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From awareness to action in sustainable waste management : a case study on waste reduction education to foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong

Solving the waste problem is one of the most challenging environmental missions for Hong Kong. Currently, the amount of waste generated has reached an unsustainable level. Hong Kong’s domestic waste disposal rate is significantly higher than other international cities like Tokyo, Taipei City and Seoul. With present trends, this mounting waste has been filled up the three landfill sites at a rate much faster than anticipated. Hong Kong SAR Government is hoping to expand the landfill site and build incinerator(s). However, these plans have not been well-received by the public. Waste reduction at source would be a significant alternative for Hong Kong instead.

Environmental education (EE) is a vital component of achieving sustainable waste management. This is the best strategy to help reduce waste at source. Among all the targeted trainees, it is found that little local and international research has been done on the potential role of Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs) in waste management. FDHs make up a significant proportion of the Hong Kong population. They are one of the best candidates to learn and implement sustainable waste management in the households. Thus, this study looks into the current EE to FDHs and analyses how to send green message among FDHs in an effective way.

A framework of indicators for an effective waste reduction education program to FDHs is constructed as to help evaluate the performance of EE providers for FDHs. Information regarding current EE to FDHs is obtained from reviewing publicly available information and by conducting in-depth interviews with related personnel and stakeholders. To reconfirm the need and importance of providing EE to FDHs, a questionnaire survey to FDHs is developed and a pilot EE program to FDHs is designed and implemented.

This study found that the current EE to FDHs is inadequate and ineffective. The knowledge of FDHs in waste reduction is not comprehensive and few of them have had green housekeeping habits. Through providing appropriate training incorporating the indicators identified, FDHs are enabled to proceed from having the right awareness to taking action in the households. The success of the pilot EE program to FDHs also gave us an insight into the importance of adequate and quality EE to the community. It is hoped that the suggestions being put forward in this study can guide Hong Kong in achieving the target of zero waste. / published_or_final_version / Environmental Management / Master / Master of Science in Environmental Management
Date January 2013
CreatorsSo, Yin-fong, Yvonne, 蘇燕芳
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Source SetsHong Kong University Theses
Detected LanguageEnglish
RightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works., Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License
RelationHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)

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