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142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Burning need for Japanese waste solution
The Standard
Friday, November 12, 2010

Hong Kong may need to build at least five incinerators to deal with solid waste, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen believes.

Speaking in Tokyo yesterday, Tsang said he saw how Japan is able to integrate incinerators into the community.

"The one I have just visited is in the middle of a high-class residential area, next to a river and a major transit point where there is an annual throughput of two million people," he said.

"But when you go into the facility, you don't see any smoke. No odor, no noise, and it's part of the community."

Japanese experts told him the SAR would need at least one plant on Hong Kong Island, two in Kowloon and two in the New Territories.

Tsang was speaking after visiting the Tamagawa Incineration Plant, which can handle 300 tonnes of waste a day.

Efforts were made to design the buildings and the chimney at the plant to harmonize with the environment.

The bunker can store about 1,200 tonnes of refuse. Using modern technology, the plant is able to reduce the volume of waste it receives by 90 percent.

"We should study and learn lots from Japan's experience on solid waste, which will inspire Hong Kong on how garbage can be dealt with in a more effective, cleaner and more sustainable way," Tsang said.

Hong Kong generates about 18,000 tonnes of waste a day, half of which will be recycled and another half disposed of in landfills.

"We must deal with the problem of overflowing landfills with full consideration."

Tsang has said incineration might be preferable to landfill, after vowing not to press ahead with a plan to expand a landfill at the expense of a country park in the New Territories.

He made the pledge last month after lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a controversial motion repealing his executive order to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill into the Clear Water Bay Country Park by five hectares.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Lawmakers, greens find five ways to curb waste
10 November 2010
South China Morning Post

Green groups and several lawmakers have come up with an action plan to reduce by two-thirds the amount of solid waste produced in the city by 2022.

The action plan aims to cut the 9,000 tonnes of solid waste generated each day to 3,000 tonnes by then.

It was devised by 19 groups and individuals - including Green Sense, Green Power, Greeners Action, WWF and lawmakers Tanya Chan and Andrew Cheng Kar-foo.

They suggest five ways to meet the target: fee-based waste disposal; increased recycling of leftover food; raising awareness of and responsibility for waste; boosting research; and building recycling and treatment facilities.

Generating less waste and promoting reuse should be the top priorities, followed by recycling and, as a last resort, methods such as incineration and landfills, Michelle Au Wing-tsz of Friends of the Earth said.

The government thinks otherwise. Environment secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah says two incinerators will be built, at Shek Kwu Chau, off Lantau, and in Tuen Mun.

Those behind the action plan said they would try to stop the incinerators being built. "Not only do we reject this plan of introducing incinerators, we will mobilise the public in a campaign against it," Au said.

Green groups involved in the action plan said the issue of waste management had been ignored for years.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, chairman of middle-class lobby group the Professional Commons, said the city should learn from London's experience. "The former mayor of London told me they had made a mistake in building two incinerators hastily, and the city had lost the impetus to reduce waste," Lai said.

Lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who was involved in the action plan, said getting people to buy only what they needed was critical to changing the habits of those in the world's most wasteful city. She said business would likely be in favour of the incinerators. "Asking everybody to reduce waste is tantamount to asking them to buy less," she said.

A Baptist University survey released last week concluded the city should build five more incinerators, not two. The report said while many Hongkongers still considered incineration unclean, technological improvements had made it a clean and effective way to dispose of waste.

And incinerators can also generate electricity. The report cited Macau, where an incinerator generates enough power for 33,000 families.

In Germany, 75 incinerators handle 18 million tonnes of rubbish a year and provide 60,000 jobs. In Japan, three-quarters of solid waste is burned and only 1.7 per cent goes to landfills, the report said.

Last year, the city generated 6.45 million tonnes of municipal solid waste - more than double the amount two decades ago and equal to 921 kilograms for each of its seven million people. The figure excludes construction and hazardous waste.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Heated pools and Deep Bay views, but it's still just a sludge incinerator
28 October 2010
South China Morning Post

Its wave-like design aims to blend in with the coast in front and the hills behind, incorporates three heated swimming pools, a viewing platform with a vista of Deep Bay, and an environmental education centre, and will produce enough energy to meet its needs and also power 3,000 homes.

Yet all these attractive features cannot disguise the fact a HK$4.9 billion facility in Tuen Mun is merely an incinerator for processing sludge from sewage treatment plants.

Needless to say, it has not won over local politicians, who staunchly oppose any idea of building a solid-waste incinerator beside it.

Tuen Mun district councillors consulted about the sludge plant's design said it would be the last unpopular facility they would accept.

Councillor Lothar Lee Hung-sham said the leisure and education facilities were a gimmick to woo Tuen Mun residents into accepting further waste incineration facilities.

"Why do we need such heated pools or an education centre? We don't need to be educated about incineration if such a facility does not exist here in the first place," he said.

The government has not ruled out seeking approval for a proposed solid waste incinerator next to the sludge incinerator in Tuen Mun, or on outlying island Shek Kwu Chau.

Yet Lee said the council strongly opposed any more polluting facilities in Tuen Mun as the district already had two power stations, a cement-making plant, steel-mill, landfill and an aviation fuel storage. Chan Shue-ying, another councillor, said the sludge plant was not opposed as they hoped it would be the final facility.

Such opposition will be a blow to officials who had hoped the extra facilities would win public acceptance of thermal waste treatment.

