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  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 5:23am

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

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

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.
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.
Little confused here, sorry. Is there anyone that could fill me in?
So, the underlying problem is the trash incineration, rather the landfill project?
HK residents' well-being would be affected seriously if the incineration were established, from my understanding.
And in terms of Shenzhen residents, what is the concern?
I have not seen any damage done by the landfill itself in the article.
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:
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
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.
they intend a steam turbine
as of now they do not have any permission to connect to the grid
the electricity generated will be needed to operate the plant
they intend to burn food waste which is 90% water content - have you tried burning water ?
HK waste is all soaking wet due to the co mixing of food waste so they will need to add oil or coal to the MSW mix to co-combust the wet feedstock
hence they need more energy to burn it for longer
hence the plant will not generate extra electricity & run as a white elephant costing 300 million a year to operate plus extra energy cost + oil
it could not be operational before 2023
all in all a completely bad idea
in any case they will never get it passed thru Legco
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.
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!
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?
maybe invent a big vacuum cleaner that will suck in the 2000 tonnes of incinerator emissions per day carrying pollutants of death far and wide all over Hong Kong and PRD from the proposed 30 storey chimney, then dump the 1,000 tonnes of toxic ash per day into the harbour since we are told our landfills are full ?




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