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June, 2013:


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Landfills not only solution to our waste

Letters to the Editor, June 24, 2013

Monday, 24 June, 2013, 12:00am


Landfills not only solution to our waste

In response to a reader’s criticism of Hong Kong’s waste management strategy (“Unjustified criticism of waste disposal”, June 21), the undersecretary for the environment, Christine Loh Kung-wai, argues that constructing more waste-treatment facilities, such as waste-to-energy incinerators, and expansion of existing landfills are the only options to transform our waste practices.

As a policy analyst and someone who works closely with the environmental industry, I would argue that this is simply a popular fallacy that drives people into believing that expanding our three existing landfills is the only way to solve our waste-management crisis.

Just look at how New York city deals with its waste. The city does not deal with its waste within the city boundary, but send it to its less populated neighbours for landfill or incineration.

New York city takes on this strategy mainly because it yields three stunning benefits. First, land in the metropolitan area can be saved for dire needs such as affordable housing, park land and office space.

Secondly, there are more jobs and revenue for the neighbouring cities as a result of the influx of waste.

Finally, the city has lower garbage fees from maximising the usage of existing waste-treatment facilities.

We have that luxury in Hong Kong, too. Our not-so-distant neighbour, Shenzhen, has incinerators that are not fully utilised. The facility operators over there certainly want our waste for more revenue.

And from a legal perspective, it is legitimate to send our waste to Shenzhen to be incinerated.

The Basel Convention, the treaty that governs the transportation of waste internationally, states only that our waste could not exported to other countries.

Since Shenzhen and Hong Kong are technically under the same sovereignty, sending waste to Shenzhen therefore is not part of this restriction.

Tim Lo, Tseung Kwan O

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 24th 2013, 5:19am):

Russia to create waste recycling industry by 2020

23/06/2013 ITAR-TASS

Russia will create a waste recycling industry by 2020, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoi said.

“We have drafted amendments to the Waste Law which hold manufacturers responsible for disposal and recycling of their waste. A manufacturer whose products will be disposed of later should include the recycling fee in the cost of the products,” the minister said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Saturday, June 22.

He believes that the fee will be 0.4 percent of the cost of a product. “It should not fuel inflation due to big competition in the market, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, this will make it possible to accumulate money in a state fund to finance the construction of waste disposal and waste sorting plants,” Donskoi said.

“Basically, we should create an industry with a large number of waste recycling facilities within the next seven years by 2020,” the minister said.

He said the law should enter into force by the spring of 2014.

Bloomberg Plan Aims to Require Food Composting

Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Maxie Santiago prepared to empty his food scraps into a collection bin on the sixth floor of his 600-unit building in Manhattan.

Published: June 16, 2013 969 Comments

Dozens of smaller cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, have adopted rules that mandate recycling of food waste from homes, but sanitation officials in New York had long considered the city too dense and vertically structured for such a policy to succeed.

Recent pilot programs in the city, though, have shown an unexpectedly high level of participation, officials said. As a result, the Bloomberg administration is rolling out an ambitious plan to begin collecting food scraps across the city, according to Caswell F. Holloway IV, a deputy mayor.

The administration plans to announce shortly that it is hiring a composting plant to handle 100,000 tons of food scraps a year. That amount would represent about 10 percent of the city’s residential food waste.

Anticipating sharp growth in food recycling, the administration will also seek proposals within the next 12 months for a company to build a plant in the New York region to process residents’ food waste into biogas, which would be used to generate electricity.

“This is going to be really transformative,” Mr. Holloway said. “You want to get on a trajectory where you’re not sending anything to landfills.”

The residential program will initially work on a voluntary basis, but officials predict that within a few years, it will be mandatory. New Yorkers who do not separate their food scraps could be subject to fines, just as they are currently if they do not recycle plastic, paper or metal.

Mr. Bloomberg, an independent, leaves office at the end of the year, and his successor could scale back or cancel the program. But in interviews, two leading Democratic candidates for mayor, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, expressed strong support for the program — including the plan to eventually make it mandatory.

