WENT) Nim Wan, Tuen Mun 110 1993 61 million m³ Active (Full by 2018/2019)
South East New Territories Landfill (SENT) Tseung Kwan O 100 1994 43 Active (Full by ?)
North East New Territories Landfill (NENT) Ta Kwu Ling, North District 61 1995 35 Active (Full by 2016/2017)

Closed landfills[edit]

There are also 13 closed landfills.[12] The closed landfills are converted into facilities such as golf courses, multi-purpose grass pitches, rest gardens, and ecological parks. Greenhouse gases emitted from closed landfills are used for energy. The closed landfills are:[10][12]

Landfill Location Hectare Opened Capacity Status Rehab Period Current use
Gin Drinkers Bay Kwai Chung, Kwai Tsing District 29 1960 3.5 million tonnes Closed 1999–2000 now Kwai Chung Park
Ngau Tam Mei Tam Mei, Yuen Long District 2 1973 0.15 million tonnes Closed 1999–2000 Green Belt
Plover Cove Tai Mei Tuk, Tai Po District 50 1973 15 million tonnes Closed 1996–1997 golf driving range
Ma Tso Lung Kwu Tong, North District 2 1976 0.2 million tonnes Closed 1999–2000 recreation centre for Tung Wah Group of Hospitals
Ngau Chi Wan Wong Tai Sin District 8 1976 0.7 million tonnes Closed 1997–1998 Ngau Chi Wan Park
Sai Tso Wan Kwun Tong District 9 1978 1.6 million tonnes Closed 1997–1998 Sai Tso Wan Recreation Ground opened in 2004
Siu Lang Shui Castle Peak 12 1978 1.2 million tonnes Closed 1999–2000 Green Belt
Junk Bay Stage I Tseung Kwan O, Sai Kung District 68 1978 15.2 million tonnes Closed 1997–1999 proposed site for football academy and driving range
Ma Yau Tong West Kwun Tong 6 1979 6 million tonnes Closed 1997–1998 planned recreation facilities
Ma Yau Tong Central Kwun Tong 11 1981 1.0 million tonnes Closed 1997–1998 future Lam Tin Park
Pillar Point Valley Tuen Mun District 38 1983 13 million tonnes Closed 2004–2006 N/A
Jordan Valley Kwun Tong 11 1986 1.5 million tonnes Closed 1997–1998 Jordan Valley Park, Opened 2010.
Junk Bay Stage II-III Tseung Kwan O, Sai Kung District 42 1988 12.6 million tonnes Closed 1997–1999 temporary home for Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps model plane training facilities

Management of emissions from waste[edit]

The degradation of the organic components contained within waste generates both gaseous and liquid emissions. Landfill gas, principally methane and carbon dioxide, is formed once anaerobic conditions are achieved within the landfill, and leachate is formed as liquids percolate through landfilled waste and pick up a cocktail of toxic and contaminating elements from the multiple waste fractions that comprise Municipal Solid Waste. Both can be harmful to human health and toxic to the environment.[13] Landfill gas is an important source of greenhouse gases that has been clearly shown to contribute to global warming,[14] whilst leachate can be an important source of local contamination, especially to waterways.[15] As Hong Kong is very close to the sea as well as to heavily built up areas, the control of emissions is of high importance.[16] Wherever possible, landfill gas is used as a fuel for the generation of power and, in Hong Kong, landfill gas is used to generate electricity and to provide power for the treatment of leachate produced from the landfilled waste.[17]

The technology used for landfill gas management is well known throughout the world[18] and includes on-site power generation, provision of heat for leachate treatment and off-site use as a source of natural biogas for feeding into the gas main.[19] Leachate is treated using landfill gas to provide heat for reducing the heavy loading of ammonia and ensuring that it can be released into the environment[20][21] according to strict criteria as specified by the Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong, and the process is employed at all three strategic landfill sites cited above.[22]

NGO campaigns[edit]

Friends of the Earth[edit]

Friends of the Earth (HK) is one of the local environmental groups in Hong Kong. One of its campaigns emphasises on setting up an all-inclusive recycling system.[23]

Green Power[edit]

Green Power, another local environmental organisation, has many activities related to waste control and management. Green Power organises an ongoing "Zero Waste Action", aiming to reduce the waste the territory produces.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lou, Loretta (6 November 2019). "The Struggle for Sustainable Waste Management in Hong Kong: 1950s–2010s". Worldwide Waste Journal. Vol. 2. doi:10.5334/wwwj.40. Retrieved 6 November 2019.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Waste problem in Hong Kong (PDF), archived (PDF) from the original on 21 July 2011, retrieved 28 June 2009
  3. ^ "Hong Kong drowning in waste as China rubbish ban takes toll". Reuters. U.K. Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  4. ^ Ockenden, James (27 February 2007). "HK landfills full in 4–8 years". blueskieschina.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Data & Statistics – Environmental Protection Department". Government of Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Waste Atlas. (2016). Country Data: HONG KONG SAR, CHINA". Archived from the original on 3 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Friends of the Earth (HK)". foe.org.hk. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ "EPD - Refuse Transfer Stations". Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  9. ^ "Temporarily Unavailable". wasteage.com. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Landfills in Hong Kong" (PDF). www.legco.gov.hk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b "EPD - Restoration and Afteruse of Closed Landfills". Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  13. ^ "5 LANDFILL GAS". epd.gov.hk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Building on Success: New Ways to Keep Methane Out of the Atmosphere". World Bank. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  15. ^ Nagarajan, Rajkumar; Thirumalaisamy, Subramani; Lakshumanan, Elango (27 December 2012). "Impact of leachate on groundwater pollution due to non-engineered municipal solid waste landfill sites of erode city, Tamil Nadu, India". Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering. 9 (1): 35. doi:10.1186/1735-2746-9-35. ISSN 1735-1979. PMC 3561079. PMID 23369323.
  16. ^ "Water | Environmental Protection Department". epd.gov.hk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Landfill Gas Utilization | Environmental Protection Department". epd.gov.hk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Top 15 largest landfills in the world". Observatory. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Problems & Solutions | Environmental Protection Department". epd.gov.hk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Landfill Gas Utilization | Environmental Protection Department". epd.gov.hk. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Organics Group Completes Landfill Leachate Cleanup Plant in Hong Kong". waste-management-world.com (in German). 8 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Problems & Solutions | Environmental Protection Department". epd.gov.hk. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Friends of the Earth (HK)". www.foe.org.hk. Archived from the original on 28 December 2006.
  24. ^ "Green Power – Activities". greenpower.org.hk. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Yim, K.P (2001). "Settlements of old landfills in Hong Kong". In Ho, Ken K.S.; Li, K.S. (eds.). Geotechnical Engineering: Meeting Society's Needs : Proceedings of the Fourteenth Southeast Asian Geotechnical Conference, Hong Kong, 10-14 December 2001. Vol. 1. CRC Press. pp. 249–266. ISBN 9789058092502.

External links[edit]