Green groups have remained silent on destructive effects of super-incinerator

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 January, 2012, 12:00am


No doubt, R. E. J. Bunker's letter ('Outdated plant will blow poisonous cocktail over Hong Kong residents', January 22) about our government's plan to build the incinerator (the world's biggest of its kind) at Shek Kwu Chau off South Lantau will be dismissed as NIMBY (not in my back yard). In fact it is the third case of south Lantau suffering from 'NIMBYTY-DIOL' - 'Not it my back yard thank you - dump it on Lantau'.

Many years ago, a Legco paper on building a super-prison recommended Hei Ling Chau because it was 'an isolated island opposite to Lantau'.

We nearly had the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal dumped on another 'isolated island'.

The prison project came about as a result of the government being asked to release land occupied by present prisons so that it could be sold to developers - nothing to do with any social/penal policy. Nor did the LNG plant derive from any overall energy policy.

Now the incinerator project has been dreamed up without any integrated waste management policy but, laughably, the word integrated is in its title.

When the first two were being proposed, it was pointed out that south Lantau had been designated as a conservation area to provide a recreational 'green lung' for Hong Kong people and for tourism. This is probably why one of the government's arguments is that the incinerator will provide a tourist attraction. Read that again - a tourist attraction.

The first two projects were fundamentally flawed and drew opposition from a wide sector of the population. But now, where are people like Designing Hong Kong, Civic Exchange, WWF or any of the green groups? If it had been proposed to build this incinerator on the harbourfront, there would have been plenty of NIMBYs, but now, hardly a whisper. And surely, the environmental division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers must have people who know better.

The fact is that this incinerator will be in one of Hong Kong's front gardens.

Whilst many may never see it, all will suffer its invisible effects, such as air and sea pollution, destruction of fish and unnecessary expenditure. But one day, when yet more has been dumped on south Lantau, they will realise that they have lost things that are irreplaceable and be astonished at this government's legacies.

S. P. Li, Lantau