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July, 2012:

Tetronics Celebrates Win at National Recycling Awards

Description: Tetronics Celebrates Win at National Recycling Awards

Tetronics Ltd., market leader in the supply of Direct Current (DC) plasma waste recovery plants for the treatment of hazardous waste and metal recovery, is delighted to announce that it has won the National Recycling Awards 2012 for the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycler of the Year. These awards recognise excellence in all parts of the waste hierarchy and in all sections of the industry, with awards ranging from ‘waste minimisation’ to ‘best recycled product’, and everything in between.

The company received the accolade at last night’s prestigious awards ceremony at the Lancaster Hotel, London. Tetronics won The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycler of the Year category in recognition for the development of their patented plasma treatment of electrical wastes. The UN Environment Programme estimates the total global waste generated from electronics at circa 50 million tonnes per year.

Stephen Davies, CEO for Tetronics commented;

“We are delighted to be recognised by the National Recycling Awards, which rewards innovation and excellence in recycling. We are pleased that the compelling benefits of our plasma solution for electrical waste processing clearly stands out – with its ability to generate the highest levels of precious metal recovery from e-waste, while also destroying any hazardous organic material that may be present. Our technology is one of the tools allowing sustainable urban mining to become a reality”

The process chemistry in Tetronics’ plasma recovery technology is designed to preferentially separate and recover the valuable material in electronic waste whilst destroying any hazardous components. The remaining non-valuable material is vitrified into an inert, safe disposable non‐hazardous material, called Plasmarok®, in a single processing step. The robust level of construction and minimal number of moving components delivers outstanding plant operation and longevity. The recovery process also has exceptional environmental and commercial credentials and can be considered as a future‐proof solution for electrical waste management problems.

Associated Links for Tetronics Limited

Other news articles from Tetronics Limited

oh so true ………….. your ‘Yes Minister’ giggle for the day

oh so true ………….. your ‘Yes Minister’ giggle for the day

‘Yes Minister’

Sir Humphrey: You’re normally so good at blurring the issue.
Jim Hacker :     At what?
Sir Humphrey: You have a considerable talent for making things unintelligible, Minister.
Jim Hacker :     I beg your pardon.
Sir Humphrey: No, no I mean that as a compliment, I assure you. Blurring issues is one of the basic Ministerial skills.
Jim Hacker:      Oh, what are the others?
Sir Humphrey: Delaying decisions, dodging questions, juggling figures, bending facts and concealing errors.

Sir Humphrey: Minister I think there is something that perhaps you ought to know.
Jim:                  Yes Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion, is, not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume, but not to put too fine a point on it, the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whose present interlocutor, is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun.
Jim: Beg your pardon.
Sir Humphrey: It was I.

‘Taipan’ says radio row about politics

Shareholder clashes at the Digital Broadcasting Corporation spring from government’s desire to suppress its opponents, according to Albert Cheng
Peter So and Niall Fraser
Jul 29, 2012

A major shareholder’s decision to put the Digital Broadcasting Corporation at risk of liquidation by refusing to pump in extra cash is “politically motivated”, the station’s co-founder, ‘Taipan’ Albert Cheng King-hon, says.

Businessman Wong Cho-bau, who came to public attention earlier this year for offering a bargain lease on a luxury Shenzhen penthouse to the then-chief executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, reportedly said he planned to cut his losses on his investment in the broadcaster, as it had struggled to generate revenue.

But Cheng put the blame for Wong’s reticence on the government, linking it with his own return to the airwaves and his decision to make the defeated chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen his first interviewee.

“This is all politically motivated. This government seems to want to go all out to suppress the opposition and get those who refuse to toe the line,” Cheng said yesterday. “Other investors in the station are worried that because of this, the government is dragging its heels on putting the infrastructure in place to allow the further expansion of digital radio.”

Cheng was the popular host of Commercial Radio’s controversial talk show Teacup in a Storm until he became a member of the Legislative Council in 2004. He co-founded DBC in 2008 with several partners, sealing a 12-year contract to run a Cantonese-language service.

Cheng said on Friday that the shareholders had “lost mutual trust,” as they were split on issues related to “the injection of capital and operational direction”.

Several other shareholders are understood to have sided with Wong, including the chairman of Vtech(SEHK: 0303), Allan Wong Chi-yun, the chairman of Bank of East Asia (SEHK: 0023) , David Li Kwok-poand David Li’s brother Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, a member of the Executive Council.

Between them they hold half of the company’s shares, against Cheng’s 23 per cent. Many are known to have close connection with Tsang.

Cheng said Wong, who has called in auditors to inspect DBC’s books, had other options. “Business-wise, Wong could have sold his shares to me. But he refused to do so,” Cheng said.

He claimed Wong had pledged in May to continue to invest when the shareholders agreed to inject HK$50 million into the company. “He [Wong] has been playing tricks since I’ve been on air. It is obviously political motivated.” Wong could not be reached for comment.

Cheng has accused the government of failing to improve the strength of transmission of digital radio signals. He also claimed in an article for a Chinese-language newspaper on Friday that Exco member Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, a key aide in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s election campaign, was among those opposed to the growth of DBC.

A government spokesman refused to comment on Cheng’s claim of political interference, and said the government had invested tens of millions of dollars in digital.

Charles Mok, a pan-democratic candidate running for the information technology sector seat in September’s Legislative Council election, said it would be difficult to conclude that the government was stifling digital broadcasting for political reasons, though he criticised the government’s policy as “chaotic”. Mok will take on Legco member Samson Tam Wai-ho in the election.

“Disqualified person” application by DBC approved

The Government today (January 20) announced that the Chief Executive in Council (CE-in-Council) had approved the application by the Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited (DBC) for Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, a “disqualified person” (DP) under the Telecommunications Ordinance, to exercise control of the company as a chairman and director.

Professor Li is a DP under the Ordinance by virtue of his being a relative of a director (namely Dr David Li Kwok-po) of an associated corporation (namely PCCW Limited (PCCW)) of a domestic pay television programme service licensee (namely PCCW Media Limited (PCCW Media)).

“Since the DBC and PCCW Media are operating in two separate and distinct broadcasting markets, and Dr David Li as an independent non-executive director of PCCW does not have control or influence over the daily operation of PCCW or PCCW Media, the approval will not undermine the competition landscape in the broadcasting industry,” a spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said.

“The DBC, as a new player in the market, should be able to benefit from the expertise and experience of Professor Arthur Li with his appointment as a chairman and director in terms of enhancing the company’s governance and development. This should have a positive impact on the development of digital audio broadcasting services in Hong Kong,” the spokesman said.

He added that Professor Arthur Li would give an undertaking that in his role as a chairman and director and a shareholder of the DBC, he will act independently from any of his relatives in the media industry; exercise due care and attention to avoid editorial uniformity across different media platforms (including PCCW Media specifically); and abstain from discussions and decisions in connection with matters concerning both the DBC and PCCW Media.

Under the Ordinance, no DP, other than a person in respect of whom the reason for his being a DP was disclosed in the application of a licence, shall exercise control of a corporation that is a sound broadcasting licensee. A DP is defined under section 13A of the Ordinance which includes, among others, an “associate” of a domestic pay television programme service licensee within the meaning of the Broadcasting Ordinance. The provisions are to minimise the risks of media concentration, conflict of interest and editorial uniformity across different media platforms. The Ordinance further provides that the CE-in-C may, if he is satisfied that the public interest so requires, permit the licensee to enable a DP to exercise control of the licensee. In considering the public interest for approving a disqualified person application, the CE-in-C has taken account of the effect on competition in the relevant service market; the extent to which viewers will be offered more diversified television programme choices; the impact on the development of the broadcasting industry; and the overall benefits to the economy.

