• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 2:47am

Shek Kwu Chau the wrong site for incinerator

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 December, 2013, 5:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 12:08am

The Environmental Protection Department repeatedly resorts to incomplete and misleading information in its efforts to foist on Hong Kong a mega-incinerator to be built on the pristine island of Shek Kwu Chau.

The latest example occurred during a so-called public "consultation" in Cheung Chau earlier this month. I asked Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing why Shek Kwu Chau was selected over Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun as the site of the incinerator. In two studies commissioned by the department, 12 out of 13 criteria (covering environmental, technical, economic and social factors) favour Tsang Tsui as the better site. The only criterion favouring Shek Kwu Chau is transportation cost. Furthermore, building the mega-incinerator in Tsang Tsui costs 26 per cent less than in Shek Kwu Chau and could be completed two years sooner. Reclamation, seabed dredging , cable laying to create the infrastructure on Shek Kwu Chau will impact on fisheries and wildlife.

The Tsang Tsui site is ready in situ amid existing waste-treatment facilities. The department has never shown such a clear comparison to Legco and the public.

Assistant director of environmental protection Elvis Au replied that locating the incinerator in Tsang Tsui, given the waste-treatment facilities already there, would add pollutants cumulatively to an unacceptable level. As proof, he cited one of the department-commissioned environmental impact studies.

However, this is exactly the opposite of what the study concluded. The Engineering Investigation and Environmental Studies for Integrated Waste Management Facilities Phase 1- Feasibility Study, completed in February 2011 by Aecom, states categorically that air quality parameters in Tsang Tsui with the addition of the proposed incinerator "all complied with the corresponding AQOs (Air Quality Objectives)". It also concluded that "the impact on health from small additional air pollutants is likely to be very small and unlikely to be quantifiable".

Did Mr Au not read the study that his own department sponsored?

A pattern is emerging of the department issuing highly selective information to justify siting the incinerator in Shek Kwu Chau, while suppressing facts that do not support its decision. It is also ignoring important questions such as the health impact on communities of the technology it proposes.

The choice of waste treatment technology and its location will affect Hong Kong far into the future. It should not be driven by vested interests and political pressure.

Tom Yam, Lantau


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This article is now closed to comments

The writer is wrong
in fact the whole of Hong Kong should not have an incinerator
as for AECOM stating incinerator pollutants will not affect people's health they must have skipped a few leading peer reviewed reports under their masters' orders
KwunTongidiot is either a Govt servant in poor disguise or a simplistic moron without any brains or children who will be affected by the pollution
Shek Kwu Chau is irrelevant & the writer a Nimby, put it somewhere else is OK by him - damn fool
The whole policy idea is wrong & defeats any possible dry waste recycling efforts
An incinerator HAS to have a continued guaranteed feedstock to operate
This defeats recycling
BOTH incinerator and Shek Kwu Chau as a site for ANY waste treatment facility are not OK. The article simply addressed the later point and how EPD fooled the public in selecting it as a site for the incinerator.
Putting the sunset technology incinerator in ANYWHERE is not OK. But putting a plasma gasification plant in Tuen Mun IS OK.
Thjs is not a nimby argument.
Both writers are wrong. HK needs TWO 3,000 tpd incinerators. 13,000 tons minus 50% recycle = 6,500 tons / 2 = 3,250 tons. It's only a matter of which one, Shek Kwu Kau or Tsang Tsui will be built first.
To KwunTongBypass and dynamco,
The REAL solution is :
1. No more landfill expansion
2. Deploy pilot plant using plasma gasification
3. Build the pilot plant in Tsang Tsui and expand it there and other locations.
4. Take Shek Kwu Chaun off the table as a site for waste treatment
The article simply points out the duplicity of EPD, and does not describe a solution.


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