Sanitation officials said 150,000 single-family homes would be on board voluntarily by next year, in addition to more than 100 high-rise buildings — more than 5 percent of the households in the city. More than 600 schools will take part as well.

The program should expand to the entire city by 2015 or 2016, the sanitation officials said.

Under the program, residents collect food waste — like stale bread, chicken bones and potato peels — in containers the size of picnic baskets in their homes. The contents are then deposited in larger brown bins on the curb for pickup by sanitation trucks.

Residents of apartment buildings dump pails of food scraps at central collection points, most likely in the same places they put recyclable material.

It remains to be seen whether New Yorkers will embrace the program, given that some may cringe at keeping a container of potentially malodorous waste in a typically cramped urban kitchen, even if it is supposed to be emptied regularly.

The city has historically had a relatively mediocre record in recycling, diverting only about 15 percent of its total residential waste away from landfills.

In the latest 12-month period recorded, the Sanitation Department issued 75,216 summonses to home and building owners for failing to recycle. Officials expected that more summonses will be issued in the current fiscal year, because the department has redeployed personnel to recycling enforcement.

Still, the residential food-waste program would represent the biggest expansion of recycling efforts since the city began separating paper, metal and glass in 1989.

“It’s revolutionary for New York,” said Eric A. Goldstein, a senior lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent environmental group. “If successful, pretty soon there’ll be very little trash left for homeowners to put in their old garbage cans.”

The city spent $336 million last year disposing of residential trash, exporting most of it to landfills in Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Food waste and other organic materials account for almost a third of all residential trash, and the city could save about $100 million a year by diverting it from landfills, said Ron Gonen, who was hired last year as deputy sanitation commissioner for recycling and sustainability, a new job at the department.

Experts have long criticized recycling as a weak spot in Mr. Bloomberg’s environmental record. But he appears to want to close out his tenure with a push to improve the program.

In his State of the City address in February, Mr. Bloomberg called food waste “New York City’s final recycling frontier.”

“We bury 1.2 million tons of food waste in landfills every year at a cost of nearly $80 per ton,” he said. “That waste can be used as fertilizer or converted to energy at a much lower price. That’s good for the environment and for taxpayers.”

The city does not handle commercial waste — businesses must hire private carters. But the administration intends to propose legislation that would require restaurants and food businesses to recycle their food waste.

A central question for the next mayor and City Council will be when to make residential recycling of food waste mandatory, with violators subject to fines. Garbage disposals remain relatively rare in the city.

Mr. de Blasio called diverting trash from landfills “crucially important to the environment and the city’s fiscal health” and said he would like to have a mandatory program within five years.

Ms. Quinn said the City Council would take up a bill this summer to require pilot programs across the city to ensure that voluntary recycling of food waste continues, regardless of who is mayor.

She said a mandatory program should be in place by 2016.

“We’re going to lock it in,” she said. “When New York makes composting part of everyday life, every other city will follow through. This is going to create an urban trend.”

Sanitation officials said they had been heartened by recent pilot programs.

At the Helena, a 600-unit building on West 57th Street in Manhattan, bins are kept in the trash rooms on each floor and emptied daily by workers.

The building’s owner, the Durst Organization, said the weight of the compostable material had been steadily rising, to a total of 125 pounds daily.

In the Westerleigh section of Staten Island, the city offered 3,500 single-family homes brown bins, kitchen containers and compost bags last April. Residents were told to separate out all foods, and even soiled paper like napkins and plates. Already 43 percent are placing their bins out on the curb for weekly pickups, said Mr. Gonen, the senior sanitation official.

Ellen and Thomas Felci, neighborhood residents, said they were eager to take part in the program — “for the good of the city,” Mrs. Felci said.

Everything now goes into the brown bin: things like corn husks and broccoli stems, but not meat (because Mr. Felci, 65, said he feared raccoons).

Mrs. Felci, 62, said that a week into the tryout she noticed a bad smell coming from the container, which she had placed next to the sink in the kitchen.

She solved the problem by dumping the contents into the bin outside more regularly and putting baking soda in the bottom.

