• Sat
  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 3:07pm
NewsHong Kong

Decision on Hong Kong’s ‘last resort’ landfill, incinerator plans put on hold again

Demonstrators and lawmakers disrupt environment secretary's efforts to gain speedy approval for landfill and incinerator projects

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 May, 2014, 8:32am

Lawmakers failed for the second time yesterday to reach a crucial vote on controversial works the government says are needed to stave off a looming waste crisis.

A meeting of a Legislative Council subcommittee studying plans to extend the Tseung Kwan O landfill and to construct an incinerator off Shek Kwu Chau was forced to a close before it reached its statutory time limit because of filibustering and protests from the audience.

The vote by the public works subcommittee was delayed last month after lawmakers ran out of time to ask questions.

Yesterday, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing made a strong appeal for the HK$20 billion proposals to be approved, saying they were the "last resort" to cope with the city's growing waste pile. "With just a few years before the landfills are full, do members of this council have any other alternative solutions to address the public hygiene problem?" Wong asked.

But lawmakers said conditions set out in the 13 motions tabled in the last meeting of the subcommittee must be met before approval could be granted and the funding request can go to the Legislative Council finance committee.

"We need to attach these conditions to the funding requests if they are to be handled by the Finance Committee," NeoDemocrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai, whose constituency includes Tseung Kwan O, said.

Arguments over the handling of the motions, proposed by Fan and People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip, and then voting on those motions took up at least 30 minutes of the statutory 135 minutes allowed for subcommittee meetings.

The motions range from a ban on sending recyclable items to landfills to containing the odours from the Tseung Kwan O landfill and raising the fee for dumping construction waste there.

The landfill extension is estimated to cost HK$1.9 billion, providing an additional 6.5 million cubic metres of space.

The HK$18 billion incinerator on a reclaimed site near Shek Kwu Chau, an outlying island in waters off South Lantau, would be able to burn 3,000 tonnes of waste a day, according to the government.

Yesterday, each motion had to be voted on separately and was preceded by a five-minute ringing of bells to remind lawmakers to return to their seats.

But the length of the bell-ringing was shortened to one minute after members passed a motion to this effect raised by lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

As the subcommittee was voting on the 10th motion, eight minutes before deadline, the audience - mostly Tseung Kwan O residents who had been warned repeatedly to remain silent during the meeting - became more disruptive.

Subcommittee chairman Lo Wai-kwok then decided to adjourn the meeting until Tuesday.

Wong said his proposals - including other landfill extensions in Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling - were not only indispensable but the only solutions.

Last year, the subcommittee supported the HK$35 million funding for a feasibility study of the Tuen Mun extension and approved HK$9 billion funding for the Ta Kwu Ling extension.

Both have yet to be approved by the Finance Committee.

The government intends to table requests for the final funding for the Tuen Mun study and the Ta Kwu Ling extension together with funding requests for the two projects discussed yesterday.



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If the new incinerator set up at Shek Kwu Chau was turned down, the Govt should propose to have the garbages to be disposed of by the garbage owners respectively. As they created them, it is their duty to dispise them. I think Shek Kwu Chau is a right place to solve the rubbish fullhouse problem,as it is remote from residence. People are selfish when approaching to even a very trivial matter slightly affecting to their environment, and not to consider the society as a whole! I resided at Kennedy Town, Hong Kong Island for years in 1980s when there were incinerators for rubbish burning, and the pig bones burning from the Bruchers' House. When in Spring, the vanishing smokes could not go up due to humidity, the dirty smokes with suffocated smell used to cover the Kennedy Town. The incinerator have been moved away. The people there then were really sufferring. How the people managed the problem then? They still lived there for years !
This decrepit policy will breach the latest IPCC & ratified protocols
Kyoto Protocol Covers Hong Kong
End Note:
(1) "In accordance with the provisions of Article 153 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR of the PRC of 1990, the Government of the People's Republic of China decides that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change & the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change shall apply to the HKSAR of the PRC
“The incineration of municipal waste involves the generation of climate-relevant emissions. These are mainly emissions of CO2, but also of N2, O, NOx, NH3, & organic C, In waste incineration plants, CO2 constitutes the CHIEF climate-relevant emission & is considerably higher, by not less than 10 squared, than the other climate-relevant emissions.
In Germany the incineration of 1 Mg of MSW in MSW incinerators is associated with the production/release of about 0.7 to 1.2 Mg of carbon dioxide (CO2 output).“
Biomass Air Pollutants Burning Exceed Coal
OldPeak Toad
So, why do virtually all new incinerators in China - using moving grate technology (!) - qualify under UNFCCC's CDM program, and are issued with tradable carbon credits CERs?
Please explain.
Readers please note:
UNFCCC = United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
CDM = Clean Development Mechanism
CER = Certified Emission Reductions = certificates issued by the UNFCCC to incinerators for making a contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases and global warming. (Hong Kong once wanted to become a trading center for such CERs!)
"Wong was also firm that his proposals – including other landfill extensions in Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling – were not only indispensable but the only solutions."

Total and utter bull*hit. Come on KS, we aren't morons out here in the trenches. The incinerator you claim is so desperately needed is more than a decade away....we can easy change the waste profile of HK before then making the mega project just another white elephant along with the Kai Tak cruise terminal, the bridge to nowhere, the high speed rail to nowhere, Tamar govt. palaces, the West Kowloon Culture District, the third runway and on and on.

Here's what you need to do assuming you want to actually earn the obscene pay you are getting: put in place a comprehensive waste management strategy to segregate waste streams into recyclables (glass, plastic, paper, metals), organic waste suitable for processing thru our sewer system or composting, hazardous items requiring special disposal and garbage (everything else). Once you do this you will find there isn't enough fuel left to justify the mega incinerator. To deal with the garbage that is left, build a much smaller plant at an existing landfill site using state of the art technology: the transport infrastructure is in place and the landfill can be decanted for a fuel source.

If you can't come up with a better plan that the one you put forward today, please resign.
hk waste production per head among the highest in the world, thanks to the consumerism in this small city. some people have a thought that a waste recycling system in place can avoid incinerator or landfill site which sounds good but not making sense practically. tell me how much waste can be recycled? even if we reduce waste by 30% through recycling, the total waste will also be a big number that requires some ways to dispose it. next, is there anyone telling us what is the cost taxpayer needs to beat to subsidize the recycling industry. I understand tko residents concern and the government should give extra funding to tko for it's development.
OldPeak Toad
Who needs landfills and incinerators anyhow? I give all my trash to my domestic helper to get rid off!!


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