A comparison of waste management in Guangzhou and Hong Kong

Shan Shan Chung, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In urban mainland China, safe disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) averaged at <2%. While China is struggling to meet the lower order needs in waste management, namely, providing adequate waste collection service, ensuring enough up to standard waste disposal facilities and improving waste transfer network, the waste generation rates in major Chinese cities are increasing. Guangzhou is a typical example. From 1995 onwards, the daily MSW generation rate per capita in Guangzhou exceeds that of Hong Kong. While the per capita waste generation rate of the latter has been stabilized at ~1 kg per capita per day. Based on the waste management experience of Hong Kong, a number of waste management problems in Guangzhou in the near future are perceivable. In this paper, these problems are discussed and analyzed after a comparison of the waste management systems and MSW composition of the two most developed cities in China. The major concern is that an improvement in the efficiency and hygiene performance of MSW collection shall not be realized at the expense of the local informal waste recovery system. Both higher and lower order waste management needs should be tackled at the same time in order to avoid the later impasse. It can also be seen from the comparison that the mainland Chinese waste management system has its special features. These features should be borne in mind when interpreting waste statistics from the Chinese sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Guangzhou
  • Hong Kong
  • Solid waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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