Ends/Friday, January 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:02


(B) Extent to which listeners will be offered more diversified

programme choices

8. DBC submitted that Professor Arthur Li’s extensive experience

in medicine, education and research, and relationship network with both

local and global institutions in the academic and medical fields would

enable him to provide professional advice on the medical and educational

programmes of DBC, resulting in an enhancement of programme quality

and more diversified programme choices to listeners.

(C) Impact on the development of the sound broadcasting industry

and overall benefits to the economy

9. DBC submitted that Professor Arthur Li has extensive network

and experience in both public and business sectors.  He is currently Deputy

Chairman of The Bank of East Asia Limited (4) and an independent director

of Shangri-La Asia Limited(5).  He was Vice-chancellor of The Chinese

University of Hong Kong from 1996 to 2002 and Secretary for Education

and Manpower from 2002 to 2007.  DBC submitted that Professor Li

would bring to DBC substantial management know-how, expertise and

opportunities to form strategic partnership with academic institutes and

innovators promoting the development of DAB services.

Our Assessment

10. As regards the effect on competition in the relevant service

markets, DBC and PCCW Media are operating in two distinct broadcasting

markets (i.e. sound broadcasting and pay television respectively).  They

have different target audiences and are not in direct competition with each


Since DBC and PCCW Media are operating in two separate broadcasting

markets, and Dr David Li as an independent non-executive director of

PCCW does not have control or influence over the daily operation of

PCCW or PCCW Media, the proposed appointment of Professor Arthur Li

as a director and Chairman of DBC is unlikely to bring negative impact on

the competition landscape in the sound broadcasting service or the markets

for domestic pay television programme services or subscription television


11. As regards the diversification of radio programme choices, while

Professor Li will not participate in the daily operation of DBC, he would

offer solid and authoritative advice to the board on the programming

strategy of DBC (8) .

12. As regards the impact on the development of the sound

broadcasting industry, Professor Arthur Li is one of the founding

shareholders of DBC who had provided funding for the conduct of

feasibility studies and technical trials of DAB before DBC was granted a

licence to provide DAB service.  DAB is a new service, and further

injection of capital may be required.  The roll-out of network and

production of new programmes would also require significant resources

and expertise in both execution and delivery.  DBC is still a fledgling

company, and good corporate governance, to which Professor Li’s

managerial experience will contribute, is instrumental to the future

development of the company.  Given Professor Li’s connection, expertise

and experience in the private and public sectors, DBC should benefit from

his appointment as director and Chairman, which will in turn have a

positive impact on the overall development of DAB in Hong Kong.

Professor Li’s relationship with a non-executive director of an associated

corporation of a pay TV programme service licensee is not likely to

adversely impact on the development of the sound broadcasting industry.

13. As regards the benefits to the economy, the broadcasting and

programming sector contributed an estimated $5.4 billion of value added to

the economy in 2010, representing around 0.3% of GDP.  The proposed

appointment of Professor Arthur Li, notwithstanding his DP status, is not

likely to have any adverse impact on the overall economy.

‘Loss of mutual trust’ at Albert Cheng station
Dispute among shareholders of new digital radio broadcaster forces a special board meeting
Peter So and Tanna Chong
Jul 28, 2012

The future of the newly established Digital Broadcasting Corporation is uncertain after its co-founder, “Taipan” Albert Cheng King-hon, said yesterday the shareholders had “lost mutual trust”.

In a statement by the radio broadcaster after a board meeting, DBC said some shareholders were split on issues related to “the injection of capital and the operational direction”. They plan to hold a special board meeting to resolve the row.

Cheng gave no details, saying only that the differences were not related to money but about “the ways of running a business”.

He refused to say whether the differences were based on the editorial direction of the station’s current affairs programmes, which have criticised the government. “‘Ways of running a business’ can refer to a lot of things,” he said.

Cheng, a former lawmaker and a veteran radio host, made a name for himself hosting Commercial Radio’sTeacup in a Storm from 1995 to 2004, often criticising the government.

In 2008 he was granted a 12-year licence to run a 24-hour Cantonese-language radio station, with an investment in the first six years estimated at HK$620 million.

The station has rolled out seven digital broadcasting channels since August last year.

DBC shareholders include Executive Council member Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, former Exco convenor Ronald Arculli, Bank of East Asia (SEHK: 0023) chairman David Li Kwok-po and businessman Wong Cho-bau, who came to public attention when it was revealed he was leasing a luxury Shenzhen penthouse to former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

Cheng and Wong are the largest shareholders, jointly owning about 43 per cent of the shares.

Cheng declined to say whether he was under political pressure from any shareholder. He was optimistic the differences could be sorted out and said: “I hope we can find a few more days [to resolve this].”

Wong refused to comment, saying only that he would return from vacation in early August.

The broadcaster’s statement said: “A special board meeting will be convened as soon as possible.

“We are consulting legal advice in order to protect the interests of shareholders, staff members, business partners and the public. DBC [will] maintain normal operation until further notice.”

Lam Yuk-wah, a long-term partner who co-hosts programmes with Cheng, said Cheng had hinted that he was under pressure about how programmes were being produced.

But Lam said it was difficult to tell whether criticisms of the government were part of the problem.

“I still think I can speak freely on air,” he said. He did not think the broadcaster was facing financial difficulties.

In a statement, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said talks had been held with DBC’s management.

It said: “We understand that there is some disagreement between the shareholders of DBC and it would not be appropriate for the government to intervene or comment.”

City scraps waste pipeline after thousands protest

Party boss has shirt torn off his back as crowd of demonstrators invades local headquarters
Fiona Tam
Jul 29, 2012

A city in eastern China scrapped an industrial waste pipeline after tens of thousands of anti-pollution protesters ransacked the local government headquarters, clashed with riot police and tore off the shirt of a Communist Party boss.

Computers were smashed, police cars overturned and police officers beaten up. Bloodied protesters were seen leaving the scene of the protest in Qidong , Jiangsu province, an hour’s journey from Shanghai, but police rejected rumours that some had been killed.

The demonstration was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation and underscores the social tensions confronting the central government as it approaches a once-in-a-decade leadership transition this autumn.

Shouting slogans, the demonstrators began gathering in the city’s Yongan Square at 5am, protesting that the waste-water pipeline from a Japanese-owned paper factory would discharge a huge amount of effluent into the sea every year, poisoning coastal waters.

Protesters pulled down the main gate of the government headquarters and rushed inside. They threw documents out of windows and seized luxury cigarettes and bottles of wine from offices. They confronted the city’s party boss, Sun Jianhua, in his office, tore off his shirt and tried to get him to wear a red T-shirt with the slogan “Strongly resist sewage from Oji”, a reference to the Oji Paper Group, the company behind the factory and planned pipeline.

Police escorted Sun from the scene. Photographs of him fleeing shirtless from the crowd were widely circulated online.

Six hours after the protest began, Zhang Guohua , the mayor of Nantong , which has jurisdiction overQidong, announced the scrapping of the pipeline plan.

It was unclear whether police made any arrests, but online postings said some demonstrators had been taken away. Police warned that those who used the internet to incite protest, and people who damaged public property, faced criminal charges.

A protester cited hospital sources as saying that at least 20 were injured and more people were sent to hospital at night. Residents said that they heard more than 100 demonstrators were taken away by police.

A shopkeeper near the government headquarters said: “Many protesters were injured when clashing with police, and I heard rumours some were beaten to death.”

The Qidong police bureau denied there had been any deaths, and said it had checked with the city’s hospitals and emergency centre.

After Zhang’s announcement, large numbers of riot police were sent to Qidong from nearby cities. Officers blocked roads around the government headquarters and all businesses were shut, residents said.

A receptionist at a hotel said: “All guests staying in our hotels are required to check out this afternoon. We don’t know when business will resume.”

Photographs circulating online showed trucks carrying armed police entering a middle school.

Access to the internet was shut off in Qidong, and censors blocked searches on Sina’s microblog service for “Qidong”.

A showdown over the plant had been brewing for days, with the authorities accused of harassing residents, including teenagers, in the past week in a bid to prevent them joining the protest.

The Oji Paper Group said on Friday that its purifying treatment conformed to the national standard.

It is the second time this month that mass protests over the environmental and health impacts of industrial installations have forced authorities to scrap or relocate them.

Organisers of the protest in Qidong said they had been inspired by a protest early this month in Shifang , Sichuan , in which tens of thousands of people took to the streets for several days, clashing violently with police, over plans to build a heavy-metal processing plant.

Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsors Have Received $67 Million From ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife Foundations


The Heartland Institute’s Seventh “International Conference on Climate Change” – the somewhat-annual gathering of climate deniers that we call Denial-a-Palooza – is underway in Chicago. Heartland’s contrarian gathering this year is clouded by the group’s incredibly offensive billboard campaign that flamed out within hours but is causing lasting damage to the group’s fading financial support from corporations, defections by staff and board directors and other headaches.

Below is DeSmog’s analysis of the “co-sponsors” of this year’s ICCC7 conference showing that these organizations have received more than $67 million over the past three decades from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the right-wing Scaifefamily foundations. This is just a subset of the funding flowing to these groups from just three sources, and is certainly not all earmarked to cast doubt about climate change science and policy. But it provides a window into Heartland’s current and historical support from fellow travelers who endorse the group’s anti-science agenda.

Here’s the breakdown of funding to Heartland Institute from these sources:

ExxonMobil (1998-2010): $7,312,500
Koch Foundations (1986-2010): $14,391,975
Scaife Foundations (1985-2010): $45,337,640

Grand Total: $67,042,115

Here’s the complete list along with the funding totals for each of the organizations.

African Center for Advocacy and Human Development
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Alternate Solutions Institute

Received a $100,000 grant in 2008 from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
American Tradition Institute
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation

Received $5,176,500 from Koch Foundations (David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe) since 2005.

Americans for Tax Reform
Received $375,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife and Carthage) since 1996.

Received $60,000 from Koch Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Charitible Foundation and Charles G. Koch Foundation) since 2003.

Atlas Economic Research Foundation

Received $1,082,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

Received $3,465,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife and Carthage) since 1985.

Received $182,300 from Koch Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Charitible Foundation and Charles G. Koch Foundation) since 1987.

Australian Libertarian Society

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Austrian Economics Center

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
Ayn Rand Institute

Received $50,000 from Koch Foundations since 2005.

Beacon Hill Institute
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Berlin Manhattan Institute
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Capital Research Center
Received $265,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $5,155,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife, Scaife Family and Carthage) since 1985.
Received $665,000 from Koch Foundations (Claude R. Lambe Charitible Foundation and Charles G. Koch Foundation) since 1987.

Carbon Sense Coalition

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
Center for Industrial Progress
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2 Science)

Received $100,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

Received $100,000 from Sarah Scaife Foundation since 1999.
Received $85,000 from Koch Foundations since 1997.
Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)

Received $582,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

Received $1,840,000 from Scaife Foundations (Carthage and Sarah Scaife) since 1991.

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Received $2,005,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

Received $666,420 from Koch Foundations (David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe) since 1986.

Received $3,275,000 from Scaife Foundations (Sarah Scaife, Scaife Family and Carthage) since 1985.
Doctors for Disaster Preparedness
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Free to Choose Network
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Frontiers of Freedom
Received $1,272,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $175,000 from Koch Foundations since 2004.

Received $135,000 from Scaife Foundations since 1998.

Frontier Centre for Public Policy
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

George C. Marshall Institute
Received $840,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $30,000 from Koch Foundations in 2004.
Received $3,977,500 from Scaife Foundations since 1985.

The Heritage Foundation
Received $680,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $4,476,571 from Koch Foundations since 1997.
Received $24,496,640 from Scaife Foundations since 1985.
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Illinois Coal Association

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Independent Institute
Received $85,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $160,000 from Koch Foundations since 1995.

International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP)
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Institute for Liberty
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Institute for Private Enterprise
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Instituto Liberdade
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

International Climate Science Coalition
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Leadership Institute
Received $101,500 from Koch Foundations since 1995.

Liberty Institute (India)
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

John Locke Foundation
Received $122,472 from Koch Foundations since 1997.

Power For USA
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Reason Foundation
Received $381,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $2,436,212 from Koch Foundations since 1986.

Received $2,518,500 from Scaife Foundations since 1985.

Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Received $20,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Received $5,000 from Koch Foundations since 2003.

New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

60 Plus Association
No funding records from Exxon, Koch or Scaife.

Funding totals:

ExxonMobil (1998-2010): $7,312,500
Koch Foundations (1986-2010): $14,391,975
Scaife Foundations (1985-2010): $45,337,640

Grand Total: $67,042,115

Related Posts:

Graham Readfearn’s look at the Australian groups backing Heartland’s climate denial

Last year’s tally of Exxon-Koch-Scaife money flows to ICCC6 sponsor organizations

Valentine’s Day Heartland documents: Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine
Desmogblog (

WK Cultural Green Park

Dear friends of the Environment:

Hopefully this my last letter (sent herewith) to campaign for an environmental green park of Hong Kong.

Now, we have submitted our design (by Prof. K.P. Cheung and his students of HKU, School of Architecture) to the Town Planning Board to challenge the ill-designed plan (by Norman Forster) submitted by the HK Government.

The decision of the Town Planning Board shall be final.

I’m calling for all of you to champion for our proposal of a “cultural green park / cum underground transport and commercial hub” for Hong Kong.  Please don’t hesitate to let your voice heard to the new Chief Executive, Mr. C.Y. Leung, and his cabinet members.

Although, in comparison to those in-power, our group, H.K. Alternatives, have always been humble and meek in all the past seven years of our avocation for the course of a central green park of Hong Kong.  We have found it necessary to rise from the field on occasions, with our severe condemnation to those who are in charge.

We look forward to seeing the twilight with this new government, which seems to be consisting of more professionals than politicians.  Our proposal is calling for a long term development program starting at the WKCD site which will have major impact to the social, economical and environmental future of Hong Kong.  In comparison, the government proposal (based on the Foster design) is calling for a quick compromise with the existing property hegemony.  This is probably the first major decisions for Mr. C.Y. Leung to make, serving as the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

Best wishes to all, for good health and in harmony with nature!

And Cheers!

