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Clean team: Tackling metropolitan waste with MAN

Much refuse on little land: In the densely populated metropolises of Hong Kong and Macau, waste disposal becomes an increasingly demanding challenge. The waste management utilities of these Chinese cities depend on the technology and services rendered by MAN.

Driver Kong Sai in the driver's cab of his MAN TGM

Blue MAN TGM on a street of Macau

Located about 50 kilometres west of Hong Kong in a special administrative region, the city of Macau initially evokes images of casinos, gambling and booming tourism – for Macau is on its way to outstripping Las Vegas as a casino hotspot. Yet just as in the gamblers’ paradise in the American desert, the town on the Chinese south coast is faced with a growing waste problem.

Kong Sai works as a driver at CSR, a local refuse management and recycling company with 670 employees. CSR belongs to SUEZ Recycling and Waste Recovery Asia, one of the largest recycling and waste processing service providers in the world. Men such as Kong Sai toil daily in the background to keep the city clean and attractive. In this case, that work is performed in an MAN truck, specifically a night blue MAN TGM with the license plate MQ46TM.

Hong Kong, a “fragrant port” no more

In nearby Hong Kong, the situation is much more dramatic. Nearly eight million residents are crowded into 1,104 square kilometres, which not only renders Hong Kong a significant economic and financial player, but also makes it one of the most densely populated areas in the People’s Republic. So even though the megacity’s name is translated as “fragrant port”, it has long since lost its sweet-smelling air and often merely reeks.

Low-emission and environmentally friendly

In matters of recycling and waste processing, Hong Kong also relies on MAN trucks. Every day, 8,000 tonnes of refuse are delivered to the West New Territories Landfill disposal site. Initially, self-driving SUEZ vessels carry the waste from a collecting point to the landfill, where 33 MAN trucks of the TGX and TGS model ranges await to further transport the refuse containers.

“MAN trucks operate with low emissions and always according to the latest environmental standards,” confirms Madison Tang, the deputy director of the SUEZ branch in Hong Kong and Macau, who also studied automotive engineering. “Our contracting authority, the city of Hong Kong, places much value on that fact.”

What does the daily routine actually look like in these urban areas? We accompanied Kong Sai and his colleague Mui Wai Kwok, who coordinates the truck fleet in Hong Kong:

Driver Kong Sai behind the steering wheel of his MAN TGM

Colonial town with waste issues

Kong Sai in the drivers’ cab of his night blue MAN TGM. “There is not a single corner in this city unfamiliar to me,” he says. Local knowledge is essential in Macau, the former colonial town, for hilly and narrow lanes are quite challenging for truck drivers.

Waste container is unloaded from a MAN TGM

Underway to the incineration site

Kong Sai and his colleagues collect 800 tonnes of garbage daily, which they transport in their MAN TGM vehicles to the incinerator. This amounts to about 1.5 kilogrammes of waste per capita every day.

Blue waste container on a street of Macau

Tremendous growth in Macau

Macau is a rapidly growing city. Where once there were green fields just a few years ago, buildings with up to 30 floors are now rising into the sky. The quarter of Habitacao de Seac Pai Van alone houses about 10,000 people and the refuse produced by residents is collected in blue containers.

Driver Kong Sai

Satisfied driver

At the age of 19, Kong Sai left a small farming village to come to the city, obtained his truck driver’s license and took up his job at CSR. He loves working with his 13-tonne TGM, a “real all-round wonder,” he raves. The truck, he says, is “resilient, reliable and features a new automatic steering system.”

View on Macau from a driving truck

Clean Macau - a tourist magnet

Due to the work performed by Kong Sai and his colleagues at the recycling company CSR Macau day in and day out, Macau still is one of the cleanest and most attractive cities in the area – thus evolving into a magnet for tourists and casino patrons alike.

Driver Mui Wai Kwok in front of his truck

Logistical challenge

Some 50 kilometres to the east in Hong Kong, Mui Wai Kwok supervises the transport runs to the West New Territories Landfill. The city is 10 times the size of Macau and 8,000 tonnes of refuse must be disposed of every day. Waste managers here also rely on trucks made by MAN.

Collection point at a special ship that transports the waster to the landfill

Disposal site with special ships

Initially, the waste is carried to central collection points, from where it is transported via self-operating special SUEZ vessels to the landfill.

Waste container are loaded on trucks in the harbor

Professional removal

As soon as the ships have docked at the jetty, the 33 MAN trucks are deployed. With their TGX and TGS models, the drivers handle the waste container transfer to the huge disposal site.

MAN TGX and TGS trucks at the disposal ramp

Reliability is key

Roughly 500 refuse containers must be transported to the disposal ramp every day. As the logistics company cannot afford any breakdowns, it relies on the technology and services provided by MAN.

Driver Mui Wai Kwok at his steering wheel

Quality pays off

“The after-sales service provided by MAN is unbeatable,” enthuses Mui Wai Kwok, who coordinates the fleet at CSR. “If anything should become defective, replacement parts are organised in no time.”

Images: © Virgile Bertrand

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