Letters to the Editor, August 16, 2013
Cement plan not yet viable refuse solution
We refer to the letters by Charlie Chan ("Come clean on waste disposal strategy", August 13) and Frank Lee ("Viable waste management plan snubbed", August 5), regarding the proposal by Green Island Cement (Holdings) to develop a waste incineration facility in Tuen Mun.
Since the early 2000s, this firm has asked the government to adopt eco-co-combustion technology and develop a facility at its cement plant to treat 4,800 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) each day. The Environmental Protection Department reviewed the technology and findings and made its conclusions known to the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) and the Legislative Council (relevant papers are available online). This technology has not been used for MSW treatment anywhere in the world for large tonnages.
Although the company had conducted a trial at a scale of several tonnes per day for about two months in 2005, it did not cover all the eco-co-combustion process. Also, potential market risk associated with the demand for cement will affect its reliability as a means of waste treatment.
The recommendation not to adopt this technology for the Integrated Waste Management Facilities Phase 1 was endorsed by the ACE in December 2009.
Since there are a number of existing emission sources in the vicinity of the cement plant and it is not far from the population clusters in Tuen Mun, the company should first conduct a thorough environmental impact assessment study to address concerns about the cumulative air quality impact of the proposal if it is to be considered further. This has not been done. Green Island Cement would also need to address the land-use issue and public acceptability of its proposal.
We have told the firm that if it is serious about this project, it must first deal with technical feasibility and reliability, environmental acceptability and planning issues. At this stage, it is premature to state that the company's proposal is a viable solution readily available to assist in alleviating Hong Kong's pressing MSW problem.
The government's "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022" points out the value of resources that can be recovered from waste.
It maps out a comprehensive strategy and action plans for waste reduction, reuse, recovery, waste-to-energy (modern incineration) and land filling. Each waste management initiative contributes to the whole strategy. We need the joint efforts of the entire community and co-operation with the business sector for the benefit of Hong Kong.
Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection
HK's wasteful habits filling up landfills
It is ironic that in Hong Kong we are struggling to find places to dispose of our refuse, but we continue to enjoy a life of consumerism.
We face a dilemma when it comes to dealing with increasing volumes of municipal solid waste.
Few Hongkongers seem to appreciate that it is their wasteful habits which have left our landfills near capacity.
At least we take comfort in the fact that the waste-charging scheme is on the way and I hope it will raise people's awareness about the need to reduce volumes of waste at source.
We must all accept responsibility for this problem.
Leung Kit-yan, Diamond Hill
Slip road must consider park's original design
It would appear from the report on the planned Victoria Park slip road that people who should have been watching over the Central to Wan Chai bypass project have missed a few environmental impact assessments ("Victoria Park to shrink as traffic flow trumps trees", August 12).
There is a plan mounted in the park near the new swimming pool which shows, or tries to show, the slip road and its route on the northern edge of the park. It is very schematic.
What the plan does show is that whatever detailed designs have been prepared for the slip road, the actual effects of this on the existing footpath layout and the detail of the park have, so far, been ignored.
There is a new, small Highways Department office nearby, so after seeing the plans posted in the park over four weeks ago, I went in and asked to see the landscape designs for the works, to see how these roadworks and footpaths really relate. There are none.
The assistant was very helpful and said her superior would contact me. No one did so.
To assess the impact of this slip road in terms of quantities of trees affected, replanted or lost is only one part of the overall consequences of the slip road.
The department should appoint a landscape architect to design the layout of the new footpaths, and the details of these footpaths and their lighting, so that the public can move freely around the road. Also, the architect must ensure that the new work is properly integrated with the original designs of the park, as part of the cost of the road project.
The park was designed very well in the past. One would hope that new works should be able to respect this.
David Booth, North Point
Police need to earn respect by being fair to all
I watched the whole YouTube video showing teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze protesting to police and feel the officers were not doing a proper job ("Deep split on civil liberties laid bare", August 6).
They should have stopped members of the Youth Care Association encircling the Falun Gong stall with large banners and separated the groups. But they let them stand in front of the Falun Gong stall, which was harassment. That is why people felt the police were not acting in a fair manner. They cordoned off the area with both groups inside, and did nothing but stop passers-by going in.
When Ms Lam questioned police tactics, she was threatened with arrest. In the video, she was not the only person to get upset. What is worse is that officers later left the scene and allowed the disruption to continue.
The retiring police superintendent Gregory Lau Tat-keung who addressed the rally against Ms Lam earlier this month said that police need the respect of the public.
That is fine, but then how can people respect them after the incident that occurred during the visit of then vice-premier Li Keqiang in 2011? A journalist was stopped from filming an event attended by Mr Li. Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung was criticised when he said that the officers who blocked the camcorder were reacting to a "black shadow".
Simon Ho, Tsuen Wan
Morality is not the worship of 'clean ideas'
I refer to the war of words during the protest rally held at Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok, on August 4 ("Pro-police protesters clash with rival group", August 5).
During the rally, the Hong Kong Parents' Association and Hong Kong Action, who were protesting against teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze, said they were there to "support police to enforce laws strictly".
I think they were being hypocritical. At the original incident involving Alpais Lam, the Youth Care Association stormed the Falun Gong's street displays. Also supporters of the association shouted abuse at police and there were scuffles.
The police did not take any action against the association, but chose to pick on Ms Lam just for her single slip-up.
Had officers strictly enforced the relevant laws in the first place, Ms Lam would not have had to come forward and protest against what she saw as their unfair handling of the incident.
Ms Lam was standing up against what she saw as injustice and the members of the Youth Care Association who were trying to stop the Falun Gong practitioners expressing their views.
The Hong Kong Parents' Association and Hong Kong Action represent narrow and shallow views with regard to behaviour.
They are basically saying that you are a morally upright person as long as you do not swear.
The virtues of compassion, integrity and justice have been replaced with the slavish worship of so-called clean-sounding ideas.
These groups justify what they are doing behind the veil of parental and family values.
It is time to get back to basic human virtues of empathy, compassion, integrity and justice.
Virginia Yue, Fanling
In-depth look needed into flight delays
I am sure many of your readers are frequent air travellers to the mainland, mostly to Shanghai and Beijing, but also to other cities.
It has become almost a ritual now to share with fellow travellers the latest story about delays - two hours with the plane stuck on the tarmac, arrivals in Shanghai at 1am, in the hotel by 2 or 3am, with an early start the same day. Domestic flights can be just as bad.
I am one of these regular travellers. We hear different explanations, such as air traffic control issues, or the People's Liberation Army controlling space.
I think there needs to be an in-depth look at this issue by the South China Morning Post so we can understand what is going on and if there is any hope of improving the situation.
Bruno Feltracco, Happy Valley