Govt holds off fines and penalties in first six months of new waste-charging scheme
The city’s environmental chief said reminders and warnings will be issued to those who violated the waste charging scheme during the six-month phasing-in period following the enactment of the law.
The municipal solid waste charging bill had been approved by the Legislative Council in August last year, with the launch date scheduled for 2023 following an 18-month preparation period set to end in the coming February.
The bill will require residents to pay for bags in which to dump their waste. There are nine bag sizes, from the smallest three liters to the largest 100 liters. The charge is 11 cents a liter, meaning the price of a 10-liter bag will be HK$1.10.
Speaking at a Legco meeting on Monday, Secretary for Environment Wong Kam-sing told lawmakers that they expected the scheme to kick off in the second half of next year.
He noted that some property management companies have raised concerns about possible conflicts with residents over the new waste-charging scheme, and the difficulties in identifying violators of it.
Wong said the six-month phasing-in period would allow these companies, as well as citizens, to adapt to the changes, while authorities would only issue reminders and warnings to violators instead of dishing out fines and penalties during that period.
The government will also hand out free bags to the public so they can adapt to the mechanism, Wong added.
Speaking at the same meeting, a spokesman of the Environmental Protection Department noted that property management companies could contact the department when they encountered any difficulties over the scheme, with the department carrying out enforcement actions based on the information provided.