A long-delayed pilot incineration and waste treatment scheme by Green Island Cement in Tuen Mun may finally get off the ground early next year in the first step towards capturing Hong Kong's refuse disposal market, the company said yesterday. The company, a subsidiary of Cheung Kong Infrastructure, has had to push back the $18 million project for more than a year because of residents' concerns that the burning will generate carcinogenic substances such as dioxin. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) had asked Green Island Cement to improve the design of its incinerator to ensure it met emission standards. The company said yesterday it had formally sought approval for the project, which is partly funded by the Innovation Technology Fund, and is confident of getting the nod. An EPD spokeswoman said a 30-day public consultation would be held before deciding whether approval would be granted. Under the trial, up to 48 tonnes of solid waste would be collected from municipal refuse stations every day and sorted for recyclable material before the rest was burned in the facility to be installed at the company's Tap Shek Kok cement plant. Energy and ash generated would be used in cement production. The company claimed that when run on a commercial scale, the plant could handle as many as 3,500 tonnes of waste a day and provide hundreds of jobs. Allaying fears dioxins would be generated by incomplete combustion, it pledged that emissions would be kept below the existing legal limit. Cheung Kong Infrastructure executive director Barrie Cook said the project addressed the problems of mounting waste and shrinking landfill space in Hong Kong. 'It is a win-win situation and a sustainable waste treatment model which has proven effective in some European countries,' he said. Greenpeace campaigner Miranda Yip Pui-wah said there were too many polluting facilities in Tuen Mun. 'We have a steel plant, power plant, aviation fuel tanks and the central laundry for hospitals there. Now we are getting an incinerator. How can we ensure the residents' health will not be damaged by dioxin?' she asked. Lau Wai-ping, the head of Lung Kwu Tang village, said residents objected to the project because of health concerns. 'The Cheung Kong guys came to talk to us on Tuesday with a simple diagram. But we were all angry and walked out in protest,' he said.