Prof. Ken Wai Kee Neng

Proposed parking scheme should be rejected

SCMP letter

Jul 25, 2012

While drivers welcome government plans to introduce new features at parking meters, such as allowing fees to be paid via mobile phone, pedestrians and residents of districts with chronic traffic congestion are appalled.

The Legislative Council paper on the trial scheme says that on-street “parking spaces are provided to cater for short-term parking needs. These parking spaces are normally metered to discourage prolonged parking.” Currently allocated times are 30 minutes to two hours, depending on conditions in the district.

Allowing drivers to use remote payment methods will encourage them to hog meters for hours on end, causing further congestion on our streets and will make life easier for valet parking operators monopolisingpublic facilities for private commercial purposes. The Transport and Housing Bureau will promise to supervise the parking meters to curtail abuse, but we have heard that before.

Not a single ticket has been issued for violation of the anti-idling engine legislation in more than six months. Street-side parking is the most popular option because of convenience and low fees, HK$2 for 15 minutes, undercutting higher rates at off-street car parks. Instead of encouraging drivers to park street side, officials should be taking measures to reduce on-street parking to generate new lanes and introduce multifold increases in meter charges that reflect the high cost of land. Forcing drivers into off-street parking facilities would reduce both air and noise pollution and make our streets more spacious and pleasant.

The focus of the bureau is as usual all on the convenience of motorists: “We will examine how the new generation of parking meters could allow greater flexibility in the charging mechanism and parking time arrangements to better serve the needs of the motorists.” No mention of benefits for the long-suffering pedestrian.

The streets belong to everyone and it is high time that what is best for the majority be the priority when implementing new measures. Instead of spending significant amounts on upgrading meters, that will never be recouped because of the low fees, our transport officials should concentrate on introducing congestion pricing to inner city districts to encourage goods deliveries to be executed outside peak hours and to discourage unnecessary incursions.

Hopefully, the members of the next Legco Transport Advisory Committee will get their priorities right and reject proposals inconsistent with the general public interest.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui

Kids wheezing Down Under – what about those in HK?


Jul 25, 2012

There is less than cheery news from Australia on the subject of air pollution and child health.

A national study of 2,860 primary school children found nitrogen dioxide (NO2), found in motor vehicle exhaust, was present in the lungs of two-thirds of the children from the 55 schools tested, according to Melbourne’s The Age newspaper. Researchers found that vehicle pollution is giving otherwise healthy children asthma-like symptoms, potentially affecting their lung growth and function.

In cases where NO2 was found, children experienced ”asthma-like” symptoms, including wheezing. Their lung volume was reduced and their airways inflamed.

The study found that NO2 exposure was not producing typical asthma but a non-specific lung effect that did not improve with asthma medication.

The National Environment Protection Council commissioned the Australian Child Health and Air Pollution Study and noted that air pollution has a greater impact on children than adults.

Interestingly, that kind of report could not be produced in Hong Kong under the present structure of the Environmental Protection Department. So far as air pollution is concerned it just measures emissions and has no remit to concern itself with public health.

That is the concern of the Department of Health, which likewise does not concern itself with emissions. This is all part of the emasculation of the EPD that has occurred over the past decade. Critics argue that the EPD should have a clear public health remit.

It would be an interesting test of the government’s complacency over air pollution to conduct a similar survey on the health of children in Hong Kong.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Government complacency over air quality and its effect on the population is matched by absurdity elsewhere.

We have seen extracts of a meeting that reported on the progress of street cleaning along Wan Po Road, which runs past Lohas Park to the landfill. This road has the distinction of being washed six times a day – eight times a day at Lohas Park. This is presumably because the residents don’t like refuse trucks running along the road. This is the problem with living in a residential development built in the middle of an industrial estate. But there is more.

Taxpayers will be delighted to hear that the trees along the road are washed regularly. This occurs under the watchful eye of none other than officers from the Environmental Protection Department

Development threatens sensitive area

SCMP letter

The governments of Hong Kong and Shenzhen are pushing forward with the development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop, to optimise “land resources of this strategic location to meet the future development needs of the two cities”.

The government says that it will be used for education and hi-tech research.

The loop was formerly a fishpond area until our Hong Kong and Shenzhen administrations agreed to fill the ponds with toxic mud from the Shenzhen River. It forms an integral part of the internationally important Deep Bay ecosystem. According to the government the wetlands surrounding the loop have “very high ecological value” and “no basic infrastructure”.

The high development density will cause extra environmental problems, namely air pollution, reduced flood control, and impacts on nearby wetlands. This violates the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, which state that “intrusion of urban development into otherwise scenic and undeveloped areas must be either prevented or ameliorated” and “new environmental problems should be avoided”.

Recent private developments in the Deep Bay area have plot ratios of no more than 0.4. The two universities located in rural areas with comparable size to the loop, namely Chinese University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, have plot ratios of roughly 0.3. Despite insisting that the development of the loop is to be governed by Hong Kong planning law and practice the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Planning Department have proposed a plot ratio of 1.37 – more than three times higher than the limit of 0.4. Despite repeated requests the government has provided no justifications for proposing such a high plot ratio at such a sensitive site.

Given the failure to explain in private would the director of planning explain, through these columns, why his department has proposed a plot ratio that contravenes its own planning principles and the long-established practice of restricting plot ratios in Deep Bay?

Mike Kilburn, vice-chairman, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

recent meeting to ‘discuss’ the incinerator visit to Singapore


Islands District Council

  • ·        By E-Mail to
  • ·        By Fax to (852) 2542 0183
  • ·        By Telephone to  (852) 2852 4325
  • ·        By Mail to Islands District Council Secretariat, 20/F., Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong

Dear Sir,                                             24 July 2012

We refer to the meeting chaired (as shown below in the SCMP Lai See newspaper article) by Mr Randy Yu. We note Mr Yu is stated as the son-in-law of Mr Lau Wong Fat and his address details show the Hutchison House address of one of Mr Lau Wong Fat’s companies, Grand Gain Holdings Ltd. We note that Mr Lau has considerable property and real estate investments in the Tuen Mun area and opposed the siting of the proposed incinerator in Tsang Tsui. From the report of the meeting below it apparently seems Mr Yu thinks the idea of siting an incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau was excellent, but later backtracked and deemed he had ‘no preconceived ideas’ seeing that the proceedings were being videotaped by an ethnic chinese  person.

In the interests of clarity and impartiality I urge you to make the following information and attachments known to all Islands District Council members and at all and any subsequent meetings on this matter and that you make this information freely available to all Islands District  Council area  residents. Note the attached report from one of the persons attending the Singapore incinerator trip that was conducted only  in English by their Government tour guides.

I would also ask that Mr Yu recuse himself from such further meetings since he has a seeming major conflict of interest in this matter, given his family ties to Mr Lau Wong Fat and his listed office location.

Yours faithfully,

James Middleton


  • ·        Burning passion for Shek Kwu Chau incinerator – till camera begins to roll
Howard Winn South China Morning Post
Jul 24, 2012

The previous government’s plans to build a super incinerator in the vicinity of the scenic island of Shek Kwu Chau, off Lantau, were put on hold by the Legislative Council some months ago. However, various forces still appear to be working away in the background to advance the cause.

We wrote some months ago about a heavily subsidised trip to Singapore for island residents and environmental groups. The point of the visit was to learn about Singapore’s approach to waste management, which, unsurprisingly, is heavily reliant on incineration. This was organised by a little-known group called the Hong Kong Islands District Association. Participants paid HK$1,000 for the trip, which would normally cost about HK$6,000. It was paid for out of two government funds set up for environmental projects.

