Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

September 28th, 2012:

Durham to start landfill mining by 2014–durham-to-start-landfill-mining-by-2014

Goal is to convert garbage dumps into recreation spots

DURHAM — Years from now, Durham’s landfills could be playgrounds and soccer fields.

That’s the vision Region of Durham staff is working towards as it advances plans to start “landfill mining.”¨ The concept sees material excavated from landfills and sorted into soil, recyclables, combustible materials and residual waste. Soil can then be remediated and the site refilled.

The plan comes at a time when many incineration opponents are questioning whether there will be enough garbage to feed the new Clarington energy-from-waste facility — especially as Durham moves towards a target of 70-per cent waste diversion.

Mirka Januszkiewicz, the Region’s director of waste management, says landfill mining will “close the loop” by turning landfills into usable community space and sending excavated waste to the incinerator.

In many communities, mining is done to create more space in jam-packed landfill sites, but Durham is pursuing the idea to repurpose the sites.

“The hope is that we can turn the landfills into recreation properties,” Ms. Januszkiewicz says. “We are not doing this to create more space in the landfill, we are doing this to clean it up.”

When the Region of Durham was established in 1974, seven municipal landfills came under its jurisdiction.

The plan is to start mining with the smallest one — Cartwright landfill, located in Blackstock.

Regional council approved the idea in principle last year.

The procurement process for a contractor is expected to start by fall 2013 with mining slated to begin by late 2014 or early 2015.

If the Cartwright site is a success, staff plans to continue with the Scott landfill in Uxbridge.

The Region is currently spending about $150,000 a year to maintain the seven landfills under its care, including water sampling and seepage repairs.

The cost of mining the Cartwright landfill is estimated at $390,000.

Staff said the Region’s larger landfills would likely be more expensive, but could also produce more recyclable metal which offsets the price tag.

Hong Kong government must set good example with green policies

Submitted by admin on Sep 26th 2012, 12:00am

Comment› Letters

Imagine a surgeon observing a dying patient surrounded by the most expensive gizmos available and the best staff (yes, I value the amazing Hong Kong health service), saying they could not undertake any operations for the next 20 years because the committee hearing the findings of the public inquiry can’t decide on whether they are worth saving.

The misleading levels of pollution reported in Hong Kong since 1992 dismay me.

These days, we are less likely to hear the term “haze” or “the high levels of pollution result from an anticyclone”. Now, we do hear “dangerous levels of pollution”, “stay indoors”, “don’t exercise outside”, “keep children and elderly indoors”. This is a tiny step towards recognising reality.

There seems to be a conspiracy theory which suggests that containers full of Guangdong pollution are loaded onto archaic trucks and driven to Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok and offloaded at dawn to poison our poor bankers, schoolchildren and bird lovers.

Those who own the trucks, buses, power stations and ships are not immune to toxins and emphysema. Don’t we all have to breathe air?

We have one of the longest life expectancies on the planet, but for how long?

I would like to ask our chief executive to have the courage to address this issue as a matter of urgency. I am asking for accountability.

Promises to improve housing, health care and pensions will count for nothing unless those of you in the government’s ranks wake up to the reality that you need to make some blindingly obvious choices.

Ban filthy buses and trucks (or employ competent people who know how to fix them regularly and enforce regulations), stop filthy fuel being used in ships in and around Hong Kong waters and get a more effective filtration system in operation in power stations (remove the profit guarantee unless CLP and Hongkong Electric do so). That’s a start. Of course, people will say that it is so expensive. For whom? Dying slowly is cheap? Think days off work or in hospital, or gasping for air.

If the correct example is set, the intelligent, responsible people of Hong Kong will realise it is in their interests to recycle, waste less, consume less, insulate and conserve.

Let’s face reality. We have one planet to look after. Greed, stupidity and inertia are not attractive attributes when there is a life-threatening ailment.

Peter Inglis, Fanling


Pollution in Hong Kong

Government responsibility

Source URL (retrieved on Sep 28th 2012, 6:52am):

High tariffs locked into a bad agreement             SCMP Letters 28 Sep 2012

Given problems in the global economy, a lot of people in Hong Kong have found that their incomes have been reduced and some have even lost their jobs.

Despite this, prices of many items keep rising, and electricity bills for consumers remain high. This is connected to the current electricity tariff arrangement.

The rationale behind a product price rise can differ from firm to firm. Some may seek better profit margins, others may be wanting to cover increased production costs.

It is not that simple with Hong Kong’s two main power companies. I accept that they are trying to change the way power is generated. They want to eventually replace coal with liquefied natural gas, which is the cleanest fossil fuel. This approach certainly involves a substantial investment and the firms might justify a bill rise because they want to pass on some of the cost to consumers.

Some would argue that this is not acceptable if the firms recognise their corporate social responsibility, but I think they are acting responsibly by trying to reduce emissions.

We need to accept there is a price to pay for a cleaner environment.

However, despite this, I do think the scheme of control agreement signed in 2008 is outdated and unfair. But, having signed it, the government cannot change it until 2018. It should reflect on this and in future refrain from signing long-term agreements.

Short-term deals will enable it to rectify any undesirable situations with greater ease.

Also, there must be the option of mid-term reviews of agreements. This enables officials to monitor the effectiveness of a policy.

Janet Wong Hung-wa, Ma On Shan