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Govt admits it failed to reach waste recycling goal

An assessment about whether Macau has achieved its targets to improve the environment, stipulated by the government in an environmental protection planning report, shows that six indicators out of nine have achieved the short term targets while the rate of rubbish recycling failed to reach the target. The other two indicators could not be assessed […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:49 am

An assessment about whether Macau has achieved its targets to improve the environment, stipulated by the government in an environmental protection planning report, shows that six indicators out of nine have achieved the short term targets while the rate of rubbish recycling failed to reach the target.

The other two indicators could not be assessed “due to absence of data”.

A press conference about the assessment results was hosted by Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) Acting Director Vong Man Hung.

In 2012, the bureau published the report detailing its plans – specifying what the bureau has to do – about improving and protecting Macau’s environment. The report specifieddifferent tasks and targets which needed to be achieved in three stages, namely short-term (2010-12), mid-term (2013-15) and long-term (2016-20). The tasks cover various environmental issues including air, water, noise, energy saving and recycling.

The report also specified the target figures, which Macau should achieve at the end of the three stages – 2012, 2015 and 2020 – for 11 indicators measuring how different environmental issues have improved.

The bureau commissioned the South China Institute of Environmental Protection, part of the Ministry of Environmental Protection in Beijing, to conduct the assessment of how –and if – the bureau has achieved its various tasks for the short term. It also assessed whether Macau has achieved the report’s nine environmental indicators, which are relevant for the short-term, of the 11 indicators.

The nine indicators are energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP), clean energy utilisation rate, compliance rate of air quality, overall index of quality of coastal waters, treatment rate of urban wastewater, average reduction of regional noise, recovery rate of recyclable waste, treatment rate of hazardous waste, and urban green area rate.

The assessment results showed that the recovery rate of recyclable waste failed to reach the target for 2012, while concerning the clean energy utilisation rate and urban green area rate the assessment report states there is an “absence of data”. The other six indicators achieved the goals.

The planning report stipulated that the recovery rate of recyclable waste should be 20 percent in 2012. However, the assessment report shows that the rate was 19.1 percent. The rate is defined as “the ratio of recovered recyclable waste to the total urban solid waste”, according to the planning report.

The assessment report points out that because the supply of natural gas to Macau was suspended in June 2011 “the data is absent” for the city’s clean energy utilisation rate, but it added that the rate was 20.6 percent in 2010, which was higher than the 2012 goal – 18 percent.

When asked about the recovery rate of recyclable waste failing to achieve the goal, Vong said one reason was the rapid increase in refuse in recent years and she admitted that the effort to promote recycling was inadequate. She added that the figure – 19.1 percent – was still higher than the 18.6 percent in 2009. She promised to expand the recyclingnetwork to try to increase the rate.

When asked what could be done about the city’s nearly full landfill for construction waste, Vong said that the government was planning to begin filtering construction waste which could be recycled. She said that this would be done in areas near the landfill site and then the waste chosen for recycling would be stored there temporarily, for the purpose of being recycled later.

The landfill site for construction waste is located in the eastern Cotai area.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:49 am

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