Now we hear that a resident of south Lantau has accidentally discovered the association had held a meeting to discuss the incinerator. The meeting was poorly advertised – just an announcement on an A4 piece of paper on the notice board of the district council office. As a result of the lack of publicity, the meeting was thinly attended, by 30-odd insiders of rural committee members and families plus one environmentalist gatecrasher.

Interestingly, the session was chaired by Randy Yu, son-in-law of Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat. Yu is apparently destined to be a district councillor. He started by saying the government’s plan for an incinerator was excellent and that it was a pity the plan had been frozen. This was attributed to biased research conducted by expatriates that was then blindly accepted by locals. It should be noted that Yu’s father-in-law, Lau, opposed the other site suggested in one of the government’s studies – Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun.

The government is believed to have caved in to pressure from Lau not to put the facility in his fiefdom. The tone of the meeting was very much in support of building the incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau, until, that is, the environmentalist gatecrasher started videoing the proceedings. The tone then became remarkably neutral, we are told, with Yu repeatedly emphasising he had no preconceived ideas as to where the incinerator should be built. Lai See wonders what this all means.

Mr YU Hon-kwan, Randy, JP
Capacity: Appointed Member
Occupation: Surveyor
Political Affiliation:
District Council Services: Member, Islands District Council
Chairman, District Facilities Management Committee
Member, Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries and Environmental Hygiene Committee
Member, Community Affairs, Culture and Recreation Committee
Member, Traffic and Transport Committee
Address: Rm 619, Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel. No.: 9389 7647
Fax No.: 2187 3536
E-mail Address:

(Hutchison House address is the office location of Grand Gain Holdings Ltd (licensed money lenders)  – owner Mr LAU Wong Fat)

Cancer fears threaten incinerator plan

Published on 22 July 2012

EXCLUSIVE by Rob Edwards Environment Editor

A SERIES of highly toxic emissions from Scotland’s newest waste incinerator in breach of safety limits are threatening to upset plans to build similar controversial plants across the country.

An energy-from-waste plant at Dargavel in Dumfries has had its operations restricted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) after it admitted releasing cancer-causing dioxins up to two-and-a-half times permitted levels into the air.

The company that runs the plant, Scotgen, is now facing difficulties obtaining a pollution permit for a second waste incinerator at Dovesdale Farm, near Stonehouse in South Lanarkshire. This proposal has prompted 24,000 objections from local residents and others concerned about the health risks.

Scotgen’s problems are also likely to hamper plans by other companies for another 14 incinerators across Scotland. Most of them have run into fierce opposition from local communities.

Scotgen’s Dumfries plant, commissioned in 2009 to “gasify” more than 20,000 tonnes of hazardous and municipal waste a year at high temperatures, has had a troubled history. Its pollution performance has been condemned as “very poor” by Sepa.

Before the plant was shut down in April 2011, it suffered some 200 breaches of emission limits, two of which were because of dioxins. According to Sepa, it also had 100 “short-term exceedances” and prompted 45 noise complaints.

Problems began again soon after the plant was restarted towards the end of March this year. On May 29, it emitted 0.25 nanograms of dioxins. The permitted limit is 0.1 nanograms.

Sepa ordered that the offending boiler be closed down while the breach was investigated. During trials in June there were a further two dioxin breaches. After further investigations, the plant was allowed to restart last week.

Dioxins are a group of highly dangerous and persistent pollutants produced by combustion. As well as triggering cancer, according to the World Health Organisation they can cause reproductive and developmental problems and damage the immune system.

Sepa told the Sunday Herald that it would not grant a pollution permit for Scotgen’s Dovesdale plant until it received “key information to demonstrate the viability of the technology” in Dumfries.

According to Sepa, Scotgen has also had financial difficulties. The company was sold just before its previous owners, Ascot Environmental, went into administration on May 18, 2012.

John Young, from the Action Group Against the Dovesdale Incinerator, urged Sepa to shut down Scotgen for good. “This company has a failed track record in protecting both the environment and public health,” he said.

Scotgen confirmed there had been dioxin breaches in Dumfries, but pointed out that Sepa had approved the restart of operations last week. “Scotgen is continuing to work closely with its regulator,” said the company’s director, Lloyd Brotherton.

Home | Macau | CUHK to start 10-year plan on Ka Ho residents’ health in Macau

CUHK to start 10-year plan on Ka Ho residents’ health (Macau)

18/06/2012 10:05:00

The government has commissioned the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a 10-year study of health conditions of the residents in Ka Ho, where local people complained of illness due to the air pollution from ashes from the nearby incinerator. The Health Bureau said they had agreed with the university on the detailed procedures of the study to monitor the health conditions of residents in the area near Hac Sa. The University was quoted as saying details of the monitoring mechanism and study methodologies would be disclosed to the public next month. Preliminary arrangements require an annual report to be published, but the final conclusion will be ten years away. The Health Bureau said the study will be conducted scientifically, impartially and independently in a professional manner. The health issues were discovered early last year when hundreds of residents, many of them students and teachers in the schools there, complained of lung and respiratory problems after the contractor working the incinerator was found to have broken safety regulations by disposing of the ashes into open areas, and a large amount of them carried to residential districts by wind


Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 19:05
To: ‘‘; ‘
Cc: Andrew Tristem; ‘Frances Pollitt’; ‘Kelly, Frank’; Elliott, Paul
Subject: FW: Incinerator study

Dear Mr Middleton

Thank you for your enquiry on behalf of ‘Clear The Air’ in Hong Kong.

The English Health Protection Agency announced last week that they have approved funding for a Small Area Health Statistics Unit study to investigate whether there is any potential link between municipal waste incinerators and reproductive health – see

This is for a two year study starting in April 2012.  Results will be made publicly available once accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Best wishes

Anna Hansell

(Dr) Anna Hansell  MB BChir MA MRCP MSc PhD FFPH

Clinical Senior Lecturer

Assistant Director, Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU)

MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

School of Public Health Faculty of Medicine

Imperial College London St Mary’s Campus, Norfolk Place  LONDON W2 1PG

Phone:  +44 (0)20 7594 3344

Fax: +44 (0)20 7594 0768


Small Area Health Statistics Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK

From: James Middleton []
Sent: 30 January 2012 09:43
To: Kelly, Frank;
Subject: Incinerator study

Dear Prof Elliott,

We are an NGO Charity based in Hong Kong. Our website is Could you please tell us what is the status of your Unit’s investigation regarding possible incinerator

proximity dangers and when the study would likely be complete ?

Kind regards James Middleton Chairman

Patrons: Professor Judith Mackay Professor Anthony Hedley

Inquiry is ordered into incinerators and health hazards they may pose

An investigation is to be launched – the first of its kind in this country – into whether incinerators present a risk to public health.

by Mark Metcalf

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

A team from Imperial College, London, has been commissioned to carry out the inquiry by the Health Protection Agency after fears were raised about the health risks of incinerators, particularly for young children.

Dozens of incinerators have been built around the country as Britain struggles to cope with its mounting refuse problems. But campaigners have become concerned that the price is being paid with poor health among babies and infants in the localities where such amenities are sited. One such activist is Michael Ryan, who lives in Shrewsbury, and who lost his only daughter at 14 weeks – and then suffered further personal tragedies when his teenage son and his mother both died, too. All lived downwind of an incinerator.

