Waste incineration will become a reality sooner or later if the city's rubbish continues to grow unchecked, says architect Dr Wong Kam-sing, who is tipped to head the Environment Bureau in the next administration.
Wong, 49, the former vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, said solid waste was a pressing problem and the public should ask themselves why Hong Kong produced so much of it.
As for incineration, he said it was 'a matter of time and size ... the question is how urgently we need it and how large or small it will be. If it is done well, incineration can convert waste into energy too', he said.
Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying's manifesto champions waste reduction at source and vows to eliminate food waste before considering incineration.
But Wong did not reveal what measures would be considered to minimise waste generation.
Lawmakers on the Legislative Council's environmental affairs panel have refused to support a HK$14.96 billion incinerator proposed for Shek Kwu Chau, south of Lantau, saying the next administration might not want it.
Wong said another challenge for the new environment chief to face were the ever-increasing power tariffs. He said Hong Kong could consider following Macau in adopting a structure that promoted energy savings. 'For those who consume more power, they might be charged a higher rate. For those small and medium enterprises or small households, they should be rewarded for using less,' he said.
Meanwhile, the Environment Bureau yesterday said power companies were planning to offer more consumption data, such as carbon emissions and average per capita power usage, in the power bills of domestic households, in response to the report of the Council for Sustainable Development on combating climate change.
Wong is a member of the Council's subgroup that compiled the report.