The government will examine ways to avoid a landfill extension encroaching on the Clear Water Bay Country Park, a senior environment official pledged yesterday. Ellen Chan Ying-lung, an assistant director of the Environmental Protection Department, said different engineering techniques were being studied to expand the Tseung Kwan O landfill without touching the park. 'Our first priority is to avoid encroaching on the Clear Water Bay Country Park,' she said. 'No option has been chosen at this stage.' She said one option was to deepen the dump site by building a higher wall around it, allowing it to hold more rubbish. The South China Morning Post revealed on Tuesday that one option to expand the landfill involved slicing off up to 5.1 hectares of land in the country park, which would have an impact on rare and protected butterflies and birds. There are two other options which would not encroach on the park. The plan has drawn heavy criticism from green activists, who have described it as ridiculous. Members of the Country and Marine Parks Board, which is examining the project, have also expressed reservations. Dr Chan said residents and green groups would be consulted on the project, but pointed out that not all waste was recyclable. 'Even if we are able to reduce and recycle waste as much as possible, there will still be more than 4 million tonnes of non-recyclable waste that needs to be disposed of each year,' she said. Green groups yesterday said the pledge was not good enough. Lister Cheung Lai-ping, chief executive of the Conservancy Association, questioned the department's determination to protect the country parks. 'If encroaching on the country park was not included in the department's scope, I don't think the consultant would have come up with the option.' Choy So-yuk, chairwoman of the Legislative Council environmental affairs panel, said a meeting would be held to discuss the matter. 'Doesn't this [government] reply imply that [the department] wanted to turn part of the country park into a landfill? I'm very upset our government tried to take the lead in destroying our country parks.'