The government unveiled details yesterday as it announced it had awarded a contract to design, build and operate the plant to VW-VES Hong Kong, a subsidiary of French environmental giant Veolia.

The burning chamber will be hidden behind glass exterior walls with the 50-metre stacks barely visible from outside.

To allay fears over emissions, the Environmental Protection Department has also agreed to set up a new air-quality monitoring station in Tuen Mun to closely track air pollution in the area, but its exact location has not been decided.

The incinerator, at the northern end of the Tsang Tsui ash lagoon, is environment officials' long-awaited solution for treating the foul-smelling sludge now dumped in landfill sites.

Able to handle 2,000 tonnes of sludge a day, the facility will take all of the 800 tonnes now produced each day, which is expected to grow to 1,500 tonnes in 2014.

Officials have blamed the undesirable practice of burying the sludge in landfills for creating a bad smell affecting Tseung Kwan O residents. With incineration, the landfills will take only the burnt residue.

Edward Yau Tang-wah, the environment secretary, hailed the plan, saying it would incorporate the latest incineration technology and meet the most stringent emission standards in the world. "The project shows modern technology can offer a much better solution and also provide facilities that will be popular with the local community," he said after a ceremony to sign the contracts.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Residents raise stink over Tuen Mun schemes
The Standard
Monday, November 29, 2010

More than 100 Tuen Mun residents rallied outside the Central Government Offices yesterday against plans to expand a landfill and build a sludge treatment facility in the district.

Along with Albert Ho Chun-yan, lawmaker for New Territories West which includes Tuen Mun, protesters marched from the Legislative Council to government headquarters, where they handed over a petition letter.

Holding up a banner saying "No Unpopular Facilities," the group claims the new plans will worsen environmental pollution in Tuen Mun - already home to many "unpopular" facilities, such as two fuel tanks, a power station and a landfill.

The government proposes to expand the current landfill from 110 hectares to 270 hectares.

One of the petitioners, who did not give his name, said he can hardly bear to open the windows in his house.

"My health has been seriously affected by the odor spreading from the landfill near my home," he said.

Ho, also the Democratic Party chairman, urged an immediate stop to the proposal to expand the landfill, saying Tuen Mun cannot accommodate any additional waste facilities.

About 500,000 people live in Tuen Mun, representing 14 percent of the Hong Kong population. The district handles one-third of the city's daily solid waste, Ho said. "Each district should take responsibility in dealing with the increasing waste and limited capacity for landfills," he said.

The group also protested against the HK$4.96 billion project for the territory's first sludge treatment plant in Tuen Mun. The contract was signed late last month with VW-VES (HK), a subsidiary of the French firm Veolia Environnement.

The plant has been named "Tuen Yuen" - which in Cantonese means "Tuen Mun is Hong Kong's cradle of environmental protection."

Authorities say the facility will treat up to 2,000 tonnes of sludge a day when it starts operations in 2013, and will be able to reduce the volume of sludge by up to 90 percent.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dump fight looms again
The Standard
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The government intends to apply for a judicial review against Legco's move to repeal an executive order to shrink a country park for a landfill extension - and in the process risk a constitutional crisis, sources say.

Lawmakers last month overwhelmingly passed a motion repealing an order by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen to shrink the Clear Water Bay Country Park by five hectares to make way for an expanded landfill in Tseung Kwan O.

The administration is understood to have sought the opinion of a Queen's Counsel in Britain, who said the Legislative Council does not have the power to overrule the chief executive, sources told Sing Tao Daily, sister publication of The Standard.

Tsang pledged not to press on with the plan after the vote. But when asked at that time if his administration would seek a judicial review, Tsang said Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung was handling the case and studying Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing's ruling before deciding what steps to take.

Residents and lawmakers strongly opposed expanding the dumping site, which they said creates a bad smell and is already a nuisance facility.

The advice from the British QC has emboldened officials, who have been under pressure to expand rubbish treatment and disposal facilities amid political wrangling ahead of district council elections and legislative elections in the next two years.

After considering all legal points, a source said, the government is inclined to seek a judicial review of the legislature's stand against the chief executive.

There could be a challenge to the motion that repealed the order or to the decision by Jasper Tsang to allow the debate that led to the motion being passed.

The administration has already argued that Legco does not have the right to repeal an order from the chief executive.

But legislators have responded by pointing to their powers to make and unmake laws, including those that regulate country parks.

Legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit said yesterday that the administration's intention to seek a judicial review is "beyond comprehension" and the challenge can "result in shock." A judicial review is "well past appropriate timing," he added, and a "bold step to take."

Legco president Tsang could not be reached for comment last night.

The administration last month postponed any action on the plan to expand the landfill for 14 months - from November 1 to January 1, 2012 - in what was seen as a concession to legislators.

It would give them time to study the plan's implications, the administration said, though Environment Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah noted that a landfill would still be needed.

Experts have said the Tseung Kwan O landfill could be full by 2013.

4 Posts
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142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hong Kong must act quickly to tackle imminent waste problem
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Government Press Release

The Government announced today (January 4) a comprehensive waste management strategy and action plan to tackle the imminent waste problem facing Hong Kong.

The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, said, "The Government has devised a concrete action plan which includes a number of initiatives to reduce waste at source, coupled with modern waste treatment facilities and extension of landfills, to tackle the imminent waste problem using a multi-pronged approach."

At present, about 13,300 tonnes of waste are disposed of at landfills every day, of which about 9,000 tonnes comprise non-recyclable municipal solid waste (MSW), 900 tonnes are sludge generated from the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme or other sewerage treatment processes, and about 3,200 tonnes are attributable to construction waste.