But across the street, Joe Lagambina, 58, shunned the program. He said that recycling plastic and metal was already a burden, and that he would not separate food unless it was required by the city. He said his three daughters often mixed trash with recyclables.

“I’m the one who has to separate everything,” he said. “I go outside and there’ll be regular garbage in the blue can. It’s a pain.”

“I have enough work,” he said.

Response shows US delegation’s value

I suppose the trip adds to Edward Yau’s frequent flyer points. During his 60 months at ENB he went overseas 59 times hence the state of our air and lack of constructive action against polluting ocean shipping, failure to ban hi sulfur bunker fuel , no Emissions Control Area mandated and other pollution sources left rampant. Failure to legislate source separation of waste etc and Yau still has a highly paid office manager job instead of being charged with Misconduct in Public Office.

Since the CE met Mayor Bloomberg hopefully he learned something, such as the fact that New York City has specifically excluded incineration from its proposed waste treatment plans and New York City has the highest tobacco tax in America. Obviously Mayor Bloomberg cares about New Yorkers’ health, a constructive hint that needs to pass to CY Leung.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Response shows US delegation’s value

Response shows US delegation’s value

Sunday, 23 June, 2013, 12:00am


· 197f7e4a8b9a82902129d05bb8ffbad2.jpg

Leung at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Gary Cheung

Philip Bowring’s article (“Limits of Chinese parochialism”, June 16) questioned the value of the chief executive’s trip to New York last week.

We do not agree that the chief executive “carries no weight and saw no one of significance” and that “time and effort would have been far better spent building Hong Kong’s relations with its neighbours”.

Hong Kong has strong economic ties with the US, which is our second-largest trading partner, after the mainland.

Last year, the total value of our bilateral trade reached almost HK$543 billion. The US is also our second-largest export market and fifth-largest source of imports.

It was therefore important for the chief executive to embark on this trip to promote trade and maintain a strong economic partnership with the US business community. Hong Kong businesses recognised the importance of this visit. Hence, over 200 leading businessmen joined the delegation, including around 40 from Guangdong.

Contrary to Bowring’s suggestion, during this trip the chief executive met different political leaders, financial heavyweights and top-level international business leaders, including the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg; the co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and former secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley; the chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange, Duncan Niederauer; Rupert Murdoch from the media sector; Jerry Speyer from the real estate sector; and the top management of some global investment banks.

The chief executive was also the guest of honour at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s trade promotion events, which more than 1,000 people attended. Such huge attendance demonstrates that the US business community attaches great importance to Hong Kong.

Nick Au Yeung, assistant director (media), Chief Executive’s Office


Leung Chun-ying


KEEP CALM and Carry On: PRISM itself is not a big deal

ECHELON_Prism just another form of (electronic 007 ) pollution

Download PDF : ECHELON_Prism

crop news


How to win people’s hearts and minds for GM farming

You +1’d this publicly. Undo

New Scientist18 hours ago

In a carefully crafted speech, UK environment minister Owen Paterson announced that the government would be leading “a more informed 



GM crops are safe, says Owen Paterson – video

You +1’d this publicly. Undo

The Guardian20 Jun 2013

Owen Paterson, the environment minister, says the UK should lead the way in Europe by growing genetically-modified crops

Carbon dioxide cuts cannot be solution to global warming

Article Comments: Jun 22nd 2013

HKU’s Prof Wyss gets it half right:

Water vapor significance in climate change

‘While there is far more water vapor in the atmosphere than other greenhouse gases, the other greenhouse gases play an important role in influencing our climate. The increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases is largely responsible for the observed warming of 0.74°C over the 20th century. This warming has had a ‘positive feedback’ as a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor – enhancing human induced warming by about 50 per cent.’

