I refer to the letter from Tom Yam ("Shek Kwu Chau is the worst site to build a new mega incinerator", December 29).
Contrary to what Mr Yam has suggested, we have clearly and comprehensively presented to the Legislative Council and the relevant district councils the process, the study findings and the rationale for selecting the site for developing the integrated waste management facilities Phase 1 in Hong Kong.
We conducted a detailed territory-wide site selection study in 2007-08.
We presented the study findings including comparison of different sites to Legco, the Advisory Council on the Environment and the Tuen Mun and Islands district councils in 2008.
The purpose of the site search study was to identify two sites for the conduct of environmental impact assessment (EIA). The artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau and the Tsang Tsui Ash Lagoon were identified as potential sites.
The EIA was completed for the two sites in 2011.
Taking account of the EIA findings and the overall waste management strategy considerations, the artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau has been considered as the preferred site.
We pointed out clearly in the brief to Legco and the district councils in 2011 that developing the integrated waste management facilities at this site will require a relatively longer construction period and a higher capital cost. However, on balance, it is preferred because of the important considerations of a more balanced distribution of strategic waste facilities in the territory, more efficient interface with the refuse transfer station network, and the minimisation of cumulative air quality impact and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
It is incorrect for Mr Yam to say that we ignore the health impact on communities of the proposed technology.
The EIA for the integrated waste management facilities has included the human health impact assessment, the findings of which were accepted by the Department of Health.
To safeguard human health, reliable and proven technology will be adopted and the project will be designed and operated to meet stringent European standards.
Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection