Incinerator would disturb residents of nearby rehab centre on Shek Kwu Chau
The Town Planning Board's decision to rezone Shek Kwu Chau so that the proposed integrated waste management facility can be built was based on inaccurate and misleading information.
Board members were misled into thinking that the distance between the proposed incinerator and the nearest residential area would be 3.5 kilometres.
Actually it will only be about 35 metres from Shek Kwu Chau and about 400 metres from facilities at the Shek Kwu Chau Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, which houses 300 patients and staff.
The Environmental Protection Department has shown a disregard for residents on the island.
The board was told that Shek Kwu Chau serves as a natural barrier to screen off the proposed incinerator from Cheung Chau residents.
There was no mention of what would be done to screen off this facility from the view of rehab centre residents. Their needs seem to have been ignored.
They have as much right to a tranquil and undisturbed environment as people living on Cheung Chau.
Having a quiet environment is an essential part of the treatment provided and the rehabilitation process. Building the incinerator at this location would destroy that serenity.
With the incinerator so close and in full view, the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (Sarda) believes that the residents will feel uneasy and we will have difficulty sustaining the services we are providing.
Sarda has been making these points to the department since March last year, but to no avail.
We respect the government's argument that incinerators are needed to deal with Hong Kong's waste disposal problems.
But it must take measures to solve the problems faced by those people who are affected by the Shek Kwu Chau plan. It must minimise the impact on local residents of the construction and operation of incinerators, wherever they are located.
We hope the government will take note of residents' concerns and act accordingly. We look forward to hearing from officials about policies and measures to alleviate the negative impact of the proposed incinerator.
We feel that we might have to consider legal proceedings to protect our rights. We would also welcome comments from your readers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Angelique Tam, executive director, Sarda