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  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 6:59pm

Tuen Mun landfill

Legco's public works subcommittee voted on July 2, 2013, to approve a HK$35 million study of a Tuen Mun landfill expansion in the New Territories. The move has been met with strong opposition from residents, and the district council says Tuen Mun has a disproportionate share of dirty facilities such as power plants and fuel depots. Plans for another landfill, in Ta Kwu Ling, has also been drawn into the controversy. The government withdrew plans for the Tseung Kwan O site amid strong opposition.

NewsHong Kong
ENVIRONMENT

Shenzhen lawmakers back fight against expansion of Tuen Mun landfill

Half of Shenzhen lawmakers back fight against expansion of Tuen Mun facility, with warning that Hong Kong should take campaign seriously

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 12:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 3:01pm

Nearly half of Shenzhen's lawmakers have signed a petition against Hong Kong's proposed Tuen Mun landfill expansion - an unprecedented protest that could strain cross-border ties.

Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress deputy Yang Qin , a leading opponent of the landfill expansion, said yesterday that almost 200 of the city's 404 lawmakers had backed the call for Hong Kong to reconsider the project and any others like it along the border.

Another 200 district-level representatives, dozens of influential industrial associations and more than a million Shenzhen residents have joined the campaign since a fire at the landfill in November sent noxious smoke wafting north of the border.

"It would be the biggest public awareness campaign of its kind ever, with so many local lawmakers joining the petition," said Yang. "The Hong Kong government should treat our voices very seriously. If it continues to ignore Shenzhen's concerns, such a policy can result only in lifting a rock to drop it on your own toes."

Yang predicted most of the remaining lawmakers would sign up in time for the annual sessions of the people's congress and the city's political advisory body next week, at which the landfill project could be a big topic of discussion.

The Shenzhen campaign represents a turnabout in the regional environmental debate, in which Hongkongers have long complained about pollution drifting over from the mainland.

The Tuen Mun project would cost HK$9 billion and double the near-capacity landfill to 400 hectares. It is one of three expansions proposed by the Hong Kong government until a planned rubbish incinerator is built.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department promised to share the results of its environmental assessments with Shenzhen.

"We have conducted stringent environmental impact studies and found there would not be any undesirable impacts on health or environment within Hong Kong and we believe the impacts would be even less across the border," he said.

Cross-border opposition to the Tuen Mun project took off after the fire, which was followed by complaints of foul smells of burning trash in the Futian, Luohu and Nanshan districts.

Peng Peng , a political scientist at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said it was too early to say whether the controversy would damage relations.

"Not only Shenzhen residents, but Hong Kong residents too, are against the landfill expansion. I think the governments will find ways to co-operate with each other on this issue."

Additional reporting by Cheung Chi-fai

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This article is now closed to comments

Healthily Cynical
Why isn't the incinerator being built with an electricity generator? Waste to energy is very 'green' in most parts of the world. Similarly, the landfill can be designed to collect the methane produced and this in turn can power electricity generators reducing the need for dirty coal. Two birds one stone.
impala
We have the highest paid government officials in the world. Yet, they manage to even let a simple thing like our city waste policy spin out of control into flames (pun intended).

Any medium sized city council would have been able to deal with something as clear cut and easy to plan as a waste policy better than the arrogant group of ExCo nitwits that pretends to be busy governing HK.
superdx
It's super ironic that HK lawmakers can't grow a spine and challenge the pollution we breathe in everyday floating over from China.
That being said, it's embarrassing how much trash HK generates. I cringe at how much plastic one accumulates simply going to the supermarket.
village2206
The odorous creek at Lo Wu and plastic bag natural collection areas, taint the Shenzhen lawmakers perception of burying trash and pollution. What a load of "hypocritical rubbish" they are!
John Adams
Blame it on Donald " I'll get the job done" Tsang and his paralytic environment secretary (Edward something - Lau ? - I even forget his name because he did so little in his time)
dynamco
incinerators cannot operate without landfill extensions 30% by weight of what is burned remains as toxic ash, of that the fly ash has to be mixed with cement to stabilise it so the 30% weight increases
read and learn:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23160082
We are already inundated on 3 sides from shipping emissions blown by the winds into HKG
The proposed incinerator will have a 32 storey high stack as the largest incin in the world
The toxic emissions pollutants will therefore travel all over HKG territory & into the PRD & Macau + beyond
The incinerator will not pass Legco Environment Panel
Neither will landfill extensions
No landfill no incinerator
Landfills emit methane which is 21 times worse GHG than CO2
Currently HKG Govt flares off 13 million cubic meters of methane per year from the landfills that could be converted to liquid biomethane & used in Govt diesel vehicles
Polarising Views
Why can't they build the incinerator quickly? We can build new government offices and fill in the harbour in a couple of years so why not a simple project like this?
The way our government works it will be the next century before anything is done on the east management issue.
I have to agree with the SZ people though ... Why should anyone have to put up with another populations pollution?
hodgescmp
Isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? How about they address our concerns of the huge amount of pollutants that they produce everyday that we have to breath!
r6b
Shenzhen lawmakers objections are pure theatre.
The objectors are only interested in the financial rewards of developing the
Lok Ma Chau loop, and have decided to use this "pretend" issue as
negotiating tactic to try and pressure HK government into action.
KwunTongBypass
Because the Hong Kong "utilities" (LKS and Kadoorie Power, Uncle Four Gas) do not want the gas nor the electricity from this type of facility. Landfill gas is being flared, the Tsing Yi chemical incinerator does not know what to do with its steam, and what happens to potential surplus energy from the new sludge incinerator is anyone's guess.

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