• Mon
  • Sep 15, 2014
  • Updated: 11:58pm
CommentLetters

Hong Kong can be recycling world leader

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 1:12am

I agree with the sentiments expressed in your leader ("Time to stop talking rubbish", May 30) that serious action on Hong Kong's waste problem is long overdue. However, I must point out that the Environmental Protection Department's "blueprint" for doing so is far from convincing.

Despite plenty of high-minded rhetoric about changing Hong Kong's mindset and behaviour pattern, there is nothing to suggest that department officials have changed their mindset in any way. The blueprint shows only a dogged pursuit of large-scale engineering projects instead of tackling the root causes of the waste disposal problem.

A careful reading of the report "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022" reveals that Hong Kong generates 1.36kg of waste per capita per day (about 9,500 tonnes overall) and of that figure, 1.27kg (or 9,000 tonnes), goes straight to landfill. In other words, the proportion of our waste that is actually being recycled today is less than 6 per cent. Of course the blueprint avoids mentioning this inconvenient fact, somehow conjuring up a figure of 48 per cent waste "recovery", but we know from common-sense daily observation that the latter statistic is just not true.

An even more damning statistic is that a staggering 44 per cent of the waste that goes to landfill is food. That is 4,000 tonnes per day of precious natural resource simply being dumped. And how does the department propose to deal with this? Its plan is to reprocess a mere 500 tonnes (13 per cent) of it per day in two organic waste treatment facilities, to be built by 2017. Most of the rest will be burnt in an inappropriately sited giant incinerator.

There is no excuse for not having mandatory separation of food waste with modern collection and composting facilities throughout Hong Kong. We have the money to invest in such a network, and there should be many who would welcome the employment opportunities; and our natural environment would benefit from an abundant supply of fertiliser. We should be aiming for 100 per cent food waste reduction, recovery and recycling (RRR).

Given similar treatment for the other main categories of waste, paper (22 per cent) and plastic (19 per cent), there is no reason why Hong Kong cannot achieve overall waste reduction targets of 80 per cent or more.

The department should not be given its way to impose simplistic solutions involving land reclamation and mass-burn incineration. Instead, it should be directed to give us a truly world-class waste RRR system. That's where the need for urgent action lies.

Louise Preston, chairman, Living Islands Movement

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dynamco
Actually13,500 TPD total waste/ 9,000 tpd MSW = 3,600 tpd food waste/ 3,500 tpd construction waste HKG has 30,000 tonnes construction waste/day of which 3500 gets buried
Dried super poo 950 tpd sludge 2b dewatered at Stonecutters then barged 24/7 to Tsang Tsui for incineration via diesel barges (cough, spit NOx SOx)
Cynics might say the previous Tsang/Yau maladministration deliberately did nothing to try + force the use of incineration + moved it to SWC since it was further away from Futian retirement palace.
Both should be up on Misconduct charges. The new ENB rightly wants to legislate waste charging + forced separation at source which sadly will be opposed by LongHair +Mad Dog crowd
+ filibustered; only rich people should pay waste charges according to those idiots. Why no waste charge on tourists?
Interim:-Sell the waste to Europe. They have 7 million tonnes incineration capacity + only 1.5 million tonnes MSW SINCE THEY ALREADY HAVE STRICT RECYCLING LAWS.
Or let Norway send ships here/give it to them free: their ancient system is setup to burn MSW for heat + electricity. Flanders has 73% recycling, San Francisco 77% +
www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/rossano-ercolini Capannori Italy 82%. HK Govt ostriches itself on modern incineration proven to kill people and children downwind whereas WSP UK environmental consultants for Western Australian EPA show proven + tested large scale gasification of MSW in Japan dating back years.
Blinkered inflexibility.
 
 
 
 
 

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