As the three existing landfills are expected to approach full capacity one-by-one from 2014 onwards, Hong Kong has an urgent need to enhance its waste management systems.

"The foremost task is reducing waste at source and our success rests on how we coordinate hardware facilities as well as achieving behavioural change among the public. Recycling facilities already cover 80% of the Hong Kong community. However, the Government will step up its efforts on this front. We will look into ways to encourage waste reduction and recovery through economic means. Our target is to increase the waste recovery rate from the current 49% to 55% in 2015," Mr Yau said.

The major tasks for reducing waste at source include strengthening district recycling facilities and networks on various fronts, implementing the next stage of the Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS), including stage two of the plastic shopping bag levy scheme and the PRS for waste electrical and electronic equipment, as well as launching a public consultation on MSW charging.

Mr Yau also pointed out that our current practice of relying on landfills alone in treating waste is not sustainable. Hong Kong must follow other advanced economies by planning to adopt modern technology such as a waste incineration facility and a food waste processing facility to raise our standards of waste treatment.

He stressed that these facilities would comply with the highest environmental standards. Besides relieving the pressure on landfills by significantly reducing the volume of waste, they can also transform waste into energy. They are an essential component of a modern waste management strategy.

As regards the proposed extension of the Tseung Kwan O landfill (also known as the South East New Territories landfill), Mr Yau noted that the Government was aware of the strong views opposing the plan and also of its proximity to residential area.

"After two months of thorough consideration, the Government has decided to amend the original proposal of expanding Tseung Kwan O landfill by 20.6 hectares. Firstly, the Administration will not seek to utilise the five hectares of land inside Clear Water Bay Country Park for landfill extension. Secondly, the Administration will reduce the area of landfill extension in Tseung Kwan O Area 137 to around 13 hectares. Thirdly, in response to the concern of the Sai Kung District Council, we have decided under the landfill extension project that only odourless waste (such as construction waste) will be sent to the Tseung Kwan O landfill with a view to further relieving the odour problem of Tseung Kwan O landfill," he said.

He explained that as certain procedures have to be completed prior to the development of the integrated waste treatment facility, it might not be commissioned until 2018. In the short-term, the Government must make further preparations for the ongoing utilisation of the landfills. The Government must earmark and level the land needed for the disposal of solid waste generated daily in Hong Kong before the landfills are filled up.

In the medium and long-term, even with continuous efforts in waste reduction and including modern incineration facilities, Hong Kong will still need landfills to cater for unavoidable waste such as municipal solid waste, which cannot be treated due to the limited scale of incineration facilities, as well as non-combustible waste and incineration ashes.

Mr Yau said that by diverting waste to suitable facilities and after the commissioning of other waste management facilities (such as the sludge treatment facility and organic waste treatment facility), it was estimated that the lifespan of the Tseung Kwan O landfill could be extended to around 2020 under the amended proposal, thus allowing for a period of overlap with the planning of a new permanent construction waste transfer facility. The new proposals have already minimised the area of extension of the landfill in order to address the concern of local residents.

"The way forward I have just outlined provides a clear blueprint for the waste management in Hong Kong in 2030 and it can be taken forward only with the concerted efforts of the community as a whole, relevant districts, political parties, councillors and the general public. We hope that the Legislative Council will offer realistic and attainable views on the Government's strategy and share responsibility with a pragmatic attitude and in the best interests of the whole community. We look forward to the understanding of the public towards the imminent waste management problem and their support for our work by participating in waste reduction and recovery and making good use of resources," Mr Yau concluded.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Landfill challenge scrapped
The Standard
Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The administration has backed down on a plan for part of a country park to become a landfill.

It has decided not to mount a legal challenge against a Legislative Council resolution to halt its waste-dumping plan.

A chief executive's order to use five hectares of Clear Water Bay Country Park to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill was knocked back by a legislative resolution in October.

So a constitutional crisis loomed when the administration said it was ready to seek a judicial review on the repeal.

But Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying-yen emerged from an Executive Council meeting yesterday to say there will not be a move into court. The decision was made to maintain a "good relationship" between the executive and legislative councils, Tang said.

But he argued that the administration backing down does not set a precedent and it reserves the right to seek a court review of its powers.

Indeed, said Tang, officials hold to their view that legislators cannot undo an order from the chief executive.

According to Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung, that is also the view of two QCs - Lord Pannick from the United Kingdom and former Hong Kong attorney-general Michael Thomas.

Tang said the Country Parks Ordinance and the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance stipulate that the chief executive and the Legislative Council cannot repeal such an order, which is subsidiary legislation after being passed by the Executive Council.

"Even if there were any legal flaw, it is not for Legco to assume the role of the court to correct it by repealing the order," Tang said in a letter sent to Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok- sing.

Eric Cheung Tat-ming, an assistant professor in the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law, said a nonlegal resolution is strange.

In fact, he said, by maintaining that the legislature has done something wrong but not seeking a legal review it "sounds like they are doing something that they think is illegal."

Legislators welcomed the decision. The Civic Party's Tanya Chan Suk- chong, who tabled the motion to reject the landfill plan, believes the decision is solely a political consideration. But the administration has not clarified the role of the legislature, she added.

Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said staying out of court means a good relationship between legislators and the administration can be maintained.

