Barriers to effective Waste Management in Macao SAR: Towards Policy Development and Implementation

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2010

15 Pages

Solomon Amuno (Author)



Macau is situated 60 kilometres southwest of Hong Kong SAR, and 145 kilometres from Guangzhou, Southern China1. It consists of the Macau Peninsula, and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The peninsula is formed by the Zhujiang (known as the Pearl River) estuary on the East and the Xijiang (West River) on the West2. According to Yan (2006)3, the 17th Century land reclamation process transformed Macau into a peninsula of flat terrain.

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However, in recent years, empirical studies have shown that the economic boom of Macau is attracting numerous people from different parts of the world to enjoy the benefits of the gaming industry, by living, visiting or working in the region (IACM, 2009; Ambiente, 2005). It is now dawning on the society that such unprecedented economic development and population growth, are also having significant side effect on the environmental quality of the region, by the increasing volume of solid wastes generated over the last two decades.

According to Davis and Cornwell (1998), solid waste is the “generic term used to describe the things we throw away. It includes useless materials or products we commonly describe as garbage, refuse and trash that lack economic value. Solid wastes are produced through intensive economic activities, industrial development, ways of life, and consumption patterns of societies.

Statistical data exists that confirm the increasing trends of average monthly income and household consumption expenditure of the Macao people due to economic development, following the liberalization of the gaming industry from 2002.

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Solid wastes management refers to the “system of collecting, treatment and disposal of solid wastes generated by all urban population groups in an environmentally and socially satisfactory manner using the most economical means available (World Bank, 2008). It involves the planning, design, financing, construction, and operations of facilities for the collection, transportation, processing, recycling, and final disposal of residual solid wastes materials (Shah 2000).

The major objective of solid wastes management is to ensure that discarded materials are evacuated from the environment just in time to minimize the likelihood of the spread of diseases (Davis and Cornwell, 1998). The major driving forces of environmental change, leading to increasing volume of solid wastes generation in Macau are as a result of factors, such as tourism, population growth, and change in the consumption pattern of indigenous citizens and visitors in the teritory. Empirical studies have shown that the economy of Macau is heavily reliant on the tourism, and gambling sector, both representing more than 40% of the territory’s GNP(Ambiente, 2005). The booming of the tourism industry has been a positive turning-point to the local economy and socio- economic condition of the Macau people.

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Over the last two decades, the region has been generating an increasing volume of solid wastes as the local population increases, via tourism and economic development (due to a change in consumption and in income levels) of the local citizens as reiterated. International economic organizations, such as the World Bank has classified Macau, as a high income economy following the GDP per capita of the region in 2007 at USD 30,0004. Infact, this economic boom has been a result of the rising expenditure of mainland visitors, and other tourists visiting Macau.

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Source: Statistics based on macau statistics and census services5

At the moment, Macau has attained the status of the “Far East Monte Carlo”, due to its well established gaming industry6. In recent years, the industry has become one of the most prominent feature of Macau, which is the number one gambling center in the Asia - Pacific region.


1Macau Yearbook 2007, 475.

2"Macau Geography". Retrieved 2009-01-06.

3 Yan. "Zhuhai Gongbei Checkpoint Opens Earlier". New Guangdong newsgd. Retrieved 2009-09-06.


5 Tourism Statistics 2006, "Tourism Statistics", Macau Census. "Visitors Arrivals for October 2007", Macau Census

6 Macau Foundation, 2006

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Barriers to effective Waste Management in Macao SAR: Towards Policy Development and Implementation
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Solomon Amuno (Author), 2010, Barriers to effective Waste Management in Macao SAR: Towards Policy Development and Implementation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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