How Hong Kong can burn away its rubbish problem and boost green drive
Hong Kong has long been beset with a waste management problem. As of 2016, about 10,350 tonnes of municipal waste were sent to landfills every day. With such enormous volumes of waste produced, the existing landfills are fast reaching saturation point. Meanwhile, it takes years to build and commission incinerators with recycling operations, also known as integrated waste management facilities.
Some suggest we should reduce the waste at source to tackle the problem at the root. But even though education is a necessary and useful tool, Hong Kong should welcome the move to build waste incinerators for dealing with the problem.
Many people associate waste incineration plants with dirtiness, toxicity and air pollution. However, this negative image is outmoded and has to be eradicated. Take a look at the 19 plants in central Tokyo, serving as centres for waste disposal. Their state-of-the-art technology and modern design help to maintain high levels of cleanliness in the hectic Japanese capital.
The first modern integrated waste management facility in Hong Kong, to be built on an artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau, will comply with the most stringent international emission standards among regulatory bodies, those of the EU Waste Incineration Directive. With reference to overseas examples, such as Germany, Singapore and Japan, the incinerator will monitor air quality to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.
With the advancement in technology, such plants are able to reduce the volume of municipal solid waste by 90 per cent and generate energy from waste that can power over 100,000 households in Hong Kong. Hence, not only can incineration plants alleviate the pressure on landfills, they can also boost the drive to develop green energy in Hong Kong.
Brian Cheng, Tseung Kwan O