Legislative president Tsang, meanwhile, said a panel will study the role of councillors in amending legislation.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Public should prepare for waste disposal charge, minister warns
6 January 2011
South China Morning Post

Hongkongers should expect to be charged for waste disposal as a way of encouraging recycling, the environment minister warned yesterday.

Edward Yau Tang-wah said the 49 per cent recycling rate needed to be significantly lifted because landfill sites were filling up quickly.

But Yau said the city needed to go beyond that level. "If we want to go further, we need to start discussing a waste charge based on volume.

"This might be controversial but overseas experiences show it will be difficult to reduce waste without proper economic means."

On Tuesday Yau outlined a revised strategy to deal with the mounting waste, reducing it by recycling and other treatments such as incineration. He said the three existing landfills would all be full at different stages by 2018.

But Yau admitted a waste disposal charge alone would not be sufficient to address the waste problems facing the city.

"There is currently a waste charge in Taipei but it doesn't mean they won't have incinerators or landfills."

Despite calls by residents for the Tseung Kwan O landfill to close, Yau said landfills would always be needed in any city, no matter how much waste was reduced and treated.

Even if a proposed incinerator with a waste handling capacity of 3,000 tonnes daily was built, there would still be about 4,500 tonnes of waste requiring further disposal.

This figure excludes another 2,000 tonnes of sludge from sewage treatment, which will be incinerated at another new facility which is currently under construction.

"In this case, we have to build either one more incinerator or we put them in the landfill," Yau said. "But exactly how we should handle this will be up to the public to choose."

Yau said that in future most wet waste such as sludge and kitchen waste would be diverted to treatment facilities instead of being dumped in landfills.

Sites deemed suitable for a waste incinerator, designed to burn 3,000 tonnes of waste a day, will be made public in March. Officials have not ruled out the possibility that incinerators might be built on both of the two short-listed sites - Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun and Shek Kwu Chau.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Recycle call to stop SAR going to waste
The Standard
Monday, January 10, 2011

A newly formed political party has accepted weight-based waste charges suggested by Environment Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah but says it is more important to encourage reduction and recycling.

"We need to promote an even stronger recycling culture in Hong Kong and reduce our rubbish," Neo Democrats community officer Ben Chung Kam-lun said during a demonstration at the Central Government Offices.

Despite government efforts to encourage recycling, most rubbish bins in residential estates are misused as many people do not separate their trash.

A case in point is Lei Muk Shue Estate in Kwai Chung, where recycling bins on every level were either unused, or contained the wrong material.

The Legislative Council aims to have recycling bins on every level in every public housing estate by 2012.

Recycling bins in private estates are the responsibility of building owners and many simply do not bother. And many residents prefer to sell recyclables to junk dealers.

The shelving of government plans to use parts of Clear Water Bay Country Park to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill will merely pave the way for more landfills, Chung believes.

"Increasing landfills is not a solution. We need to start from our homes and reduce waste," he said.

The party urged the government to follow the example of Taipei, where residents are required to buy specially printed biodegradable bags for waste disposal. This has reduced waste by a third while doubling recycling.

At the end of their protest, the party presented a government representative with its proposals for reducing waste, as well as a sample of the bags used in Taipei.

For many who attended the protest, a solution to the waste problem is of critical concern.

Francis Yam Kai-bong, 32, who has a 16-month-old son, said: "I want there to still be a Hong Kong when my son grows up, not a bunch of rubbish hills."

3 Posts
Hello everyone....
I am a huge environmentalist but i have a problem there is paper recycling near my house but nothing else no glass plastic cans nothing but paper recycling young and it makes me sad cause i feel so wasteful throwing away stuff i know can be recycled so can someone explain to me how those businesses work and if thereis anything i can do about it

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We all need to pitch in to solve waste problem
8 January 2011
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong's innovative thinking, wealth and technological prowess mean that many challenges that come our way can be overcome - some easily, some with hard work and determination. That has been shown time and again with impressive infrastructure projects that are the envy of other governments. But while we are able to engineer eye-catching buildings, subway systems and bridges, we are not so good at re-engineering a basic element of city living - the rubbish we produce, or specifically, the amount of it. With our landfills nearing capacity, we have no option other than to be less wasteful.

There is much work to do. In terms of municipal solid refuse, we are the most wasteful place in the world, with each of us producing 921kg in 2009. That is more than twice the amounts generated in Taiwan and South Korea, places with a similar development level and cultural background. It is not an achievement we can be proud of nor be willing to hold on to for long.

None of us can shirk our responsibility to generate less waste. The government has a significant role to play by promptly putting in place measures that have been on the table or planned for years, but left unimplemented for fear of upsetting various groups. Companies behind the products that we buy have to agree to strict packaging and recycling policies, while consumers have to do their bit by following the rules, thinking twice about what they buy and applying some of that can-do spirit that we are famous for.

We are at this juncture because so few of us have developed an environmental consciousness. Recycling of household rubbish, at so advanced a stage in other developed societies, remains rudimentary here. Hong Kong has limited space, which makes sustainability essential. The warnings have been ignored, and before the decade is out there will not be any room left in the three landfills.

The government's reluctance to respond decisively has not helped. It laid out a waste management framework in 1998, putting in place reduction targets that were repeatedly missed. Another scheme replaced it in 2005; it set out measures and a timetable to 2014 for reducing waste generation and increasing recycling. A landfill charge for construction waste has been highly effective, cutting the amounts being put into landfills by half, but a solid-waste levy and the building of incinerators remain on the drawing board.

