Shek Kwu Chau is better option for incinerator than Tuen Mun

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 February, 2011, 12:00am

Critics have been taking issue with the government's decision to build an incinerator in Shek Kwu Chau rather than Tuen Mun.

There have been logistical, political and environmental arguments against the location that has been chosen.

Yet, the government has compelling reasons for not building it in Tuen Mun.

According to Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah, the island 'was favoured because it would create a more balanced distribution of waste facilities throughout the city' ('Choice of remote island for incinerator enrages critics', February 18).

Tuen Mun already has its own waste disposal facilities.

Moreover, the pollution caused by the trucks transporting waste to Tuen Mun would surely cause further contamination to the air. This would be very unfair residents in the area.

Also, the additional traffic going in and out of Tuen Mun would compound the already serious traffic congestion problems.

Fears over the proposed incinerator are understandable, but unfounded. Critics, including people living on Lantau and Shek Kwu Chau, have listed their reasons for opposing the location, based on aesthetic and environmental grounds ('Lantau residents fear incinerator pollution', February 18).

One resident believes that the proposed incinerator will create a bad odour throughout the surrounding area, but I do not accept this argument.

The Toshima incineration plant in Tokyo was built in the heart of the city. It seldom gets complaints about bad smells.

In 2007, there was one complaint against it and the source proved to be unrelated to the plant.

Another resident believes that the incinerator would be an eyesore against the natural scenery.

The Maishima waste treatment centre in Osaka is a classic example to refute this. Due to its location near several entertainment hotspots, the incinerator was built to be as whimsical as possible.

Likewise, the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator can be built to suit the environment and the wishes of residents.

An Islands district councillor has said that the incinerator would turn tourists away from Cheung Chau due to the pollution it created being carried by the wind. In fact, in Germany, their 66 incinerators account for less than 1 per cent of total dioxins.

The pollution from the proposed incinerator will be negligible, especially with Cheung Chau being three kilometres away.

The government's choice of location for the incinerator is politically and environmentally correct.

Not only does the choice minimise inconvenience to the public, but it also maximises the distance between the city and the incinerator.

Ho Kam-tong, Yuen Long