• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:09pm

Incinerator not the answer to Hong Kong's waste problem

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 4:35am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 7:15am

I refer to the letter by Elvis W. K. Au, of the Environmental Protection Department ("Allaying fears over health risks posed by planned incinerator", December 16).

He fails to mention that the prevailing wind direction, especially in the summer months, means that the dangerous emissions from the planned incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau will affect not only local residents, but residents in many other parts of the SAR.

The whole point about the PM2.5 particles is that they are so small that they can be carried many miles away from the original source.

He also talks about filters in the flue gas being able to remove over 99 per cent of the PM2.5 particles. This still leaves around 1 per cent of a huge tonnage of waste going up the chimney and being dispersed by the wind every day.

Also, Mr Au fails to mention the dangerous persistent organic pollutants, such as dioxins, that will be emitted by the incineration process every day. If even one life is affected by these emissions, can Mr Au truly say that the risk is worth the investment?

Shamefully, the letter avoids the real issue, which is the failure to implement proper waste management processes for Hong Kong.

If the department could get its act together and develop proper management of our waste, the amount of recoverable and recyclable waste available for separation could reduce the total amount of waste by around 85 per cent.

This would mean that the amount of waste for ultimate disposal would not then be sufficient to justify the huge HK$15 billion cost of building the giant incinerator in the first place. It simply wouldn't be needed.

It seems that the department's officials prefer to throw our money at the problem rather than use their imagination to reduce the scale of the waste problem.

In his final comment, Mr Au states that the department will set up transparent monitoring systems to inform the public of emissions from the system.

Will he confirm that the monitoring and reporting will be on a continuous basis, conducted and reported by an independent third party, or will it be selective on days when the department controls the emissions so only the good results are reported?

Either way, it rather sounds a bit like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Michael Pratt, vice-chairman, Living Islands Movement


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1. Instigate free collection of Green Bin food waste (as happens in Santa Monica + many other places) huge penalties for mixing food waste w/ other trash
2. Transport food waste to transfer stations (HK wet market waste 90% water / mall waste 75% water content already) pulp the food waste + feed into sewage system Stonecutters will handle the 3500 m3 per day literally in minutes. Building anaerobic digestion plants works well in Europe (food waste water content only 30%) but the feedstock here could hardly produce at a loss, decent fish food + no viable fertiliser.
3. This now leaves dry MSW that can be sorted + recycled = more industry recycling startups; this of course leaves insufficient MSW to feed the intended burner i.e. by taking the above simple advances we do not need the polluting incinerator which kills people with proximity thereof - FACT - peer reviewed studies show this.
4. Build plasma plants at existing landfills (as in Belgium) to reverse-mine the landfills back to pristine state. The plasma arc can also eat building material scrap (currently landfilled) + create encapsulated plasmarok to be sold as road aggregate mandated in Govt projects. There is no ash from plasma plants unlike incinerators which spew toxics into the air + have 30% residual toxic ash by weight TO BE LANDFILLED.
Teesside UK 1000 tpd plasma plant operational 5 months hence. 2nd adjoining plant confirmed by UK Government Cabinet office.
Another "Google Search Parrot' who fills this newspaper with a lot of rubbish
you would know from your position at the bottom of the parrot cage
it seems you are shxt upon daily in your life so you seek to unsuccessfully annoy others
try 5mg of HCN in lemon juice as a start
meantime pls respond in your normal dysentery dialogue so we can get you permanently blocked by the duty online editor
Thanks for the menu tip. Just finsihed my "Haricot Cuit aux Noisettes" (HCN) - sorry I do not like lemon juice - so I popped a bottle of Dom Perignon. Made me siht in my pants though, so I now have to open the window to cleartheair.


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