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June 21st, 2013:

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:

Cooling the Arctic is imperative

Cooling the Arctic is imperative

Rainy Britain

The Met Office says we are in for a series of wet summers. Correspondent John Nissen says cooling the Arctic is a priority. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

I read with dismay the announcement from the Met Office meeting that the UK could be in the middle of a cycle of wet summers which could last 10-20 years (Rain, rain won’t go away, 19 June). My dismay is because the Met Office has failed to acknowledge the likely strong influence of the loss of Arctic sea ice on northern hemisphere weather through rapid warming of the Arctic and disruption of jet stream behaviour.

As the chairman of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, I presented this case to the environmental audit committee’s inquiry in early 2012. At first the Met Office rejected our case on the grounds that its models predicted that the sea ice would last for decades. But then we had confirmation of the thinning ice from Cryosat-2 and we had the record sea ice minimum in September 2012. The implications are that the Arctic will continue warming, but even more rapidly. This will further decrease the temperature gradient between the tropics and the Arctic – the gradient which drives the jet stream. So the jet stream will meander even more and get stuck with even greater regularity, bringing weird weather across much of the northern hemisphere, including long spells of wet or dry weather.

Hence, we are not in a cycle of wet summers at all, but in a downward spiral of ever-longer spells of “stuck” weather. How and where the weather will be stuck will not be easily predicted by climate models. Cooling the Arctic is now going to be extremely difficult – yet not impossible with a determined and international effort. It has to be done, in order to save the sea ice and protect the future of agriculture in northern climes.
John Nissen
Chair, Arctic Methane Emergency Group

• The incredible advance in space science and recent super-computer modelling informs us that the significant new factor in the chaotic history of Earth’s weather lies in the probability that chucking the highest volume of widely measured man-made carbon deposits and particulates into the air and oceans is the prime cause of recorded global warming. Modern denialists, for whatever vested or threatened reason, underplay this overriding scientific enlightenment. They still rely on reading the tea-leaf messages in the bottom of the cup.
Dr John Comerford
Horsham, West Sussex

Unjustified criticism of waste disposal

Friday, 21 June, 2013, 12:00am


· 36.jpg

Piles of glass bottles are seen at Laputa glass recycling plant in Tuen Mun. The bottles will be recycled as bricks. Photo: Felix Wong

Louise Preston (“Embrace real change to be world leader in waste reduction”, June 7) says the Environmental Protection Department’s “Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022” pursues only engineering projects instead of dealing with waste reduction. This is untrue. Much of our work focuses on waste reduction at source.

We have to deal with 13,500 tonnes of waste at landfills every day. This is made up of 9,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste; 3,400 tonnes of construction waste; 1,000 tonnes of dewatered sludge; and minor items. Of the municipal solid waste, about 3,600 tonnes is food waste, with two-thirds from households.

In the blueprint, we highlighted five programmes including a food wise campaign, food donation and food recycling. In addition, we are also planning to build initially two waste-to-energy treatment facilities to deal with 500 tonnes per day by 2017. Yes, even with these measures in place, this still leaves about 2,700 tonnes per day Hong Kong has to deal with.

Ms Preston calls for 100 per cent food waste reduction, recovery and recycling. This is unrealistic. Even in Taipei, where a per-bag trash collection fee has been implemented since 2000, and there’s mandatory separation of waste and outlets for food waste such as pig feed, less than half of food waste is recycled.

A key lesson from around the world is that waste charging is effective in reducing waste. After we imposed construction waste charging in 2006, the quantity of waste going to landfills dropped by about 60 per cent. We are working with the construction sector to reduce waste further; and the Council for Sustainable Development will soon consult the public on the details of a household waste charging scheme for Hong Kong. We would like to see legislation passed by 2016.

Ms Preston challenges our municipal solid waste recovered-for-recycling rate of 48 per cent – this figure is correct.

Hong Kong needs various types of waste treatment facilities. From the end of this year, when the sludge treatment facility is commissioned, the 1,000 tonnes of sludge per day will be incinerated in a state-of-the-art waste-to-energy plant, thereby dealing with a particularly malodorous form of waste. As noted above, we are planning to build two food waste treatment facilities and looking for sites for more such facilities, and Hong Kong also needs to have a sizable (3,000 tonnes per day) waste-to-energy facility for municipal solid waste.

In addition, we need to extend landfills now to give us room to transform our waste practices.

Christine Loh, undersecretary for the environment


Waste disposal

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 21st 2013, 5:47am):

Jakarta tells Singapore to stop ‘acting like a child’ over forest fire smog

Friday, 21 June, 2013, 12:00am



Agence France-Presse in Jakarta

Jakarta tells Singapore to stop complaining about forest-fire smog as it’s due to nature

Indonesia yesterday accused Singapore of acting “like a child” over choking smog from forest fires in Sumatra that has triggered the city-state’s worst environmental crisis in more than a decade. escalation in tensions between tiny Singapore and its vast neighbour came as haze levels enveloping the island hit a record high, shrouding the whole city.

As the acrid smell crept into flats and medical masks sold out, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the crisis could last weeks and urged people to pull together.

The city-state ratcheted up pressure on Jakarta to take “definitive action” to extinguish the fires – but Indonesia, which insists that Singapore-owned plantations on Sumatra also share the blame, hit back.

“Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise,” Agung Laksono, the minister co-ordinating Indonesia’s response, said. “This is not what the Indonesian nation wants, it is because of nature.”

His comments came as Indonesia’s foreign ministry hosted an emergency meeting in Jakarta attended by Singapore’s National Environment Agency chief executive Andrew Tan.

Singapore’s air pollution index hit an all-time high yesterday, soaring to 371 at 1pm, well past the previous record of 321 set the night before. Any reading above 300 is “hazardous” while a reading above 400 is deemed “life-threatening to ill and elderly people,” government guidelines say.

Lee declined to respond to Laksono’s comments, saying he did not want to engage in “megaphone diplomacy”.

He urged people to stay indoors and protect themselves from the haze which has hung over the island since Monday, asking citizens to “look out for one another”. “We cannot tell how the haze problem will develop,” Lee said. “It can easily last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra.”

CBD pharmacies sold out of disposable masks and refused to take orders, as the strong odour seeped into homes.

Parks were empty of the usual morning joggers, but thousands of employees still trooped to offices and labourers continued to work on high-rise buildings.

“This is now the worst haze that Singapore has ever faced,” Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Facebook. “We need urgent and definitive action by Indonesia to tackle the problem at source. Singaporeans have lost patience, and are understandably angry, distressed and concerned.”

Parts of Malaysia close to Singapore have also been affected.

Laksono said plans to use cloud-seeding to unleash rain over Sumatra were under way, and it was hoped helicopters could be dispatched today.

Smallholders and plantations in Sumatra – some of them with Singaporean investors – have been accused of using fire to clear land for cultivation .

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 21st 2013, 6:00am):

550,000 tonnes per annum MSW conversion modular facilities

Solena Fuels’ Projects

Our model is to offer an end to end solution to our customers and end users using our proprietary technology as the key enabler. We co-develop our projects with leaders at their respective major hubs. In addition to the list of projects below, additional efforts are underway with other industrial end-users and one of the world’s largest shipping companies.

Solena Fuels works with British Airways

GreenSky London

British Airways (“BA”) is one of the world’s leading airlines transporting over 31 million passengers per year.  In 2010, British Airways publicly announced the GreenSky London project with Solena CEO Dr. Robert T. Do and with support from the Mayor of London.  In November 2012, BA announced its binding offtake and investment commitment to GreenSky London. The BA offtake commitment represents ~$500 million of jet fuel based on today’s sport prices. GreenSky London will transform tonnes of municipal waste – normally sent to landfills – into Bio-SPK, Green FT Diesel and Green FT Naphtha.

Solena Fuels works with Lufthansa


Lufthansa owns the SWISS, Austrian, Brussels and German wings airlines and collectively flies over 100 million passengers per year. In September 2012, Solena and Lufthansa announced the selection of a site at the PCK Industry Park in Schwedt/Oder located approximately 50 miles northeast of Berlin near the Poland border. PCK Industry Park is the largest contiguous industrial park in northern Brandenburg, strategically located in the northeast greater Berlin-Brandenburg economic area on the Berlin-Szczecin axis. The park is an ideal launch pad for outreach to Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic states. Solena Berlin will be of the same design and capacity of GreenSky London.

Solena Fuels works with Qantas


Founded in the Queensland outback in 1920, Qantas has grown to be Australia’s largest domestic and international airline. Registered originally as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS), Qantas is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading long distance airlines and one of the strongest brands in Australia. Over the next 10 years, the Qantas Group has committed capital investment worth around $23 billion in more fuel efficient, next generation aircraft, such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A320 neo. Qantas is committed to renew their current fleet to offer the greatest benefits to fuel efficiency in the long run by replacing older aircraft with new more fuel-efficient aircraft. In addition, Solena is developing an IBGTL facility in Sydney.

· British Airways confirms purchase of biojet fuel

· British Airways pledges 10-year offtake agreement as GreenSky project with Solena gathers momentum on GreenAir Online

· GreenSky London biofuel plant preparing for lift-off

· Airline Weekly – Waiting for a Breakthrough

· Lufthansa quest for new sources of sustainable jet biofuel

· Lufthansa and Solena sign biofuels MoU

· Commercial Scale Bio-SPK Site Identified

· Dr Robert Do appointed CO-Chair of the ACORE Transportation Initiative

· Airlines Begin to Realise Green Fuel is A Complex Proposition

· Oxford Catalysts Selected for GreenSky London Commercial Plant

· British Airways, climate change and a load of rubbish

· British Airways says biofuel “way to survive”

· Quick Win: Aviation Biofuels Offers Breakout for Clean Energy

· Seven ATA Member Airlines Sign Letters of Intent to Negotiate Purchase of Biomass-Derived Jet Fuel from Solena Fuels

· Where there’s muck there’s brass: a sustainable approach to waste management

· Growing a green fuel industry in Australia

· Aviation May Be Biofuels’ Killer App

· Qantas Investigates Sugar Cane as Fuel for Domestic Fleet

· Off Into The Wild Green Yonder

· Agreement between Alitalia and Solena Group

· Which Way to Go With Alternative Energy Stocks

· Qantas on brink of £200m biojet fuel joint venture

Wales mulls biowaste landfill, incineration ban

Wales mulls biowaste landfill, incineration ban

Wales may ban sending food and garden waste to landfill and for incineration, after a food waste collection service was rolled out to 90% of households.

The success of the food waste collection service has eliminated odour and vermin problems. This means the Welsh government will be able to cut the frequency of residual household waste collections to just once a month in the near future, an official said at a conference last week.

The government will publish a white paper on its plans in the autumn, he added.

The European Commission is considering a ban on sending compostable waste to landfill as part of a wide-ranging review of EU waste law now underway. A ban on landfilling waste that has not been pre-treated to eliminate methane emissions was also mooted in a recently launched EU consultation.

Sweden implemented a ban on sending organic waste to landfill in 2005. The measure has been a “major catalyst” for the diversion of municipal solid waste from landfill, according to the European Environment Agency.

Germany plans to have nationwide collection of biodegradable waste in place by 2015, which will enable diversion of almost all organic waste to composting or anaerobic digestion, a spokeswoman for the European Compost Network said. Across the EU, only 29% of biowaste is collected separately, she added.

Wales will invest around €60m in anaerobic digestion facilities to treat the 150,000 tonnes of food waste the country produces annually, the official said. The facilities will generate 60 megawatts of renewable energy. A new 11,000t plant will open later this year, with a second 22,500t plant to begin operation next spring.

In neighbouring England, central government is spending almost €300m on a controversial scheme to help cash-strapped local authorities to continue to provide weekly residual waste collections. Central government says the measure is necessary from a public health perspective.

But some local authorities are using the money to trial food-waste composting services as an alternative.

Follow Up:

Welsh government waste and recycling