• Thu
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:52pm

Rezoning existing landfill sites for incinerator not a good idea

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 3:44am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 4:38pm

I refer to Ian Brownlee's article ("Community has the know-how to tackle Hong Kong's waste challenges", December 2).

Mr Brownlee suggested that the government should consider two waste management initiatives recently proposed by two local NGOs, adopting plasma gasification and rezoning existing landfill sites for incinerators.

I agree that the government should give these initiatives some consideration. Yet on a practical basis, I do not see how they can be a wiser use of public resources than constructing a large incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau. And most certainly, I do not see how these initiatives could expedite the implementation of the proposed incinerator.

For one thing, plasma gasification is an emerging and pricey technology.

It has huge upfront and maintenance costs and has a lengthy payback period.

The cost-effectiveness of such technology has yet to be proved on a massive scale. Therefore, many metropolises have yet to pursue it as one of their primary municipal waste treatment strategies.

Regarding rezoning sites near existing landfills for an incinerator, that is easier said than done.

In 2011, when the Town Planning Board looked into rezoning Tseung Kwan O Area 137 (a parcel of land next to the existing landfill) into the landfill and related facilities, more than 10,000 local residents filed their objections against rezoning. Some of them even threatened to file an application for judicial review should the government decide to implement the board's final rezoning decision.

Such legal processes will lead to further delays in the construction of the incinerator and not expedite it by at least two years as Mr Brownlee claims.

I understand that Mr Brownlee and the NGO groups that share his views are well-intentioned.

They want to contribute in any way they can to help the government establish a sustainable strategy for Hong Kong's waste management.

Nonetheless, any new proposal that tries to rationalise the government's current waste management strategy should be feasible from a public finance standpoint. And more importantly, it should not attempt to create further conflicts between the government and those communities adjacent to a landfill.

This will only lead to more disagreements, a greater accumulation of waste throughout Hong Kong and further delay a strategy which fixes our city's waste management problems.

Tim Lo, Tseung Kwan O


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Edward Yau
Producer responsibility law due 2006 - failed to implement
Waste charging law due 2007 - failed to implement
Roadside pollution increased during his tenure
Where are our Air Quality STANDARDS ?
Our major polluter in HKG = Ocean Going Vessels - what did he achieve to stop this = nothing
Where is our Emissions Control Area? = zero
Could EPD restrict the sulphur content of bunker fuel = yes - did they do it under Yau = NO
Engine lding law aka the Amazing Grace Ordinance - abject failure
Incinerator promoter -China incinerator company on Greentech trip with him
Still has a Govt job - god knows why - it seems failure earns promotion aka the Peter Principle
So Yau led a freebie trip of hangers-on to Europe 'Greentech'
They went to Denmark which has one of the highest incineration rates in Europe & the lowest recycling rate - in fact far lower than HKG's alleged recycling rate
Then they went to UK for a ride on a hybrid bus which would be ideal for here - how many have arrived in HKG = 0
Then they went to ... a Whiskey distillery in Scotland, on the public purse, supposedly marketing Shatin Science park, with Brooke in tow w/ other freeloaders
Then he signed the over-generous bus franchises and Power company 9.9% Scheme of Control before departing ENB
The Hedley index tells us pollution kills '000's per year
Failure of his duty of care to the public & the environment led to thousands of adults and children dying
Why is he not on misconduct charges ?
We don't know yet where or how the deal was done for govt.'s proposed mega incinerator using older technology. Why does govt insist on continuing down this path when there are more viable options? Was corruption involved?
well, true that incinerators don't score well in terms of economics - with onc city, Harrisburg, even going bankrupt largely thro debts arising from incinerator:
Will be even costlier for Hong Kong, if build artificial island too.
And yes, having incinerators/waste facilities at some of sites advocated by Mr Brownlee could be troublesome.
Yet, plasma arc could help, including at site near Tuen Mun; members of New Territories Concern Group are mostly hereabouts, and the group supports this idea - as clean technology, can help create jobs with valuable new skills; and can even mine the existing landfill, so no longer a smelly eyesore but land can be restored, even used for housing.
"For one thing, plasma gasification is an emerging and pricey technology.It has huge upfront and maintenance costs and has a lengthy payback period."
Just shows the complete lack of knowledge.1,000 tpd plant will be operational 5 months hence in UK followed by a 2nd adjoining plant
Plasma companies FUND the plant costs, Govt just has to provide the land & no other expense.
Plasma companies charge a gate fee per tonne of waste handled. Depending on the technology choice the 8000 Deg C syngas is cleaned to leave hydrogen to generate electricity; the emissions are steam, there is NO toxic ash, just a saleable inert plasmarok that can be used as road aggregate. Using Solena's technology MSW feedstock is converted to carbon neutral bio jetfuel, marine fuel or bio naptha, w/o toxic ASH. 30% of what is burned by incineration is left as toxic ASH by weight that must be landfilled, yet Govt tell us our landfills are full, so what to do? That means funding expensive man-made island ash lagoons in the sea ready for the next typhoon Haiyan to overflow into the sea + kill local marine life.
Incinerators require constant feedstock hence negate recycling efforts.
Our MSW is polluted by 90% water content food waste that could be collected free, pureed + handled by our sewage system easily at Stonecutters leaving dry MSW that could form new local recycling industries; of course that would leave little to burn hence no need for an incinerator that blinkered Govt is stumbling towards.


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