No one wants to live next to a landfill or incinerator. Nonetheless, these have to be part of any effective management scheme. Incinerator technology has improved greatly since Hong Kong shut its last one down in 1997. The two that the government has planned for opening in 2016 and 2018 - if work on them starts soon - would produce few emissions and could double as power generators.

We need to move ahead on these plans now that the government's plan to extend the Tseung Kwan O landfill into the neighbouring country park has been abandoned amid public outrage. The authorities' lack of commitment led to the possibility of a legal battle over the powers of the executive and legislature after lawmakers voted the proposal down. Such reticence has to stop so that the needed measures can be enacted.

There is no need for more consultation. The overwhelming acceptance of the plastic bag levy proves that. It should be extended to all retail outlets. Voluntary schemes do not work when it comes to reducing waste. While we each have to be more responsible, laws, charges and rules are needed for the right mindset. We all need to pitch in. And we need leadership to show us the path forward.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Super-incinerator should not be built on picturesque island
13 January 2011

While I broadly agree with the thrust of your leader ("We all need to pitch in to solve waste problem", January 8), I must take issue with the paragraph on incinerators.

I refer particularly to the proposal to build a "super-incinerator" on the picturesque island of Shek Kwu Chau, just off the most pristine part of the south Lantau coast and highly visible from one of Hong Kong's most beautiful beaches. It is hard to imagine a less environmentally friendly and more expensive option.

First, the capital cost to the taxpayer of reclaiming the land and building such a facility at this outlying island would be far higher than for other possible locations, including the proposal to construct one on already reclaimed and blighted land next to Castle Peak Power Station.

Second, the transportation of millions of tonnes of unsorted garbage 24/7, by a large fleet of barges plying the length of Victoria Harbour and on down the West Lamma and Adamasta channels would have the largest possible carbon footprint compared with any other option, not to mention representing an embarrassing public demonstration of Hong Kong's inability to deal with its own dirty laundry.

Third, how will it be possible to connect this remote station to the electricity grid to obtain the supposed energy by-product at a reasonable cost in monetary and environmental terms? The question of fly-ash disposal must also be addressed.

Fourth, the visual intrusion from this gargantuan plant close to prime beaches, a marine park designate and Cheung Chau harbour is incompatible with south Lantau's designation as an area for "recreation and conservation", according to Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen's Lantau development concept plan of 2006. It would be a particularly depressing prospect for Lantau residents, visitors and small businesses alike.

This incinerator would not be the sort of benign facility that some of our district and legislative councillors were shown on a recent junket to Tokyo, which is located on a brownfield industrial site. The Hong Kong incinerator(s) will be at least twice as large. In Tokyo, waste arrives directly in the collection trucks, which are driven under cover for final sorting. This is totally different from going from truck to barge, barge to landing stage then by some means into the incinerator.

The government is hinting that two incinerators will be needed - in other words it is planning for growth in waste production - a very inappropriate message to be sending out at this juncture.

While incineration may relieve, in the short term, some of the pressure on landfills, as proposed it will do nothing to alter the mindset of Hong Kong (its government in particular) towards taking real responsibility for reducing and managing waste in line with standards that a "world city" should long ago have attained. It is simply throwing taxpayers' money at the problem, while incidentally generating some juicy contracts for its beloved construction companies.

John Schofield, Living Islands Movement

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
HK$25b price tag for new facilities to tackle waste
19 January 2011

Environmental officials put a price tag yesterday on their proposed solutions to Hong Kong's mounting waste problem: HK$25 billion to build new facilities and an additional HK$950 million a year in operating costs.

The amount, set out in a submission to lawmakers, includes the combined capital costs of a mega-incinerator capable of burning 3,000 tonnes of waste each day; two organic waste treatment facilities; and extending landfills in Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and North District.

The Environmental Protection Department provided no breakdown of the costs yesterday. It is not yet known how the expenditures will be funded.

Hong Kong is racing against time to prevent a waste crisis after the government ditched one of three proposals for extending landfills amid strong public opposition.

Officials have said they plan to step up recycling and waste reduction through financial incentives or other policy moves - but an urgent need remains for new waste disposal options besides landfills.

Despite the huge spending, which would be more than enough to build and operate the whole West Kowloon Cultural District, officials have dropped strong hints that the city's waste incineration capability might have to be doubled in the long term.

Recycling efforts will fall short by 8,000 tonnes of municipal waste by 2015, officials estimate - even under the unrealistic assumption that waste generation were to show no growth in the next five years.

In the past decade, waste produced by Hong Kong people and their visitors grew by 21 per cent, from 5.3 million tonnes in 2001 to 6.4 million tonnes in 2009.

"Having regard to the volume of waste that we generate today, we consider there may be a need for one further integrated-waste management facility of the capacity of 3,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day and some more organic waste treatment facilities," the Environment Protection Department said.

"We would launch a site search for this purpose while looking into the potential of private sector projects that can provide the waste treatment services."

The public will soon be consulted about the proposed site for the first waste incinerator in 13 years. The last old-waste burning chamber was closed in 1997.

The two shortlisted sites are Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun, and Shek Kwu Chau south of Lantau. The latter site would take longer to complete as it would involve sea reclamation.

Apart from the two places, Green Island Cement, a subsidiary of Cheung Kong group controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, has been promoting its waste-to-cement technology, which it claims could be much cheaper and faster to build than conventional incineration.

Green Island says the facility would require no more than four years to plan, build and commission, and the capital cost would be only around HK$2 billion, with annual running costs estimated at HK$200 million a year.

