Plans to expand landfills meet protests
Tseung Kwan O residents tell panel they are tired of dump's stench
Environmentalists and Tseung Kwan O residents descended upon the Legislative Council building yesterday to voice their opposition to the government's plans to expand landfills.
The meeting of the environmental affairs panel, which ran for more than six hours yesterday, saw more than 100 individuals and group representatives speaking against the plans.
"I've lived with the smell of garbage for eight years now. The landfill was supposed to close down in 2012. This has been pushed back to 2014, and now there's a proposal to expand it," said a resident of the Lohas Park residential project.
Another person, who has lived there for three years, added: "It's ironic. Lohas Park is supposed to stand for low-carbon, environmentally friendly living. But [residents] have to endure being awoken by the stench of garbage.
"The proximity of the landfill is extremely unhealthy for residents, as many international studies have shown."
Others said expanding landfills would not solve Hong Kong's mounting waste problems.
A handful of residents chose to protest outside.
Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said the government took waste treatment very seriously, and pledged to improve recycling efforts.
The Tseung Kwan O landfill is the closest one to a residential area in Hong Kong. The government plans to expand three landfills, all of which will otherwise be full within a few years.
The landfills - the others are at Ta Kwu Ling and Tuen Mun - are expected to hit capacity by 2019. The government argues there is no alternative until a planned incinerator, tied up in a legal challenge, can be built.