Incinerator suggested to beat nasty whiff

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 February, 2007, 12:00am

Bad smell from landfill blamed on sewage mud

Building an incinerator will help reduce the bad smell spreading from a landfill in Tseung Kwan O, which has been taking sludge from sewage treatment facilities, a senior environment official said yesterday.

The increasing amount of sewage mud dumped on the southeast New Territories landfill may have been worsening the smell that had caused more than 100 complaints from residents, the Environmental Protection Department source said.

'If the sewage sludge was treated by incineration like in Japan and Singapore, the situation would improve,' the source said. 'If we accept using an incinerator, no untreated waste would be disposed of at landfills in the future and the situation would improve.'

The department is now studying possible sites for a thermal treatment facility. Tseung Kwan O or Tuen Mun are among those reportedly being considered.

In Japan and Singapore, all waste must be treated before going to landfills, the source said.

'The sludge is already being burned to ashes when it is disposed. It helps save space in landfills and generates no bad smell.'

Government statistics show about 900 tonnes of sewage sludge was dumped in landfills every day in 2005. The figure is about 8 per cent higher than in 2004, when 840 tonnes was dumped each day.

The Tseung Kwan O landfill is close to housing estates and a large private development.

The department has predicted that the landfill may run out of space in four years and is now consulting the public about the possibility of expanding it. This may require more land from a nearby country park.

The council has received at least 140 complaints from the public since 2005, most saying that the smell spreading from the landfill is getting worse.

The government also plans to invite Sai Kung District Council members to visit incinerators abroad.

'Taiwan has placed a restaurant at the top of an incinerator while Japanese enjoy a spa in the facility. Hong Kong can have our own landmark,' the source said.

Campaigns would be launched this year to educate people about the urgency of reducing waste volume through incineration, the source added.