The company is unhappy that its cement production plan at Tap Shek Kok in Tuen Mun is excluded from the government's site selection process for waste incineration.

Environment officials say they would consider the project in the longer term if the company can demonstrate the technical viability of the technology, satisfy environmental impact assessment requirements, and consult district councils.

Michelle Au Wing-tze, a senior environmental affairs officer said it was vital for the government to make sure the tendering process was fair and that it should be "open to all to bid".

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Diners support plan to cut food waste by 15pc
28 January 2011

More than 100 corporations and government departments are joining a campaign to reduce food waste by cutting two courses from their Lunar New Year banquets.

Campaign organiser Friends of the Earth said having two fewer courses at banquets would cut food waste by 15 per cent. It is urged people to bring food boxes to banquets and take home any leftovers.

So far, 81 government departments, 55 corporations and two business chambers have adopted the waste prevention methods at their celebrations.

Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying and Council for Sustainable Development chairman Bernard Chan also initiated their own campaign to cut two courses from banquets earlier this week. About 40 restaurants, corporations and green groups have signed up to this venture.

Friends of the Earth said cutting courses in banquets could also help the public combat inflation. The six-course banquet for 12 it held yesterday cost HK$3,000 - HK$600 less than the original nine courses proposed by the restaurant.

The green group said that diners mostly cut courses with shark's fin and fat choy, a type of algae that loosens the soil and exacerbates desertification when it is harvested.

Secretary for Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah said it was important corporations and departments planned their banquets well. "Most people go to these occasions to socialise, rather than for the food. Food doesn't play a great role in banquets, and a lot ends up wasted."

In 2009, 3,280 tonnes of food went in landfills each day, with 964 tonnes of it from the commercial sector.

Edwin Lau Chi-fung, assistant director of Friends of the Earth, said he hoped malls and estates would soon introduce food waste recycling facilities. He would also like to see a tax implemented on food waste.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sustainable waste management strategy long overdue in HK
9 February 2011

I refer to the article by Bernard Chan ("Can we dispose of our growing waste problem?" January 28).

As an academic who is interested in waste management and recycling, I would say we cannot. But Hong Kong should manage its waste problem in a more sustainable way. To achieve the recently promulgated 55 per cent municipal solid waste recycling rate, incentives must be in place to encourage waste producers to reduce and recycle more waste.

Producer responsibility schemes and municipal solid waste charging have been effective in many places, by reducing waste generation. The success of the plastic bag levy is a good example. The government should expedite policy formulation and legislative processes to implement such incentives.

Mr Chan rightly said it would be difficult to impose volume or mass-related waste charges on individual households as implementation and enforcement would be complex with our high-rises and compact residential housing. But government statistics show that the most worrying trend in terms of waste increase is the increasing quantity of commercial waste (from malls, hotels, fast-food chains and airports).

It is easy to appreciate the problem if you think about the amount of waste generated after a fast food meal or when taking a flight into or out of Hong Kong. Disposal of such waste in Hong Kong is free. Incentives or penalties (in the form of a waste disposal charge) can discourage the indiscriminate use of one-off disposable items and encourage more recycling of waste. Implementing a charging scheme first for industrial and commercial waste would face hurdles. But it would be easier to get public and Legco support, if the administration was committed to putting in place a sustainable waste management policy.

While waste reduction and recovery should continue to be the main focus in the overall waste management strategy, there would still be substantial quantities of waste that cannot be recycled and need to be properly disposed of. We can learn from cities that are similar to Hong Kong, such as Taipei, Tokyo and Singapore. Their experiences prove that there is a need to develop thermal waste treatment facilities. With the advances made in combustion and air emission control technologies, modern incinerators offer environmentally acceptable technology that can effectively reduce the volume of waste requiring final disposal.

The not-in-my-backyard reaction to the siting of waste management facilities exists everywhere. Hong Kong is just too small to regionally demarcate waste management responsibilities too rigidly given the environmental constraints of siting these facilities. The government must work out with the affected local communities a package of appropriate community measures so that the opposition to the siting of these facilities can be alleviated.

C. S. Poon, professor and director, Research Centre for Environmental Technology and Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Waste plan for Lantau waters
18 February 2011
The Standard

The government prefers building an incinerator south of Lantau Island over another site in Tuen Mun, environmental minister Edward Yau Tang-wah said yesterday.

The Integrated Waste Management Facilities will involve the creation of an artificial island south of Shek Kwu Chau and west of Cheung Chau, sparking concerns from environmentalists it may affect the habitat of protected dolphins.

The facilities are expected to be completed in 2018 should the Legislative Council's finance committee approve the funding.

The government expects the incinerator will be able to treat about 3,000 tonnes of waste a day.

Secretary for the Environment Yau said the site was chosen over Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun partly because of the shorter transportation time and the lower impact on the neighborhood.

The city's three refuse transfer stations are now located at Island West, Island East and West Kowloon. He described the route for shipping the waste from the stations to Shek Kwu Chau as ``a much shorter one, at least one third or one quarter shorter than the journey taken to Tuen Mun.''

There is only a drug rehab center on Shek Kwu Chau, which houses about 200 people.

Yau said the new facilities may also may help boost economic activities in the area.

The project will require the reclamation of 15.9 hectares for the facilities, a berthing area and a breakwater.

On worries about the environmental impact, Yau said an assessment report released yesterday showed the project is considered environmentally acceptable if mitigation measures are carried out.

The report said 31 hectares of habitat will be lost due to the reclamation and the creation of an embayment area within a breakwater.

The government consultancy proposes to set aside a marine park of about 700 hectares in the waters between the Soko Islands and Shek Kwu Chau as compensation.

WWF senior conservation officer Alan Leung Sze-lun said: ``It is a very important habitat for the finless porpoise. The project has a direct impact on the species.''

Leung and Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Samuel Hung Ka-yiu urged the government to set up the marine park as soon as possible.

Greenpeace campaigner Gloria Chang Wan-ki said she is worried about potential air pollution brought by the operation of the incinerator.

Cheung Chau residents are concerned about the fly ash and smell problems, Island district councilor Lee Kwai-chun said.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Upgraded purification system boosts Sha Tin sewage plant
7 February 2011

Hong Kong's biggest sewage-treatment plant is capable of recycling about 1,000 cubic metres of water a day, thanks to an upgraded purification system.

The 28-hectare Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works next to the racecourse handles waste water from Sha Tin and Ma On Shan districts, whose residents produce 250,000 cubic metres of sewage a day.

The sewage used to undergo basic treatment and be sent to Tolo Harbour, but since November an improved system has greatly enhanced cleanliness of the treated water, increasing its usage.

The new system purifies water with three additional delicate parts: disc filters, ultra-filtration membranes and reverse osmosis membranes. The cost of the entire water-reclamation facility is about HK$7.2 million.

Disc filters catch particulates exceeding 130 micrometres, and ultra-filtration 0.03 micrometre as well as most bacteria. Finally, the filtrate flows through reverse osmosis membranes where viruses, salts and other substances exceeding 1 nanometre in diameter are barred.

Reverse osmosis is a filtration method that removes many types of large molecules from solutions by applying pressure to the fluid when it is on one side of a membrane. That is considered an advanced technology, and this is the first time the Drainage Services Department has adopted it.

To have an idea of how small 1 micrometre is, a human hair's diameter is about 90 micrometres.

The reclaimed water produced each day - about 1,000 cubic metres - is enough to cater to about 70 per cent of the water treatment plant's needs for such things as toilet flushing and diluting chemicals.

There were plans to expand the use of the water even further, for instance to New Territories farms so farmers could save more drinking water, said Eddie Pak Kan-ming, a senior engineer at the Drainage Services Department.

However, the water was unsuitable for drinking because it lacked certain chemicals and may not be clean enough, he said. But water treated in this plant was not designed for drinking, but to help alleviate the global problem of freshwater shortage, Pak said.

About 70 to 80 per cent of Hong Kong's fresh water is imported from the Dongjiang, or East River, over a distance of more than 80 kilometres. The agreed maximum quantity of Dongjiang water for Hong Kong is 1.1 billion cubic metres a year.

But that will not be enough after 2030, according to a government forecast. So reclaiming water was one of the solutions the government devised in 2007, alongside reducing water consumption, protecting water resources and exploring new ones.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Choice of remote island for incinerator enrages critics
18 February 2011

Environmental officials have picked a remote outlying island for a controversial mega-incinerator to dispose of Hong Kong's mounting waste.

But critics say building it there will cost more, take longer and cause more environmental damage than the other potential location.

In choosing Shek Kwu Chau, about six kilometres south of Lantau, officials passed over a more widely expected site at Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun.

Critics immediately said the government wanted to avoid a bruising fight with residents who live in and round Tuen Mun and politicians who would strenuously object to an incinerator capable of burning 3,000 tonnes of waste a day in an area that already has a landfill.

As environment minister Edward Yau Tang-wah announced the long-awaited selection yesterday, an environmental impact assessment report was released for public consultation.

The selection process has been a flashpoint issue since the sites were shortlisted in 2008. Concerns were heightened when a plan to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill was rejected by lawmakers last year.

The environmental impact report released yesterday did little to resolve the controversies, however. It refrains from saying if Shek Kwu Chau or Tsang Tsui is the more acceptable choice on environmental grounds.

It concludes that both sites comply with all environmental standards, leaving it largely for government officials to decide which to pick.

Yau said the island was favoured because it would create a more balanced distribution of waste facilities throughout the city. And because it is closer to existing refuse transfer facilities in the urban area, waste transport trips would be shorter.

"Shek Kwu Chau is further away from major population centres," Yau said, "so the accumulated environmental effect will be less."

Tsang Tsui, on the far western tip of the New Territories, is located next to the city's largest landfill and close to a power generation plant and transmission grid. It also has enough land for immediate construction of an incinerator by 2016. That will be badly needed to handle the city's mounting waste crisis, officials say, because all landfills will be full by 2018.

On the island, however, up to 16 hectares of land will have to be reclaimed from the sea for the construction. Because of that, the incinerator can only be completed two years later - in 2018.

In addition, extra power cables will have to be laid in the seabed between the island and Cheung Sha to transmit the electricity generated from the incineration process.

Officials refused to say how much more it would cost to build the incinerator on the island compared with Tsang Tsui.

In order to mitigate the harm to marine habitats, whose denizens include the protected finless porpoise, the government proposes setting up a 700-hectare marine park between the Soko Islands and Shek Kwu Chau.

Ng Cho-nam, a former environment adviser to the government, said the choice was clearly a political decision that spared officials from repeating the disruption to its plan to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill last year. "They just want to avoid being defeated if they opt for the Tsang Tsui site," Ng said.