Mr Ryan began a painstaking piece of research into the subject of health – and deaths – of people living in close proximity to incinerators. The results from London are startling. In 12 of the capital’s 625 wards, there were no infant deaths between 2002 and 2008. But Southwark, which has two incinerators close by, had the highest rate with 7.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in that period.

Critics say it’s not microscopic particles from incinerators that kill babies and young children, but poverty. And while it is true that some people living close to incinerators are at the lower end of the social scale, Mr Ryan’s research reveals that death rates in more affluent middle class areas are higher if there is an incinerator nearby. Affluent Chingford Green ward in Waltham Forest has the second highest average number of child deaths in London. It happens to be close to Britain’s largest incinerator. “If it’s all about poverty, then how come the levels of infant mortality in countryside areas, where wages have always been below average, aren’t high?” asks Mr Ryan.

Now, to cries of “at last” from Mr Ryan, HPA head Justin McCracken has said that following discussions with Professor Paul Elliott, head of the Small Area Health Statistics Unit at Imperial College, it has been “concluded that an epidemiological study of birth outcomes around municipal waste incinerators would produce reliable results. Work is now progressing in developing a detailed proposal for what will be a complex study.”In 2004, a study in Japan found a “peak decline in risk with distance from the municipal solid waste incinerators for infant deaths and infant deaths with all congenital malformations combined”.

Detroit Incinerator

While other cities and counties struggle to reduce landfill waste through recycling programs, Detroit still burns its garbage — and the garbage of its neighbors — within blocks of residential neighborhoods. For the last 20 years, the Detroit Incinerator, also know as the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility, has cost the city an estimated 1.2 billion dollars, and continues to increase air pollution levels throughout the city. These pollution levels persistently exceed National Ambient Air Quality standards, and consequently contribute to the rising rates of asthma. Detroiters are three times as likely to be hospitalized for asthma compared to Michigan as a whole, and asthma death rates in Detroit are two times that for the state.

As the largest incinerator in the world, it is grossly over sized and imports garbage from nearby towns just so it can operate at design capacity. During the past several years of the City’s bond obligation for the incinerator, private haulers were charged as little as $13 per ton, while Detroit residents effectively paid $150 per ton or more. Since the Facility needed the trash to keep it burning, its served as a disincentive to recycling.

While the financial costs and health burdens remains high, Detroit continues to operate the incinerator and ignore the savings that recycling and recovery programs throughout the city would create.

Some claim the incinerator is an important feature to providing renewable energy to Detroit buildings because the burned municipal waste is converted to steam and sold to the steam loop owned by Detroit Renewable Energy. However, Detroit Thermal can, and has met all the current demands of their customers without the input from the incinerator.

Within the last five years the prospect of closing the incinerator has come close. In 2008 the City Council stated visions to adapt a new business model for Detroit solid waste and provided budget money to begin a curbside recycling program. The City’s financial obligation to the Facility ended in July 2009. In late 2010 new owners, Atlas Holdings/Detroit Renewable Energy, received a contract for burning the City’s municipal trash until 2011, but without any tonnage obligation.

Currently, organizations across Southeast Michigan are asking state legislators to create good policy to protect Detroiters. These policies include incentivizing recycling programs throughout the city and discontinue defining trash burning as a source of renewable energy. The benefits of recycling far outweigh the costs of incineration. Recycling saves natural resources, energy, landfill space and money, creates less air and water pollution, and decreases the risk of asthma related illnesses. Transitioning Detroit toward an intensive recycling program will not only save the city money, but improve the health of Detroiters as well.

Green group complains about Yau’s Europe trip
Howard Winn
Jul 18, 2012

Edward Yau Tang-wah, the former secretary for the environment who now heads the chief executive’s office, acquired some notoriety for doing little to improve the environment, but in the 60 months he was in the job managed to squeeze in some 59 overseas trips.

One trip has attracted critical attention from Clear the Air chairman Jim Middleton, who has filed a complaint with the Director of Audit. In April, Yau led a motley group of 20 on a trip to Sweden, Denmark, then on to Britain to visit London, Cambridge and Scotland.

The trip, according to the government, aimed “to exchange experience on the development and promotion of green technologies, identify opportunities for co-operation on various green initiatives, and promote the market for green technological and innovative solutions in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.”

Eight of the participants were from environmental firms, there were six academics, three from the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, and two from the Hong Kong Productivity Council. Of the academics, one was a professor of internal medicine, and another of chemistry. The Productivity Council sent two IT specialists.

Most on the trip were from government-funded groups which forked out a minimum of HK$44,000 per head for the trip. Middleton is not convinced of the efficacy of the trip or of the participants. He was particularly critical of the visit to Denmark, noting it was behind Hong Kong in terms of recycling, and recently realised it was exceeding its carbon dioxide goals under the Kyoto Protocol. The main reason for this was its widespread incineration of municipal waste. “What has Hong Kong gained from this trip?” he asks


From: James Middleton []
Sent: 07 July, 2012 20:47‘;; ‘‘; ‘“TAM Yiu-chung”’; ‘garychk’; ‘
Subject: ‘ Greentech ‘ Europe jaunt members

Subject: Greentech Europe jaunt members

So look at the number of participants from the Taipo Science Park who went for the jolly to Europe in April.

And then of course the freebies from HK Productivity Council (specialty IT) and a professor of medicine from CUHK , lifetime students from Kadoorie Institute etc

What did this trip achieve for the HK Environment ? how do we benefit ? Please ask the question in Legco.

Why are a professor of internal medicine, HKG Productivity Council (lack of productivity IT people)  and an HKBU chemistry professor travelling on a so-called environmental ‘Greentech’ trip looking at incinerators and a Scottish whiskey distillery? They looked at hybrid buses in UK – so who actually buys the buses here ? KMB and Citybus and New World First Bus should be compelled to get them by mandating Clean Air Zones in our worst roadside pollution areas, but Edward Yau already signed  weakened new franchises with them.

How many foreign companies have signed up for space at the Taipo Science Park as a result of this trip ?

Directly (Yau Tang Wah) or indirectly the money funding these people’s Europe jaunt came from taxpayers.

Diabolical waste of our Government funds with no apparent return.

James Middleton


From: James Middleton []
Sent: 16 July, 2012 14:17
Subject: : Burning sensation – did Edward Yau bring back this message with him from his ‘Greentech’ trip and Scottish distillery visit ? what a waste of public money

Mr. SUN Tak Kei, David, BBS, JP Dir of Audit 2829 4200

From: James Middleton []
Sent: 12 July, 2012 23:06
To: ‘Kitto Kan’; Howard Winn;; ‘‘; ‘
Subject: : Burning sensation – did Edward Yau bring back this message with him from his ‘Greentech’ trip and Scottish distillery visit ? what a waste of public money

Clear the Air says:

So our former Environment Minister Edward Yau and  his ‘Greentech’ hangers-on for a free Europe jaunt at public expense visited Denmark to learn about their ‘advanced’ waste treatment bonfire.

In fact Denmark is way behind Hong Kong in recycling, percentage wise,  they have just realised their incinerators are causing irreparable CO2 climate damage (let alone the other noxious emissions), they do not have enough waste to burn so have to import it to keep their incinerators running – and our ‘Greentech’ mission went there to learn something, or for  det kolde bord(smorgasbord)?

