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Hong Kong environmental issues

Why incinerators won’t solve Hong Kong’s rubbish disposal problem if we don’t reduce waste at source

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 June, 2018, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 June, 2018, 4:00pm

I refer to Brian Cheng’s letter (“Hong Kong can burn away its rubbish problem and boost green drive”, June 15). I don’t think incineration is a good option for treating municipal solid waste.

In the waste management hierarchy, prevention, or reducing waste at source, is the most favoured option. Some restaurants are taking small steps towards this by providing plastic straws only on request. The least favoured options are disposal methods such as incineration and landfills.

According to the environmental impact report on integrated waste management facilities, the incinerator will treat about 3,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day, but it will also generate more than 900 tonnes of ash daily, which will be disposed of at the West New Territories landfill.

Although this site was extended a few years ago, it will close in a couple of years. So, Hong Kong will have to extend its landfills even with the incinerator in operation.

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Instead, we should be focusing on the organic resource recovery centres at Siu Ho Wan and Sha Ling, which could help to treat food waste.

Educating people on generating less waste is important. However, Hong Kong needs a comprehensive solid waste management policy to reduce waste at source and extend the use of existing landfill sites.

Felix Mak Hoi-kuoh, Kowloon Bay