I would like to respond to the letter from Chan Fung-chun ("Incinerator will not solve waste problem", April 18).
While the planned first modern incinerator for municipal solid waste, which can convert waste to energy with a treatment capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day, cannot fully solve all the waste management problems in Hong Kong, it is an indispensable part of our sustainable waste management strategy.
Each day, Hong Kong produces more than 9,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste. Even when the first such incinerator is built, there would still be about 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of this waste per day that requires waste reduction and/or final disposal.
As stated in various papers to the Legislative Council, the need for the second incinerator will depend on the progress and effectiveness of the waste reduction efforts in the coming years.
The municipal solid waste incinerator to be built near Shek Kwu Chau will be designed to meet the latest European emission standards, which are the highest standards for incinerators in the world.
The recent visit to Europe made by the administration and legislative councillors has confirmed that modern incinerators are still the mainstream thermal treatment technology for municipal solid waste and that they will not cause adverse impact to human health.
Furthermore, we will adopt the selective catalytic reaction system to further reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides to levels further below the European Union's prescribed level.
As for the fine suspended particulates (PM2.5), the incinerator will be equipped with baghouse filters, which is the best available technology to control the emission of PM2.5 and can achieve a removal efficiency of 99 per cent.
With the stringent design and emission standards, and additional measures adopted, the predicted cumulative air quality impact at Shek Kwu Chau, Cheung Chau and south Lantau can meet the new air quality objectives.
In parallel with actions to improve our waste management infrastructure, we are fully committed to implementing various programmes such as quantity-based waste charging, producer responsibility schemes and social mobilisation on recycling and reuse, to achieve the target of reducing the per capita waste disposal rate by 40 per cent by 2022.
Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection