Greeners Action, a locally registered charity recognized by the Government, is one of the major green groups in Hong Kong. It has been established for more than 20 years. Over the years, the work done by Greeners Action has been affirmed by the industry. Leading the environmental protection work, it has spared no effort in promoting green living, avoiding pollution and waste, and promoting Hong Kong to a new era of environmental protection through policy lobbying and public education. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Greeners Action. We are very pleased to invite Angus Ho, the executive director of Greeners Action, to share his views on Hong Kong’s environmental protection work.
Q: On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Greeners Action, how would you sum up the experience?
A: After establishment of the Greeners Action, at the beginning we mainly focused on educating teenagers, organizing various seminars in schools, workshops and environmental training camps. Afterwards, we found that the problems of waste disposal by the public and environmental pollution have become more serious. Therefore, we started to launch a number of community activities, such as “No Plastic Bag Day”, “Primary School Green Lunch”, “Clothes and Food Campaign” as well as “Red Packet Recycle and Reuse Campaign”. We hope the people will change their daily habits. Looking back at this quarter of a century, we notice that people were affected by the fast food culture, resulting in proliferation of use of different disposable products. As a result, the landfills are now saturated, and the waste problem has become even more serious.
Q: What do you think about the future development of environmental aspects in Hong Kong?
A: In the future, for addressing environmental concerns, Hong Kong has to make efforts to catch up with the global trends. However, the situation may improve as more relevant laws and regulations are implemented, such as Producer Responsibility Scheme on Glass Beverage Containers, PRS on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Municipal Solid Waste Charging.
Q: The Hong Kong government has announced that municipal solid waste disposal will be charged for from 2019 onwards. What does Greeners Action think about it?
A: Greeners Action has been suggesting charges for waste for about ten years. Effective waste charging policies have been introduced in neighboring countries, however, Hong Kong has still not made any headway. With the government has finally announced the relevant legislation, Greeners Action believes waste disposal charging can encourage the public to reduce waste generation. And this is the fundamental method to reduce solid waste.
Q: Do you think the government’s support for environmental protection is enough? Why?
A: Promoting environmental protection requires different stakeholders’ cooperation. It is not the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Department alone and is also related to other government organizations. In the current situation, there are still many obstacles in implementation of environmental work in Hong Kong. Environmental protection still does not seem to be the top priority of the government.
Q: Do you think environmental conservation awareness of the public is sufficient? Why?
A: The public has become more familiar with “environmental conservation” after years of promotion. However, more work is needed for the public to transcend it from cognitive to the practical level. Environmental problems will not suddenly improve or deteriorate but will accumulate over time.
Q: What is the future direction of Greeners Action?
A: In future, Greeners Action will still focus on the problem of solid waste, such as food waste and disposable plastics. We will work on promotion, education and policy lobbying. Meanwhile, we provide professional services, such as food waste audit and recommendations for restaurants, and enhance our cooperation with the business community.