• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:02pm

Legco should back government's proposed incinerator

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 4:33am

Government figures show about 9,300 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste being dumped in our landfills in 2012.

Hong Kong faces a crisis of not having sufficient disposal capacity to handle waste. All three landfills will be full in a few years.

The Alliance for Promoting Sustainable Waste Management for Hong Kong (comprising academics, professionals and institutions specialising in environmental engineering and science) is disappointed by past governments' slow progress towards concrete policies and legislative proposals for waste reduction and recycling. The government must put in place as soon as possible quantity-based municipal solid waste charging, producer responsibility schemes and concrete measures to help the recycling industry.

But we estimate that even if Hong Kong can achieve a 40 per cent reduction in the waste disposal rate by 2022 as planned, we shall still need to dispose of about 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day.

Using waste-to-energy technologies which can substantially reduce the volume of waste (about 90 per cent reduction) is inevitably necessary for Hong Kong. Waste-to-energy plants can now be regarded as a proven technology that can effectively reduce the volume of waste requiring final disposal. They can also generate a substantial amount of surplus energy to serve as a renewable energy source.

The alliance, after comparing the reliability, economics, and environmental impact of different thermal treatment technologies, backs the government's recommendation that mass-burn moving grate incineration technology should be adopted for the first plant. Other emerging but less-proven technologies (for example, plasma gasification ) may be considered when they have become more mature.

The alliance also believes that with the construction of the waste-to-energy facility, although some extension of the existing landfills would still be required, the administration should review the total capacity that needs to be extended to balance the concerns of affected communities.

With the generation and sale of the renewable energy, the government should consider providing direct or indirect betterment measures to the affected communities living near the waste-to-energy and landfill facilities.

We urge legislative councillors to act responsibly and put the overall benefits of the community over regional or sectarian interests and work with the government to facilitate the implementation of the concerned proposals.

Professor Poon Chi-sun, convener, Alliance for Promoting Sustainable Waste Management for Hong Kong


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This article is now closed to comments

It would be useful if Prof Poon could inform us regarding his own interests in incineration, particularly
How much by way of EPD grants has he received for research, and what proportion of his research funding do they represent? Any of this for opposing incineration, or all for research that's neutral or supportive?
What of his involvement in venture to create "eco-bricks", including from incinerator ash? Is this akin to a vested interest?
- given toxins in ash, and lack of treatment to guard against leaching, wouldn't these be better called "toxic timebomb bricks"?
[I heard of houses in Europe - Holland? - being made of bricks from incinerator ash, but then torn down due to health concerns; haven't validated this tho. Perhaps Prof P can shed light on this]
Written by a true recipient of numerous EPD Uni research grants Govt wheels out such recipients to spout their mantra.This is the same person who poo poohed the closure of Utashinai plasma plant (actual reason due to lack of feedstock availability) & when he & fellow mata hari were queried were unable to produce any evidence of tech failure, since there was none. Yet IPCC & worldwide experts mandate source separation of waste legislation (where is ours?) & recycling & stated categorically that burning waste in waste-OF-energy incinerators creates double the CO2 emitted even by a terrible coal burning power plant, that CO2 emissions to air MUST be reduced to combat climate change, not increased by more than a million tonnes per year the local burner would accomplish.
More than 40% of our daily domestic waste is ultra wet food waste. CIWEM UK + its 98 world branch policy statement recommends the use of food waste diverters & the sewerage system for handling food waste & this would work even better here since local food waste is 90% water content already from wet markets + 78% from Malls. You cannot burn water without wasting energy + the IPCC report last Sunday warned specifically against the use of waste burning to create power. Denmark already saw the light + has a paradigm shift away from incineration & towards recycling. ENB + Legco just went there on the Govt purse & should be guided accordingly.
So mandate separation of food waste & recyclables + listen to Ciwem
Fly ash
After Incineration The Toxic Ash Problem
it seems the professor uses untreated fly ash mixed with ground glass to make 'Eco blocks'
The blocks are not fired in a kiln at 1500 deg C as in the normal case that would destroy most Pops but are merely pressed under pressure
Interesting to know how this process without extreme heat firing can stop dioxin leachate


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