However just take a look at the readings for Tap Mun on the EPD website-an island with no trucks and massive NOx readings. Our major polluter in HKG is shipping + prevailing winds R easterlies hence the NOx and SOx on Tap Mun. The previous incompetent administration did zero to prohibit local sales of high sulfur bunker fuel nor to negotiate the imposition of an Emissions Control Zone in our waters which are the busiest in the world passing to Shenzhen and Shanghai as well as our port and southwards. Our diesel truck fuel is limited in parts per million sulfur yet bunker fuel is 2.75 -4% sulfur. USA has a 200 nautical mile ECA and the Baltic and North sea also have ECAs whereas here we were stuck with abuser Tsang and useless frequent flyer Edward Yau. OGV’s all carry dual tanks + they should be forced to use Lo sulfur fuel in our waters.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Carbon dioxide cuts cannot be solution to global warming

Carbon dioxide cuts cannot be solution to global warming

Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 12:00am


Tania Willis’ letter (“Personal action now unavoidable to halt planet’s destruction”, June 1) quoted Al Gore and Jim Hansen in labelling carbon dioxide as the primary global warming pollutant. She has fallen short in showing why the 7.2 million people in Hong Kong must hold their breath because of the undesirable consequences claimed by her.

“Climate Change: A Summary of the Science”, based on the consensus opinion of Royal Society scientists and issued in September 2010, provides the best synopsis on the current science on climate change.

It shows where the science is well established and where there remains substantial uncertainty.

Measurements from the earth’s surface and space, together with modelling, show that, in addition to clouds, the gases that make the largest contribution to the greenhouse effect are water vapour, followed by carbon dioxide. There are smaller contributions from many other gases, including ozone, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.

Therefore the effectiveness of reducing the second most important greenhouse gas carbon dioxide alone is questionable. Carbon dioxide alarmists must also explain:

Why carbon dioxide is labelled as a pollutant when it is an essential, life-supporting part of earth’s ecosystem;

Why the current 400 parts per million level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is more important to global temperatures than clouds and water vapour;

Why global temperatures failed to correlate with the steady increase in carbon dioxide levels over the past 100 years;

Why changes in carbon dioxide levels lag temperature rise by some 800 years in Antarctica ice core records spanning 800,000 years;

Why the cessation of all commercial flights over Canada and the United States for three days after the September 11 terrorist attacks increased the diurnal temperatures measured over the US by more than 1 degree Celsius (this is explained by higher daytime temperatures and lower nighttime temperatures caused by the disappearance of contrails, Water vapour being the main component of contrails);

Why temperatures measured at the Hong Kong Observatory’s headquarters are nearly always higher than at its Waglan Island station, especially at night; and

Why the observed extreme weather events are within the range of known natural variability.

Because carbon dioxide is not the main cause of global warming, reducing carbon emission cannot be the solution to limiting the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change.

Wyss Yim, Pok Fu Lam


Global Warming

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 22nd 2013, 3:53pm):

Ransom demands in garbage crisis

A showdown is imminent over the government’s plan to expand major landfills as the Legislative Council public works subcommittee meets next week to vote on the proposals.

Mary Ma

Friday, June 21, 2013

A showdown is imminent over the government’s plan to expand major landfills as the Legislative Council public works subcommittee meets next week to vote on the proposals.

It’s a hurdle that environmental secretary Wong Kam-sing and his undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai must muster if the expansions are to be taken further – to the Finance Committee – for funding .

If blocked, the consequences can be scary – there would be no more room for garbage, no matter how much effort is put into reducing and recycling waste.

At stake are three strategic landfills. The first plan – and the most controversial due to its proximity to populated areas – involves the Tseung Kwan O landfill. The government is seeking HK$1.88 billion to expand it by 13 hectares to extend its lifespan by six years to 2023.

The other two plans call for HK$7 billion in funding to enlarge the Ta Kwu Ling landfill by 70 hectares to extend its life by 10 years to 2028, or HK$35 million for a study to increase the capacity of the Nim Wan landfill in Tuen Mun massively.

They are less controversial because of their remote locations.

Can Wong and Loh win the showdown? They could have submitted the three proposals as one. But they opted to have them voted on separately.

It’s a sensible approach, as it ensures that all of them won’t be lost in one go.

The Tseung Kwan O proposal draws the stiffest opposition, understandable in view of the nuisance factor. Many lawmakers – including some from the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions – have said they would vote against the plan.

But hopes have risen for passage. The minister may count on the biggest pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, and independents who had been non- committal.

