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Photo by Cheong Meng

Members of the Waste No Mall group (from left to right): volunteer Silvia Ng Ka I, Capricorn Leong Ho-fei, Benvinda dos Santos, Annie Lao Ka-weng, volunteer Flora Fong Lai-wa

prepare them for proper recycling and how to avoid their overall use. Consulting the Waste No Mall Facebook page, interested residents learn about the ‘collection depots’ where the programme takes place once every month. Leong believes that around 70 to 80 per cent of the items thrown out by people daily could be recycled or reused. “For example,” she says, “the paper or plastic – which is the most [waste] we create every day – if we treat it correctly, it could be recycled into plastic raw material again.” After the plastic and paper are collected, the recyclable waste is then shipped to a factory in Thailand where it is further processed. Leong believes that Macao should be responsible for its own waste. “If you find it’s difficult to separate so much rubbish,” she says, “then you have to try to minimise the rubbish in your life.” Two years ago, when Typhoon Hato hit the city, Leong credits the storm for raising awareness on the impact of rubbish in Macao. “The changing point was Hato, where people could see and feel the amount of trash [generated in the city],” she says. 24

However, Leong sees the difficulty of managing Macao’s territory-wide waste because of the large number of visitors who, she claims, ‘do not seem to share the same concern about the local environment as many residents do’. Another local similarly concerned about the situation in Macao is Wong Cheong-hong, the managing director of Kashun Environmental Protection Limited, a company that recycles plastics and crude oil. Wong says that an estimated 80 tonnes – nearly the weight of a Boeing 757-200 plane – of recyclable plastic refuse, which hails from businesses like laundromats and restaurants, is received by his company every month. He says this can include broken or old blue and green garbage bins that service Macao’s waste. All the plastic received by Wong’s company is broken down into smaller pieces, before being washed and then turned into rice grain-like pellets that are packaged and sent to China as raw materials. Kashun is one of only two plants in Macao that deals with recycling plastic – and he worries that he’ll not

be able to continue soon due to the costs of running the machines and paying the factory space rents. “I began my company in 2008,” he says, “and the recycling factory opened in 2017, but now the landlord wants to increase the rent and I don’t have the heart to try and stay. If I don’t have the space to work, then I don’t work.” The recycler has found that the amount of plastic in Macao has increased over the years – with much of it unfit to be recycled. He says sometimes the volume is also too much for his company to handle.

The eco-warrior With every year comes a new batch of eco-warriors. And one such young eco-activist in Macao is Annie Lao Ka-weng. In August last year, she raised an online petition to ban the use of singleplastics in the SAR. Her petition has garnered, to date, around 8,000 signatures and contains facts from a 2017 Environmental Protection Bureau report which noted that, on average, each person in Macao produces 2.16kg

Profile for Macaulink

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...