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  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 10:53am
CommentLetters

Vested interests driving waste project

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 2:27am

There were quick responses to R. E. J. Bunker's letter on marine accidents, which he believes would become more likely with barge traffic to and from the planned Shek Kwu Chau waste incinerator ("Incinerator will raise risk of collisions", April 11).

Elvis Au, an assistant director of the Environmental Protection Department ("Traffic generated by waste management facility will be light, April 17) assured readers that marine transportation will continue to comply with safety measures.

He blithely ignores the fact that even with these measures, there have been recent accidents, including the collision between a Cheung Chau passenger ferry and a barge.

But then, in his role as front man for the mega incinerator project, Mr Au is adept at ignoring information that suggests it will be anything but glorious.

At a public meeting last December, I remarked that incineration results in emissions of poisonous chemicals and toxic ash.

Mr Au responded that my information was 40 years out of date - suggesting he was badly misinformed, as there are a host of reports and studies on recent health issues with incinerators, including in Macau.

Mr Au also boasted that he is an engineer, and would not do anything to harm people's health, which to me is like a doctor promising that a bridge will not collapse.

Along with colleagues, Mr Au has been dismissive of alternatives such as zero-waste strategies and plasma arc technology.

The reasons for such obduracy are hard to fathom.

In the course of two years opposing the mega incinerator, I have noticed that the only strong support comes from people and businesses that are involved in the project, or are set to benefit from the HK$23 billion that will be spent on the incinerator island and the associated work on extending the life of landfills.

Oliver Lam, of Lam Tin - well removed from Shek Kwu Chau - wrote of our need for advanced incinerators, which "can hardly cause any damage to people" ("Why we now need modern incinerators", April 16).

In Mr Lam's view, the Shek Kwu Chau site was proposed after a "prudent, detailed investigation conducted by professionals". Yet, in reality, the original preferred site was near Tuen Mun, until politics intervened.

Solutions to the waste problem are indeed required. But these should be based on science and common sense, not driven by politics and vested interests.

Martin Williams, director, Hong Kong Outdoors

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Giwaffe
There is most definitely a need to invest in plasma arc technologies. If anything, Hong Kong can take this as a golden opportunity to develop its expertise in sustainable waste management and the related technological and manufacturing infrastructure. Thereafter, Hong Kong can market its solutions and generate business opportunities abroad. Waste management is going to be a long term challenge for any place with people, and developing a knowledge intensive industry such as this will help to secure Hong Kong’s competitiveness and create new job opportunities for our knowledge based economy.
I have personally written to the EPD regarding the use of antiquated technology for the new Integrated Waste Management Facility and have received little response. Perhaps if more people were to write and to voice their concern will action be taken.
 
 
 
 
 

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