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Hong Kong dumps 110,000 tons of garment each year, enough to cover 25,000 football fields.
That’s like throwing away 1,400 T-shirts every minute, according to environmental group Greenpeace.
It said Hong Kong people still cannot shake off their wasteful habits despite improvements in their environmental awareness during the past 10 years, Ming Pao Daily reports.
In that time, they dumped nearly 300 metric tons of clothing on average per day.
In addition, the recycling rate fell to 4 percent last year.
Greenpeace released the figures to mark Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest against consumerism.
Greenpeace campaigner Bonnie Tang said each Hong Kong person discarded 15 kilos of garment, the equivalent to 102 shirts.
By contrast, the recycling rate in Singapore is 11 percent.
It’s higher in western countries such as Britain (16 percent) and the United States (15 percent), she said.
Part of the reason for Hong Kong’s high waste rate is an import ban in mainland China and shrinking markets in Africa and Southeast Asia for used clothing as people get richer, Leung Pui-lun, chairman of the Hong Kong General Association of Recycling Business, said.
Tang said discarded textiles contain hazardous chemicals and heavy metals that could leak into groundwater and take years to decompose.
These produce harmful greenhouse gases.
Mok Ho-kwong, founder of concern group Natural Network, said Hong Kong people have fallen prey to overconsumerism.
In 2006, the government launched a garment recycling program featuring collection bins in community halls, parks, sports centers and public libraries in all 18 districts.
The scheme is run by a non-government organization.
However, the Environmental Protection Department has yet to release statistics on the efficiency of the campaign.
Also, measures to boost the low recycling rate are pending.
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