Plans to build the city's first organic waste treatment plant on northern Lantau received a boost yesterday when the government's funding request passed the second of three votes.
The Legislative Council's public works subcommittee voted 20-1 in favour of the request, which faces a final vote at Legco's finance committee in June.
Scheduled for completion in late 2016, the HK$1.53 billion facility in Siu Ho Wan would handle up to 200 tonnes of food waste daily, turning it into biogas for use in electricity generation or compost. It would deal mainly with waste from West Kowloon and Kwai Chung, according to the Environment Bureau.
Lawmakers yesterday agreed the facility was essential but urged the government to closely monitor the costs of the scheme, which have already ballooned to more than three times the original estimate given in 2010 of HK$489 million.
Environmental Protection Department assistant director Elvis Au Wai-kwong said that work necessary to meet environmental requirements was in part to blame for the increase in cost.
Only Albert Chan Wai-yip of People Power voted against the project, saying he doubted that public investment was needed. "The government should assist the industry in collecting food waste for treatment, instead of pouring money into building a treatment plant," he said.
At present, food waste is disposed of at landfills. Of the 9,300 tonnes of municipal solid waste dumped at landfills every day, food waste accounts for about 3,337 tonnes, or 36 per cent.
This includes 810 tonnes generated from restaurants, markets, and food production industries.
The government plans to build up to six food waste treatment plants in the next 10 years.