Read on and be amazed …………………

SEN and green tech mission start visit to Denmark (with photos)

The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, and a green tech mission from Hong Kong started their visit to Denmark in Copenhagen today (April 25, Copenhagen time). While in Copenhagen they will take a look at the city’s advanced waste treatment technology and explore possibilities for co-operation in green business.  The mission first visited Amagerforbrænding, which runs Copenhagen’s largest incineration plant. They toured its recycling station and the incineration plant to learn more about the city’s waste treatment facilities and technology for generating energy from waste.


Still adjusting | The great green swindle

Justin Cremer

April 7, 2012 – 07:37

A proud native of the American state of Iowa, Justin Cremer has been living in Copenhagen since June 2010. In addition to working at the CPH Post, he balances fatherhood, struggling with the Danish language and keeping up with the ever-changing immigration rules.

Just days after Denmark put through its much-heralded energy plan, resulting in plenty of back-slapping among politicians and more than a fair amount of praise in the international press, Eurostat figures revealed that theaverage Dane produced 673 kilos of garbage in 2010, putting Denmark behind only Cyprus and Luxembourg when it comes to trash. The figures also revealed that a mere 23 percent of Danish household trash is recycled, about half as much as the Germans.

These numbers were not in the least bit surprising. Ever since my first visit to Denmark, I was struck by how hard it was to recycle, particularly plastic. I was so accustomed to recycling my plastic one gallon milk containers (that’s roughly 3.8 litres, my European friends) that I found it incredulous that milk here came in cardboard packages destined for the trash. Though, to be fair, I found it even more unbelievable that the said containers only hold one litre of milk, meaning a lifetime of going to the store every second day.

Like most of the outside world, I came here having bought into the notion that Denmark was a green paradise. Why then, was I throwing things in the trash that back home were recycled? “Bare rolig du,” I was told. In Denmark, everything is burnt and the energy is then used to heat homes. It’s a beautiful system, can’t you see that?

Actually, no. A study by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) last year revealed that Denmark’s carbon dioxide emissions were double what was originally thought and the nation was exceeding the carbon dioxide goals under the Kyoto Protocol. The culprit? That same rubbish incineration programme that had been praised to the heavens.

But, but, but, it’s not the incineration that’s the problem, experts argued. It’s that too much plastic gets burnt – that same plastic that is incredibly inconvenient to recycle.

Being a good, environmentally-conscious world citizen, I tried to do my small part. For months, I had been dutifully separating my plastic and cardboard, placing them in the requisite clear plastic sacks, and storing them in the shed until the infrequent storskrald (big trash) pick-up days.

Only when my wife happened to be outside on pick-up day and struck up a conversation with one of the collectors, did I come to realise that all of that was just burnt anyway. Yes, my plastic that had been rinsed and separated, my cardboard that had been neatly bundled. Burnt. All of it. In incineration plants that, according to DTU’s numbers, produce some 700,000 more tonnes of carbon dioxide than previously thought.

Rather ironically, with the amount of emissions this incorrectly-labelled ‘green’ solution pumps into the atmosphere, there sure are some particular rules about it. Just last week, the collectors refused to take my trash because there was loose kitty litter inside. Gosh, did I feel terrible that I hadn’t put it in an extra unnecessary plastic sack to put within the larger sack so that it all could be burnt and added to the air pollution. My bad, y’all.

Hopefully, though, the attitudes towards incineration and recycling are beginning to change. A year-long pilot programme in Amager revealed last summer that up to 30 percent of the household rubbish currently being burned is recyclable or unfit for burning. Based on that programme, Copenhagen’s technical and environmental department, Teknik- og Miljøforvaltningen (TMF), announced a new sortable recycling programme that it expects will reduce carbon emissions by 1,400 tonnes per year. The programme was due to begin this month, but a call to TMF last week revealed that it had been pushed back to sometime in the autumn.

Denmark has done an amazing job of presenting itself as an environmental leader. The strategy seems to be that if you dot your countryside and shorelines with enough wind turbines, you’ll convince the world that you’re ‘green’. Largely, it’s worked. And with the newly-announced plan to wean Denmark off fossil fuels by 2050, the country will continue to be perceived as on the cutting edge of green technology. But when residents can’t conveniently recycle in their homes and instead pile up obscene amounts of trash that, once incinerated, produce an emissions-laden carbon bomb, it gives a whole new meaning to the line so proudly displayed on DSB’s trains: “It’s not a question of green, but how green.” And just how green can a country be when in the year 2012 it still hasn’t fully embraced recycling?


Incinerators: better than landfills, but a recycling loser

Erica Cooperberg

July 8, 2012 – 08:00

Burning rubbish provides energy for households, but also comes with a price: it makes people complacent about their trash disposal

Plans to build a new futuristic incinerator – complete with ski slope – were just too grand for the city

For the five and a half million individuals residing in Denmark, waste is a perpetual problem, but it is not one that is being ignored. However, depending on who you ask, the nation’s chosen disposal method – incineration – is either an ‘environmentally-friendly’ end station, or just a step in the right direction.

While 42 percent of Danish waste is recycled, according to official statistics, the majority, 54 percent, is burned in a process that converts waste into new forms of useful energy. In Denmark’s case, that means that instead of being sent to landfills, rubbish is burned to produce heat and electricity at what are known as waste-to-energy plants.

Amagerforbrænding, Denmark’s second-largest waste company, handles approximately ten percent of the country’s waste. That trash either winds up at one of 12 recycling stations or at its waste-to-energy plant inAmager.

Jonas Nedenskov, an engineer with Amagerforbrænding, explained that the plant incinerates over 400,000 tonnes of waste per year, which is converted into “climate-friendly energy” that supplies 120,000 households with heat in the form of forced hot water and 50,000 households with electricity.

But Amagerforbrænding isn’t just burning waste; recycling is a large part of the company’s environmental efforts, and some 85 percent of the waste received at the recycling stations can be reused.

Amagerforbrænding hopes it can encourage people to recycle more. “Our task is to ensure that the collection and sorting of the many different plastics is as easy as possible,” Nedenskov said. Its latest initiative, to promote plastic recycling, is being carried out in co-operation with the city of Copenhagen.

Although incineration is a more environmentally-friendly process than landfilling, critics say it isn’t as green as its supporters make it out to be.

The process includes the emission of unhealthy toxins into the air, which is a concern to employees, the community directly surrounding the plant and the greater community.

Amagerforbrænding, according to Nedenskov, seeks to minimise the amount of toxins it releases by filtering its emissions to satisfy air quality requirements put out by environment agency Miljøstyrelsen.

But while emissions can be scrubbed, incineration’s other by-product is more difficult to deal with. After trash is burned, the leftover slag, made up mostly of metal, is unusable for anything other than road-building, contended Christian Poll of nature conservation society DN.

Essentially, the incinerators just “transform waste into concentrated material”, Poll said. “Those supporting incineration often forget to tell that story.”

While Poll agreed that incineration is “much better than landfilling, like we used 20 years ago”, Denmark should instead encourage people first and foremost to reduce the amount of waste they producereuse what they can, and then to recycle as much of the rest as possible.

A dispute between Amagerforbrænding and CONCITO, an environmental policy think-tank, surrounds this issue – Amagerforbrænding wishes to build a new incineration facility, while CONCITO argues that it is not entirely necessary.

While it does not support the current building proposals for the facility, CONCITO does back the facility’s overall expansion.

“We want the incinerator to be small so there’s room to make the change to recycling,” Poll said. “If it has a smaller capacity, there will be real incentives to generate less waste for incineration.”

