>> One of the worlds most densely populated cities rapidly running out of space for waste. Levels of trash in Hong Kong have risen by almost 80% in the past three decades, and authorities are struggling to keep up with the sheer amount of garbage. Critics say the city is too preoccupied with using land for property development instead of recycling plants, that means nearly all the garbage goes to landfills, which are on course to reach their limit in just two years.
And as Reuters Farah Master reports, officials know their running out of time to act.>> The government has set a target to reduce municipal wastes which is from homes, restaurants, and offices by 40% over the next five years. They're proposing to build an incinerator, which has been quite controversial with green groups.
And in a shorter time, there are plans to charge people for how much they're wasting. Overall, the shift for the government is to try and increase the amount of recycling we do as opposed to how much we're putting in landfills, because right now the amount that we're disposing in landfills is much higher then what we're actually recycling.
>> Adding to the problem, a lot of wastes also ends up on Hong Kong's beaches. That's a fight on two fronts with trash floating in from mainland China.>> There have been recent cases of medical wastes, including syringes washing up on our beaches and in our oceans, but there's still a lot of domestic wastes from Hong Kong.
So polystyrene, you see a lot of styrofoam floating in the oceans here.>> Although Hong Kong sees an incinerator as a main solution to its waste problems, critics say the multi-billion dollar project will add to air pollution, waste money, and distract from the pressing need to recycle. And while waste-charging schemes have seen trash levels drop by 20% in Seoul and Taiwan, the earliest they could get approved in Hong Kong is late 2019, the year the dumps are set to run out of room.