The government is offering concessions: the Tseung Kwan O landfill would stop accepting smelly municipal waste, the number of garbage trucks passing through the new town would be halved, and workers would be deployed to monitor odor.

Politics is about bargaining. While the Ta Kwu Ling and Nim Wan landfills are in remote area, it doesn’t mean local politicians won’t demand benefits in exchange for their support.

The Tuen Mun District Council, for example, has apparently submitted a long list of 42 items. It wants a new rail link to Tsuen Wan, and a direct ferry service to Macau. Even repairs to leaking roofs of a mall and provision of ATM machines are on the list.

Call it compensation for the sacrifice that Tuen Mun is making. But they look more like ransom demands.

The North District is more restrained – it wants only 13 items, like expanded roads, libraries and swimming pools.

Wong is expected to announce the compensation decisions as early as today.

Will he and Loh survive the showdown, given the concessions?

We’ll know in a few days.

Genetically-modified Eggplant Found to be Unsafe for Human Consumption, Environment | Global Research

Genetically-modified Eggplant Found to be Unsafe for Human
Consumption, Environment

By Jonathan Benson

Global Research, June 21, 2013


Region: Asia

Theme: Biotechnology and GMO

Field trials of genetically-modified (GM) Bt eggplant, also known as
Bt talong, have officially ceased in the Philippines following a major
ruling by the nation’s Court of Appeals. Representing a massive
victory for food sovereignty, the Court found that Bt talong is a
monumental threat to both environmental and human health, and has
subsequently ordered that all existing plantings of Bt talong in test
fields be immediately destroyed and blocked from further propagation.

Like in many other nations across the globe, the biotechnology
industry has been craftily trying to sneak its genetic poisons into
the Philippines under the guise of improving crop yields, reducing
chemical use, and yada yada ad nauseum – all the typical industry
propaganda and lies used to convince the more gullible among us that
GMOs are some kind of food production miracle. But the Philippines is
not buying all the hype. And unlike the U.S., the southeast Asian
country is taking a bold stand against a technology that has never
been proven safe or beneficial in any way.

According to the non-profit advocacy group Greenpeace, which has been
working on behalf of humanity to stem the tide of GMO onslaught all
around the world, the Court recently issued a “Write of Kalikasan,”
which basically means that all field trials of Bt eggplant in the
Philippines must stop. The Court also ordered that the biotechnology
aggressors “permanently cease and desist” from conducting further
trials, as well as “protect, preserve, rehabilitate and restore” all
the land they have destroyed in the process.

“The field trials of Bt talong involve the willful and deliberate
alteration of the genetic traits of a living element of the ecosystem
and the relationship of living organisms that depend on each other for
their survival,” states the ruling. “Consequently, the field trials .
could not be declared by this Court as safe [for] human health and our
ecology, [since they are] an alteration of an otherwise natural state
of affairs in our ecology.”

Everything about this common-sense decision by the Filipino justice
system makes perfect sense – GMOs definitively spread their poisonous
traits throughout the entire ecosystem, contaminating other crops
along the way, and thus have no place in agriculture, period. But
sadly, such common sense no longer exists in the U.S., where corporate
greed and fundamental corruption have essentially placed profits
before people in every aspect of life.

“We commend the Court of Appeals for living up to its
constitutionally-mandated role as protector of constitutional rights,”
said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner
Daniel Ocampo about the Philippines rejecting GMOs. “This landmark
decision reflects that there are indeed flaws and lapses in the
current regulatory process for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
such as Bt eggplant which exposes our environment and health to
unknown long-term consequences and does not establish their safety in
any way.”

Meanwhile, millions of acres of uncontested GMO crops in the U.S.
continue to ravage both human and environmental health while the
hordes of mindless puppets in the U.S. Congress ignore the issue or
even pretend that GMOs are not an issue. But this new American pastime
of greed and denial about reality will not last forever, as nature
will eventually catch up and extinguish this agricultural scourge with
“superweeds,” “superbugs,” and disease – that is if the American
people do not take action first to forcibly cleanse their nation of
GMOs. The question is, what will it take for the people to wake up and
take action?

Sources for this article include: