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June 1st, 2013:

Something is rotten in the city of Hong Kong

dynamco Jun 1st 2013

OK, buy some ships and sell the trash to Oslo. Give the profits to the poor. Europe has massive incinerator overcapacity due to their successful recycling efforts so they have a burning problem and compete for feedstocks.
“OSLO This is a city that imports garbage. Some comes from England, some from Ireland. Some is from neighboring Sweden. It even has designs on the American market
“I’d like to take some from the United States,” said Pal Mikkelsen, in his office at a huge plant on the edge of town that turns garbage into heat and electricity. “Sea transport is cheap.”
The problem is not unique to Oslo, a city of 1.4 million people. Across Northern Europe, where the practice of burning garbage to generate heat and electricity has exploded in recent decades, demand for trash far outstrips supply. “Northern Europe has a huge generating capacity,” said Mr. Mikkelsen, 50, a mechanical engineer who for the last year has been the managing director of Oslo’s waste-to-energy agency.
Yet the fastidious population of Northern Europe produces only about 150 million tons of waste a year, he said, far too little to supply incinerating plants that can handle more than 700 million tons. “And the Swedes continue to build” more plants, he said, a look of exasperation on his face, “as do Austria and Germany.”

yongms May 31st 2013

I recall not too long ago, Mr. Chugani (supported by the expatriates among us) berating the locals on radio and in another of his articles for being racist or prejudiced against the Mainlanders and their behaviour. His opinion appears to have changed. He sees now, the abhorrent behaviour that locals have seen for a long time. Welcome to reality Mr. Chugani.

stoatmonster May 31st 2013

Hmmm, this quote from Chugani’s article gave me a sense of deja vu: “Here in Hong Kong, the crude behaviour of mainland visitors is well known – children pooping into shopping bags while riding the MTR, peeing into bottles while eating in restaurants, not queuing up, spitting, and talking too loudly.”
I recall observing similar behaviour amongst certain strata of our Hong Kong society 20 years ago or so. What goes around comes around.

yellow_lynx_cat May 30th 2013

Hong Kong never tried to reduce waste or the extravagence in their packaging. In fact cost of land put a stopper to recycling of a lot of materials (plastics, metals, glass). Even though I tried quite hard to separate my garbage, but I always wonder how much I can help if the Government won’t give hand to help.

mercedes2233 May 30th 2013

If HK has more public toilets, and in more obvious places, it might help. HK residents can go home to their own toilets, but visitors don’t have the same convenience.



jpinst May 30th 2013

Not so sure about the first paragraph, but the second hits the nail on the head. But he wrong about one thing, I am actually jealous that I cannot **** in a bag on the MTR. It seems rather convenient.


dynamco May 29th 2013
Cancer mortality in the vicinity of incinerators
‘Our results support the hypothesis of a statistically significant increase in the risk of dying from
cancer in towns near incinerators + installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste’
‘the change of cancer occurrence has for the last 3 years increased to 4.8 times more
than the Belgian average’
‘The report on the Sint Niklaas incinerator showed that blood and glandular cancers appeared in children about 5 years after the incinerator started operating. This preceded the increase in adult cancers by 7 years. Adults cancers showed a five-fold increase over 20 years. Knox found a doubling of childhood cancers + leukaemias within 5km of municipal incinerators greatly exceeding the risk around non-combustion urban sites.
Congenital Abnormalities A recent large study by Dummer over a 37 year period showed that the incidence of spina bifida was 17% higher and heart defects 12% higher near incinerators . Congenital defects of many kinds were found at Sint Niklass . Orofacial defects were found to be more than doubled near an incinerator at Zeeberg Amsterdam. Dolk found a 33% higher incidence of birth defects (86% higher neural tube defects, 50% higher incidence of cardiac septal defects) and a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities within 3 km of municipal waste

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Something is rotten in the city of Hong Kong

Something is rotten in the city of Hong Kong

Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Michael Chugani

What’s happening to everyone? How did Hongkongers get to be so damned unreasonable? They demand everything but will give nothing in return. Is there no limit to their selfishness? Hongkongers are among the world’s biggest producers of waste. We generate twice as much waste per person as people in Tokyo. Yet we’re not the slightest bit shamed by this. What’s even more sickening is that we couldn’t care less how we dispose of this garbage as long as it’s not dumped in our backyard. Hong Kong is running out of places to dump our rubbish. We’ll drown in it soon if nothing is done, Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing has warned. But Hongkongers shrugged their shoulders and yawned. The government has been banging its head against the wall for years trying to get public support and funding approval from legislators to deal with the city’s ever-growing mountain of rubbish. A plan to expand the three overflowing landfills has been thwarted for years by our Nimby (not in my backyard) selfishness. Tseung Kwan O residents, backed by vote-seeking legislators, have rejected a government plan to expand the landfill there. And environmental nutjobs, backed by selfish “Nimby” people and vote-seeking legislators, have blocked funding for an incinerator. Not only that, the incinerator proposal is even being challenged in court. If Hongkongers won’t tolerate incinerators or larger landfills, and politicians can’t be bothered to suggest alternative workable ideas, how do they want the government to dispose of the garbage they produce? Maybe we should rocket it all into space. Public Eye is sure the Martians haven’t yet been corrupted by Nimby. Or we could empty it all into our harbour. But then we’ll have the harbour protectionists screaming their heads off. Public Eye’s advice to the environment chief is to fold his arms, sit back, and let the piled-up garbage rot. Hongkongers deserve the stink. And it will teach our vote-seeking legislators a lesson.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and television show host


Chinese tourists

Wong Kam-sing

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 1st 2013, 8:24am):

Act on environmental catastrophe

Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am


On May 10, on his blog Al’s Journal, former US vice-president Al Gore wrote, “Yesterday, for the first time in human history, concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary global warming pollutant, hit 400 parts per million in our planet’s atmosphere.”

He said that every day we poured an additional 90 million tonnes “of global warming pollution into the sky as if it were an open sewer”.

Gore also said that according to top climate scientist Jim Hansen, “the accumulated man-made global warming pollution in the atmosphere now traps enough extra heat energy each day to equal the energy that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-scale atomic bombs exploding every single day”.

It is now time to introduce carbon emission-saving laws in Hong Kong. I would put forward four proposals which could be implemented easily and immediately to help limit Hong Kong’s contribution of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

Firstly, we should follow Paris and introduce a 1am light curfew for advertising hoardings and empty offices. The move will cut carbon dioxide emissions in Paris by 250,000 tonnes a year and save €17 million (HK$171 million). Also, Hong Kong’s street lighting should be solar powered.

Secondly, cancel the Shek Kwu Chau incineration technology proposed by the Environmental Protection Department and adopt a gasification plant which can output energy stored as syngas or another biofuel. It reduces fossil fuel consumption and there is no need to connect to the local grid.

Thirdly, introduce renewable energy incentives for residents, with solar panels and proper insulation being legally required for all new buildings. Permission should be granted for wind turbines on village houses. Local utilities should accept energy excess to be fed back into the grid. Officials should investigate tidal power for the outlying islands.

Fourthly, the administration must encourage community composting. It is a huge waste of fossil-fuel and landfill space moving biodegradable, organic matter from outlying islands and country parks to distant landfills. When bagged, organic matter no longer degrades but still occupies the same physical volume in the landfill. Instead, save fuel, cut fossil fuel emissions and save space by leaving it in the country parks in compost piles to break down into enriched soil to be used by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department or local farmers.

We have no choice and must all – as individuals and civic government – see limiting the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change as our priority.

Tania Willis, Lantau


Global Warming

Carbon Emissions

Carbon emission-saving laws

Squeezing someone’s legs after they’ve had a stroke may reduce their risk of dying

Squeezing someone’s legs after they’ve had a stroke may reduce their risk of dying

  • Study revealed that compression reduced the risk of deep vein thrombosis
  • Until now, there has been no treatment to reduces the risk of blood clots
  • Compression wraps would cost the NHS as little as £25 per pair

By Emily Payne

PUBLISHED: 23:06 GMT, 30 May 2013 | UPDATED: 23:06 GMT, 30 May 2013

Squeezing a person’s leg after they have suffered a stroke could save their life, according to new research.

Experts found that wrapping a compression device around the legs of a stroke patient could reduce the risk of blood clots, which often result in death.

Compression reduces the risk of clots in the veins of the legs by increasing blood flow.

New research shows that gentle compression of the leg after a stroke could reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which commonly affects stroke patients

The results of the trial, carried out by Edinburgh University, revealed that intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC), implemented by an inflatable leg wrap, reduced the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which commonly affects stroke patients.

DVT can lead to pulmonary embolism, which blocks patients’ blood vessels in their lungs and can cause heart failure, killing thousands of people each year.


The study, tested more than 2800 stroke patients in hundreds of hospitals across the UK.

It shows that the wraps can reduce the chances of death when they are worn for several days or weeks after the stroke.

The necessary IPC wraps, costing the NHS £25 per pair, are inflated for a few seconds, one leg at a time, to compress the veins in the legs every minute or so.

Until now, no treatment has been available that safely reduces the risk of the blood clots in the legs.

Until now, there have been limited treatments to cut the risk of dangerous blood clots in stroke patients

Current treatments include blood thinning injections, which have been shown to reduce the risk of DVT, but these carry an increased risk of bleeding on the brain.

Experts also believe blood thinning injections are not conclusively shown to reduce the risk of dying after stroke.

Around 15 million people suffer a stroke each year worldwide – one third of whom will die. Another third will become permanently disabled.

It is the second most common cause of death worldwide.

Professor Martin Dennis, of the University of Edinburgh’s Division of Clinical Neurosciences, said: ‘At last we have a simple, safe and affordable treatment that reduces the risk of DVT and even appears to reduce the risk of dying after a stroke.

‘We estimate that this treatment could potentially help about 60,000 stroke patients each year in the UK. If this number were treated, we would prevent about 3000 developing a DVT and perhaps save 1500 lives.

‘We believe that the national guidelines need to be revised in the light of our findings.

‘The current national guidelines have suggested that IPC should be considered only where blood thinning injections are unsuccessful or inappropriate, but this research suggests that IPC should be used in all patients at high risk of DVT.’

Dr Dale Webb, Director of Research and Information at the Stroke Association said: ‘Following a stroke, the risk of developing blood clots and DVT increases considerably which can be extremely dangerous for the patient.

‘At the moment some stroke survivors receive anti-blood clotting medication, however this isn’t effective in everyone.

‘This new device has the potential to save thousands of lives and we would like to see it incorporated into national clinical guidelines.’

The findings were published in the Lancet.


Subscriber Comments

Naïve Suckers

Green groups told u that u cannot trust a HKG property developer where GREEN means $$$

Public –Private Partnership (PPP)

WWF-Hong Kong believes that Public-Private Partnership (PPP) type approach can be a practical and viable solution for nature conservation on privately owned lands in the right circumstances. In this instance, a small area of the site would develop for residential housing while the majority of the site would be set aside for wetland conservation, funded by the project proponent. By preserving a large area as nature Reserve and committing to long-term conservation and management, the Fung Lok Wai project can preserve and enhance the ecological value of wetlands in Fung Lok Wai, supporting the entire Deep Bay ecosystem.

In 2005, WWF-Hong Kong signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mutual Luck Investment Limited to ensure that the Fung Lok Wai project complies with Public-Private Partnership approach in which 5% of the site area would be used for housing development, and the remaining 95% of the land would turn into a Wetland Nature Reserve, funded by the project proponent.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Deep Bay project must not start without sound conservation plan

Deep Bay project must not start without sound conservation plan

Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am



Trevor Yang says without a wetland trust, housing project will damage the area’s ecological value

The fate of the Deep Bay area can no longer be left to future discussion. It is a place of important ecological value, designated for international protection under the Ramsar wetland convention.

