• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:03am

Incineration key to managing waste

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 4:36am

I refer to your editorial ("The rubbish of a waste policy", June 25), which described the sorry state we are in regarding our waste disposal system.

Hong Kong produces 9,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day. "Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022", published by the Environment Bureau, informs us that 52 per cent of this waste in Hong Kong is dumped in landfills, as against Taiwan's 2 per cent , Singapore's 1 per cent, and Japan's 0 per cent.

This shows us how backward we are in treating this waste compared to Asia's other advanced economies.

Why do they not dump their municipal solid waste in landfills? The difference is, they have incinerators. Taiwan treats 46 per cent of this waste by incineration, Singapore 51 per cent, and Japan 79 per cent. Hong Kong has 0 per cent incineration. Even worse is that the blueprint's target states that by 2022 we will incinerate just 23 per cent of our waste, while 22 per cent of our municipal solid waste will still be dumped in landfills.

If incinerators are such fearful things, emitting toxic gases, then we would have heard reports of deaths or illness among people living near them in Taiwan, Singapore and Japan.

Modern incinerators emit an insignificant amount of toxic gases.

They produce electricity which would help to reduce our electricity costs. They also enable nearby residents to enjoy free hot water, and they can heat up municipal swimming pools in winter.

Why do our legislators not support incinerators? It is because they succumb to their voters' "NIMBY" ("Not In My Back Yard") attitudes. Our politicians are against expanding landfills, and they are against incinerators.

If nothing is done quickly, we will see streets full of refuse by 2018.

Our politicians like to engage in empty talk, such as saying the government should make waste reduction its primary policy. If they are serious about this, they should urge the government to impose a charge on waste immediately. Why the administration has to wait until 2016 to impose such charges is a mystery.

We are recycling 48 per cent of our waste, as against 52 per cent in Taiwan, 48 per cent in Singapore and 21 per cent in Japan, which is not bad. Of course, we should try to do more.

The real solution to our waste problem is to have at least 50 per cent incineration and the balance by recycling our waste. Would our politicians be brave enough to support this?

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui


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Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators
CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis of a statistically significant increase in the risk of dying from cancer in towns near incinerators + installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste
Scotland's newest burner closed
www.macaudailytimes.com.mo/macau/36605-cuhk-to-start-10-year-plan-on-ka-ho-residents%E2%80%99-health.html Macau
www.hpa.org.uk/NewsCentre/NationalPressReleases/2012PressReleases/120124Incineratorstudystatement/ UK
Australia WA Govt EPD consultancy reports:
Project: 31427 "Many commentators consider gasification of waste to be unproven - they could not be more wrong. The Japanese have embraced gasification technologies for the processing of waste derived fuels,such as MSW,C&I, RDF and ASR"
Overview: Much of the interest around the world in waste gasification over the last fifteen years has originated with political decision makers seeking an alternative to incineration that achieved the following objectives,in order of political priority:
¦ produced demonstrably low emissions – particularly of dioxins;
¦ provided better resource recovery, in the form of materials and energy that could be re-used;
¦ is fully proven at commercial scale.
Over the last few years, the perception has arisen in Europe, Australia + parts of North America that gasification has failed against these objectives; principally because of the poor operational track record of gasification processes developed by smaller lowly capitalised companies.
Waste gasification technologies developed in Japan are proof that this is a misconception"
In WSP’s view, the majority of the (gasification) processes operating in Japan deliver on each of those three key objectives.
@ " We are recycling 48 per cent of our waste"
You know perfectly well Mr Woo that this figure is like the contents of the land-fills just "RUBBISH".
That figure has been concocted and is not based upon any scientific and careful surveys. Those who bandy this figure about are playing games with some 30,000 tons of construction waste produced daily, much of which disappears into legal and illegal reclamation and dump sites,


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