Copenhagen’s deputy mayor for technical and environmental affairs, Ayfer Baykal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said a compromise needs to be reached on the size of any new incinerators built in Amager. The city refused to back a loan guarantee to build two new furnaces, each capable of handling 35 tonnes of waste per hour.

“We don’t need the incinerators to be so large, because the amount of trash generated in Copenhagen is expected to fall by 20 percent in the coming years,” Baykal told Politiken newspaper.

Baykal declined to say what compromises the city hopes to make, but Mogens Lømborg of Amagerforbrænding told Politiken that the larger ovens would be more cost-effective in the long-run.

Currently, CONCITO is waiting to hear back from the board of Amagerforbrænding with what it hopes will be plans to include more recycling facilities.

Looking towards the future, Poll said there was reason to expect Copenhagen would continue to recycle more and incinerate less. Calling the migration from landfilling to incineration a “good step”, he said continued progress would take effort. “Everything is possible; you just have to want it.”

Not enough rubbish to go around

Jennifer Buley

July 22, 2011 – 12:00

Councils scramble for foreign rubbish to fuel nation’s waste-to-energy incinerators

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In Denmark, one man’s waste is another man’s warmth – and there isn’t enough of it to go around.

Denmark leads most EU countries in municipal waste incineration for energy and heating. The country’s state-of-the-art incineration plants convert burnable household waste into the energy that heats up people’s homes, while filtering out a high percentage of the poisons and preventing 95 percent of all waste from ending up in a landfill.

Because of the popularity of this model, however, a number of communities are having trouble getting their hands on enough rubbish to feed the furnaces – and that is pressing more and more councils to import burnable foreign waste.

Three months ago, Nykøbing Falster in southern Zealand became the first Danish council to begin importing German garbage for incineration as it was not getting sufficient burnable rubbish from Zealand itself to run its incinerators efficiently.

The problem is even bigger in more rural areas, including much of Jutland, where concentrations of people are not large enough to produce enough waste to run the incineration plants. Several Jutland plants therefore plan to begin importing rubbish from Great Britain to make up for chronic garbage shortages.

Yet despite the shortage of homegrown burnable waste, thirteen Jutland councils are now weighing the possibility of building a new mega-sized incineration plant in Kjellerup, between Viborg and Silkeborg.

To run the new waste-to-energy plant thousands of truckloads of foreign rubbish may have to be imported from Germany and Great Britain. That has led critics to question the intelligence of the project.

“What’s about to happen is socio-economically stupid,” Palle Mang, managing director for Nomi, a waste management company in Holstebro, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “For a start, there’s not enough rubbish to ensure a sufficient supply for the incineration plants that already exist. If the plant in Kjellerup is built, we will come up short another 190,000 tonnes [of rubbish].”

Nomi is currently sourcing 4,000 tonnes of rubbish each month from outside the council just to keep its smaller incineration facility running.

But Flemming Christensen, managing director of the council-owned waste management company behind the Kjellerup project, says that is just fine.

“I don’t see any problem with importing rubbish. It’s a really good idea to use rubbish for fuel. In that way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help our neighbouring countries at the same time,” he said.

But the quality of the rubbish that is imported – as well as the distance and means by which it travels to get to the incinerator – will also have a big impact on whether carbon dioxide emissions are reduced or raised.

A recent study from the Technical University of Denmark revealed that high plastic levels in Danish household waste are the culprit for much higher carbon dioxide emissions from incineration practices than previously estimated.

The 13 councils are scheduled to meet about the proposed mega-incinerator project on September 1

Denmark’s carbon bomb

Jennifer Buley

April 8, 2011 – 09:00

Due to high levels of plastic incineration, carbon dioxide emissions are double the old estimate

A new study from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) indicates that Denmark’s carbon dioxide emissions are double the previous calculation and have probably been so for years.

Accordingly, Denmark is exceeding its carbon dioxide goals under the Kyoto Protocol.

Widespread municipal rubbish incineration – the same waste-to-energy system that has been touted internationally as a model for clean energy resourcefulness – is the main culprit.

The incineration itself is not necessarily the problem. It is just that there is too much plastic in our trash, say experts.

The new findings come from a current study on the composition of the nation’s household rubbish, by DTU associate professor Thomas Astrup. He found that the actual amount of ‘fossil content’ – plastics, in other words – in rubbish that is being incinerated is twice what authorities were estimating.

Although the study’s final results will not be ready until summer, the preliminary data was strong enough to convince the National Environmental Research Institute (DMU) to begin revising its annual report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which monitors whether countries are meeting their Kyoto Protocol commitments.

Based on the new carbon dioxide calculations from the DTU, Denmark is not.

“Our preliminary research shows that our emissions are in the range of 32.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide per gigajoule – which is twice as much as the 17.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide per gigajoule we used to think we were putting out from incinerators,” Astrup told science website

Some 700,000 tons more carbon dioxide escape into the atmosphere every year than previously thought, according to his computer models.

Denmark burns approximately half of all its household rubbish at incinerator plants that convert rubbish into energy for residential electricity and heat. Widespread municipal rubbish incineration means that just five percent of Danish rubbish gets buried in landfills. But it also means that we emit extra carbon dioxide.

“Carbon dioxide emissions were probably higher in previous years also. We just didn’t know,” Astrup told The Copenhagen Post.

According to a DMU report from 2010 – before the new data – the average Dane is responsible for releasing two and a half times more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the average world citizen. That number could be much higher when new calculations are taken into account.

Double the plastic in household rubbish means double the carbon dioxide emissions, when that rubbish gets incinerated.

“In Denmark we often sort less and incinerate more than other countries,” Astrup said. “But it makes sense, because we have a very developed district heating system that is very efficient at turning it into energy. This makes Denmark somewhat different from most other countries.”

There is a misconception that state-of-the-art incineration plants reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But that is not the case. They filter out dioxins and other poisons that might otherwise escape into the air, and if they are highly efficient, as in Denmark, they provide more energy from less rubbish.

The key to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the rubbish that is burned is making sure that there is less fossil content in it.

“The carbon dioxide coming from waste incinerators depends upon the waste composition and not the technology or efficiency of the plant,” said Astrup.

Separating and recycling more plastics from household rubbish would seem to be the answer, but Astrup warns that is not necessarily the ‘greenest’ solution:
“Burning the plastic in highly efficient Danish incinerators generates energy that we then do not need to produce at power plants using coal and gas. This saves carbon dioxide emissions elsewhere.”

“If the plastic can be sorted out in clean fractions and recycled properly to make new plastic, then it’s a good idea. But if it’s not clean, it can only be recycled into secondary materials, which saves less new plastic and less carbon dioxide emissions. Then it is better to incinerate the plastic in Denmark at high efficiency,” he added.


Email Sent: 25 May, 2012 15:25

To: Hong Kong Islands District Association

Dear Sir,

I refer to your intended mal-advised, heavily subvented, public money funded trip to view incinerators in Singapore.

I attach herewith a self-explanatory report by Singaporean experts on waste handling in Singapore.

We trust you can pass this report to ALL the persons intending to travel to Singapore before they actually travel so they can assimilate the local knowledge therein.

I would suggest they also then meet with the two authors of the report.

Yours faithfully,

James Middleton


Download PDF : SingaporeExpertreport (2)

Download PDF : Untitled attachment 00711 (2)