It has taken us decades to make some progress in managing a small part of this wetland system, in the hope of conserving the whole. Yet, Deep Bay’s ecological value has steadily declined. Development has risen to the top of the city’s economic and political agendas.

Deep Bay cannot wait any longer. In the wake of WWF-Hong Kong’s departure from the Fung Lok Wai project, now is the most opportune time to bring all back to the table.

Any discussion of a holistic plan for Deep Bay should be prefaced by an overview of the area’s development history. Marshlands were reclaimed for planting rice 1,000 years ago. In the 1960s and 1970s, many rice paddies in the area were turned into fish ponds for better economic return.

Development caught up in the area with the building of Fairview Park in the mid-1970s, followed by the Tin Shui Wai new town and Palm Springs. Also at that time, land developers bought up the fish ponds and large tracts of farmland.

This, plus the introduction of more commercial fishing practices to meet increasing local demand, began to create challenging conditions for the ecosystem of Inner Deep Bay. In the 1980s, green groups began to ask the government for a holistic conservation management plan. Urban planning discussions can take decades, but time is a luxury nature cannot afford.

The ecological value of fish ponds, which in essence are artificial wetlands, is related to the management practices employed by fish pond farmers. Fish ponds are an integral part of the Deep Bay ecosystem, and fish pond farming is regarded as an example of the wise use of wetlands in a Ramsar site.

In traditional practices, ponds are drained in winter for harvesting. Fish and shrimp with no commercial value are left at the bottom of the pond, and become food for wintering migratory water birds. Deep Bay is home to tens of thousands of these birds each winter.

Over the past two decades, fish pond farming has gravitated towards two extremes. As traditional fish pond farming became less profitable due to competition from the mainland, farmers in Hong Kong began to quit the industry, resulting in an increasing number of abandoned ponds. At the other extreme, commercial fish pond farming expanded around the Deep Bay area.

Abandoned fish ponds gave rise to an invasion of vegetation into the open water, no draining of pond water, and an invasion of exotic species. The rise of commercial fish ponds, on the other hand, led to pond embankments covered with concrete and plastic sheets, fences erected around pond boundaries and devices installed to flush out birds.

Both developments have dramatically reduced the ecological value of Deep Bay.

With about half of the land within and around the Ramsar site privately owned, and considering the challenges of applying a holistic plan to the area, we identified a workable and mutually beneficial option years before the government’s New Nature Conservation Policy in 2004: the public-private partnership approach. In this way, the majority of the Deep Bay site would be set aside for wetland conservation, with long-term funding by a project proponent for its continual management, who would then develop a small portion of the less ecologically sensitive part.

We considered our participation in the Fung Lok Wai project at Deep Bay an important attempt to set a precedent to preserve, and even enhance, the ecological value of the area. But for the partnership to succeed, it is critical to establish a wetland trust; the land ownership, funds and management would be transferred to the trust, which would be overseen by an independent board of both wetland experts and government representatives. The trust could be enlarged, to include other wetlands and funds under one umbrella.

While the Fung Lok Wai project has been approved and the planning application is due for consideration by the Town Planning Board, diverging views still exist among the public, the project proponent and the WWF on critical issues. We hope our withdrawal from this project will allow society to explore and reach a consensus on how best to conserve the important wetlands of the Inner Deep Bay area.

Changes in corporate practice are essential if there is to be real progress in tackling conservation challenges like climate change, clean energy solutions and sustainable use of natural resources.

Key stakeholders need to urgently discuss the development of the Deep Bay area, whose future is complex and involves policies on conservation, land, cultural heritage, agriculture and food security. We owe it to Hong Kong’s natural environment for all parties to come together to engender thorough and continued co-operation.

Trevor Yang is chairman of WWF-Hong Kong

Source URL (retrieved on May 31st 2013, 8:03pm):