"But in doing so, they might have to sacrifice the integrity of the environmental impact assessment process."

Ng said it was apparent that the Tsang Tsui site was the more environmentally acceptable choice, as it would cause much less ecological damage, but for unknown reasons the impact study was unable even to tell which site was superior in technical terms.

Man Chi-sum, chief executive officer of Green Power, said the government had cleverly reserved the Tuen Mun site for the next round of incineration expansion.

"Officials have picked an easier one in the first place and if they succeed there they can move on to build another one in Tuen Mun," Man said. "But if they now go for the difficult one, they might end up having just one incinerator built."

Clive Noffke, from Green Lantau Association, said he very disappointed by the decision and suspected that politics was behind it.

"Tsang Tsui has land, power grid, places for ash disposal but no ecology. No doubt, it is an obvious choice."

Noffke said previous planning blueprints had long shown the South Lantau region as a conservation area; siting an incinerator there ran counter to that.

Chau Shue-ying, a Tuen Mun district councillor, welcomed the selection. "The waste problem is a responsibility for each district and everyone in Hong Kong," she said. But she was still worried that officials would pick Tuen Mun for a second incinerator.

Audrey Eu Yu-mee, a Civic Party lawmaker, also described the choice as heavily political.

"The government dares not build in Tuen Mun to avoid criticism," she said. "But this facility [on Shek Kwu Chau] is deemed to be insufficient to handle the waste generated by the city. So the government will still need to build one in Tuen Mun in the long term."

Waste produced in Hong Kong grew by 21 per cent, from 5.3 million tonnes in 2001 to 6.4 million tonnes in 2009.

On old European maps Shek Kwu Chau was known as Coffin Island. It was uninhabited until 1963, when it became a heroin treatment centre. It was used in the early 1990s as a temporary detention centre for Vietnamese boatpeople. It is still a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts.

142,767 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
LCQ7: Glass bottle recycling
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (March 2):


In its paper submitted to the Commission on Strategic Development in January this year, the Environment Bureau states that at present Hong Kong achieves 49% municipal solid waste (MSW) recovery rate but about 13,300 tonnes of waste are still disposed of at landfills every day. In order to further reduce the volume of waste to be sent to landfills, the Government indicates that the MSW recovery target will be revised upward from 49% at present to 55% by 2015. Moreover, in his reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on October 27 last year, the Secretary for the Environment indicated that on average about 255 tonnes of waste glass containers were disposed of at landfills in Hong Kong daily in 2009, which was 2.8% of the total MSW volume. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) apart from the collaboration between the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Hong Kong Hotels Association in launching a voluntary Glass Container Recycling Programme for the Hotel Sector in 2008, whether the Government had, in the past three years, provided any support to non-profit organisations and private organisations which participated in other glass recycling programmes; if it had, of the form of support, the contents and geographical coverage of such recycling programmes; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) regarding the 12-month Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles, which has been launched at six public rental housing estates in East Kowloon by EPD in collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) since January 15 this year, whether the Government has assessed its initial achievements; if it has, of the results; and

(c) whether the authorities will include the recycling of waste glass in the Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste implemented by HA and change the 3-coloured waste separation bins currently placed in public rental housing estates to 4-coloured waste separation bins; if they will, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) In 2008, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) joined hand with the Hong Kong Hotels Association to launch the Glass Container Recycling Programme for the Hotel Sector. So far, over 1,000 tonnes of glass bottles have been recovered. Besides, we have also encouraged those hotels that have not joined the recycling programme and the large catering service providers, such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, to actively organise their own glass bottles recycling and deliver the bottles collected to local recycling facilities for processing so as to facilitate recycling.

The EPD also actively supports local non-profit making organisations to organise glass bottle recycling activities locally and provides them with advice and assistance on the recycling. These activities include the glass bottle recycling campaign launched by the Hong Chi Association with fund from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to collect glass bottles at its 13 service centres throughout the territory as well as in the pub district at Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui. Besides, with funding support from the Environment and Conservation Fund, the Hong Kong Dumper Truck Drivers Association launched and promoted glass bottle recycling at the pub district in Wan Chai and some housing estates in East Hong Kong.

(b) In collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA), the EPD launched the 12-month Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles in mid December 2010 at six public rental housing estates in East Kowloon, namely, Shun Lee Estate, Shun On Estate, Shun Tin Estate, Choi Ying Estate, Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate and Yau Lai Estate. HKHA has placed glass bottle recycling bins alongside the existing 3-coloured waste separation bins in the lobbies or near the entrances of each residential block in the participating estates to facilitate the separation and recycling of glass bottles by residents. In the first two months of the pilot programme up to mid February this year, a total of 5.2 tonnes of glass (i.e. around 10,000 plus glass bottles) have been successfully recovered.

(c) Before considering to extend the existing waste separation and recovery system to cover waste glass bottles, we must ensure the availability of suitable and sustainable outlets for waste glass. To this end, the EPD funded a study carried out by a local university in 2004 which successfully used the granules from crushed glass bottles for the production of paving blocks. Since October 2010, the Highways Department has stipulated in its public road maintenance contracts that priority should be given to eco-paving blocks containing recycled glass for paving concrete block pavements, which could help promote the development of glass bottle recycling industry. In January 2011, the Government further issued a circular to all departments to encourage the use of recycled and other green materials in public works projects.

We will study furthering the recovery of glass bottles in Hong Kong with reference to the results of the Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Glass Bottles so as to better utilise our valuable resources.
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