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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 9:24pm
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong issues dire warning on landfills amid protests by residents

Minister's dire prediction comes as residents take to the streets to oppose plan to expand landfills until an incinerator can be built

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 May, 2013, 3:55pm

Hong Kong would be swamped with rubbish if its three landfills were not expanded, the environment chief warned yesterday, as Tseung Kwan O residents took to the streets to oppose the plan.

The landfills at Ta Kwu Ling, Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O are expected to hit capacity by 2019. The government argues there is no alternative to expanding them until a planned incinerator, tied up in a legal challenge, can be built.

Environment minister Wong Kam-sing said Hong Kong would be "surrounded by rubbish" if the HK$8.9 billion expansion, planned since 2003, did not go ahead. The Legislative Council's environment panel will discuss the proposal tomorrow.

Sai Kung district councillor Christine Fong Kwok-shan, who represents Tseung Kwan O, said they might lodge a judicial review if the government did not call off the plan. Residents want the landfill closed permanently, saying the smell could be overwhelming and affect their health.

The Tseung Kwan O landfill will be the first to hit saturation point, either next year or in 2015.

About 100 demonstrators marched from Lohas Park to the Tseung Kwan O MTR station, along Wan Po Road.

Wong said further expansion beyond the one planned was unlikely due to the site's physical limitations.

"On one side it's a country park, and the land on the other side has been reserved for future [other] use," he said.

"It's not that we have to set a deadline for the closure of the landfill. But we can't see any space to further expand it."

Wong urged residents living near landfills to consider Hong Kong's overall interests. "If we don't expand our landfills, it won't be long before the city is surrounded by rubbish," he said.

On average, each Hong Kong person generates 1.36kg of waste a day, compared to 0.77kg in Tokyo and 1kg in Taipei.

The government last Monday unveiled its blueprint for tackling waste, with a target of a 40 per cent reduction in the amount sent to landfill by 2022. Incineration and waste charging are key components of the strategy, but the bill to introduce both is expected to face an uphill battle in the legislature.

Lawmakers rejected a funding request by the previous government for an incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau, near Cheung Chau. The proposal has also been challenged in court and a verdict is pending.

Documents submitted to the panel warn that "no matter how hard we work to reduce waste, there will still be inert materials, non-recyclables, construction waste and post-treatment residues that need to be disposed of".


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This article is now closed to comments

Previous Environment chiefs for more than ten years have been warning that the amount of refuse dumped in Hong Kong has to be reduced. They have, however, done virtually nothing about this.
Where are the recycling bins on EVERY street corner, in EVERY building and where are the spot FINES for FAILING to SORT refuse?
Where are the FINES to stop Hong Kong flat buyers ripping apart perfectly good flats every time a property changes hands and then dumping all the tiles, cabinets, toilet and bath fittings, although still in perfect condition? You have to change the mindset that it is essential to change a toilet bowl or sink used by former owners.
Where are FINES for manufacturers or importers who put only six small biscuits or chocolates in multi-wrappings and boxes large enough to hold a whole kilo?
Get off your butt and DO SOMETHING instead of harking on about larger waste dumps.
Group Machiels /APP UK landfill mining project Belgium
Modular plants can be established at the HKG landfill sites to reverse-mine their contents using plasma gasification technology. Any clay material dropped into the 6000 deg C reactor fuses into molten Plasmarok to be used as inert road aggregate, NO ASH. Plasma vaporizes MSW into molecular form creating a Syngas that can be used to generate electricity or converted into carbon neutral bio-jetfuel/ marine fuel/naptha.
Advanced Plasma Power UK offered to build + finance a free demo plant here to handle 150,000 tons MSW per annum- it could be sited on a landfill. Win-win offer for HKG.
This Govt insists on promoting outdated polluting, life threatening incineration tech- 22% bottom ash and 7% fly ash by weight remain so a 3,000 tpd bonfire would leave 1/3 daily ash that requires to be treated, then landfilled -hence the need to build manmade ash lagoon islands in the sea off Lantao.
82% waste recycling in Italy/40 incinerators closed/117 municipalities adopt Zero Waste policy.
Why not here?
2nd 950 tpd plant confirmed/ Cabinet office signs to buy plant's electricity.


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