• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 10:14am
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong could be overwhelmed with rubbish by the end of this decade, warns minister

Legislators refuse to back minister's renewed push for funding for incinerator despite dire warning that city will be swamped by rubbish

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 4:16am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 11:32am

Hong Kong could be overwhelmed with rubbish by the end of this decade, the environment minister warned yesterday in another bid to win over lawmakers refusing to back construction of an incinerator and expansion of a landfill.

"It is an urgent issue and action is needed now," Wong Kam-sing said.

The environment secretary was lobbying members of the Legislative Council environmental affairs panel to support an HK$18.2 billion incinerator on a man-made islet off Shek Kwu Chau and expansion of the Tseung Kwan O landfill.

The panel declined to endorse the plans and said it would hold hearings late next month to gauge public views.

Wong said the city's three landfills would be full in five to six years and there would be nowhere to dump the rubbish.

He said cities worldwide were using incineration to dispose of rubbish and it could reduce Hong Kong's waste by 90 per cent, with the ash being dumped in landfills.

But opposition legislators remained unconvinced. Some asked the government to do more to tackle waste at source first, while others wanted the incinerator project put on hold until a court appeal was settled.

A resident of Cheung Chau, near the proposed incinerator site, lost his case against the project last July, but his appeal is scheduled to be heard in early June.

Officials maintained there was no court order prohibiting the project, and it would serve the best interests of Hong Kong to seek funding approval now.

NeoDemocrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai agreed incineration was an effective waste treatment but feared the government would drag its feet on tackling waste at source if the incinerator was given the go-ahead.

Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, of the Civic Party, criticised Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for breaking his election campaign promise that incineration would be used as a last resort.

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said it was difficult to support the incinerator before the court case was settled. "What if the government loses?" he asked.

Officials, meanwhile, said waste-water lagoons at landfills now had double liners after a leak at the Ta Kwu Ling tip in July. Checks had been stepped up.



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This article is now closed to comments

the ENB are inept & rude
today a joint delegation flies to Europe to view Thermal plants
They are not even going to visit Tee side where the new 1000 tpd gasplasma plant is under commissioning with Elvis Au bitching it is too far to travel on their hurried itinerary
We are talking about HKG's future & they could not even spend an extra day visiting an operational full sized plasma plant & prefer instead a presentation from Air Products in their London hotel
yet they went ahead before this trip to blatantly request burner & landfill funding as if this trip did not matter
one plus from this trip is that obviously at the request of Cyd Ho they will now meet Danish Minster for the Environment Ida Auken whose paradigm shift away from incineration & towards recycling is a breath of fresh air that our ENB should learn from
We still have no laws forcing separation of waste streams at source
We have no Green bin collection system for food waste
The recycling figures have long been cooked to include transit trash cargo imported to transit to China
The ENB ignores multiple peer reviewed freely available reports on deaths/ cancers/ stillbirths/ orofacial clefts in proximity to incinerators AND landfills including Taiwan + Japan + Korea + Singapore reports beyond European ones
The blinkered metronomic backroom staff at ENB are the same as those who did nothing under Edward Yau's travel-a-lot tenure They should all be fired & start with a new source separation slate
This alarmist nonsense is designed to overcome opposition to the short sighted, incompetent plan to build a dangerous and wasteful incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau.
The planned incinerator is a twilight, first generation technology which produces huge quantities of toxic fly ash which itself needs to be dumped in landfills. It also spews out clouds of highly toxic dioxins into the air, causing health problems, especially in unborn and young children.
The Environment Bureau has told lie after lie on this issue and refuses to look at modern technology such as gas plasma which has none of the problems. Why?
Who stands to gain from the lucrative contracts to build and run the incinerator which are worth many billions?


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