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July 6th, 2013:

Update outmoded waste treatment


Elvis Au Wai-kwong, deputy director of the Environmental Protection Department. Photo: Nora Tam

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Update outmoded waste treatment

Update outmoded waste treatment

Friday, 05 July, 2013, 12:00am


In his letter (“Questioning official figure on solid waste [1]“, July 1), Mark Parlett queries the government’s figure of 48 per cent for Hong Kong’s recycling rate. The figure indeed seems high: based on other government data, it suggests that the vast majority of domestic refuse dumped in landfills is food waste.

Do we really dispose of so little that can be recycled; are the truckloads dumped in landfills so different in composition to the contents of waste bins I see?

Sadly, this is by no means the only questionable figure or assertion regarding waste in Hong Kong. For instance, Elvis Au, deputy director of the Environmental Protection Department, has said that incineration planned for Hong Kong will completely destroy organic pollutants. By contrast, all information I have seen on incinerators shows that they produce a cocktail of dangerous gases along with particulates, together with substantial amounts of highly toxic ash.

In his letter (“No trucks needed to deliver waste [2]“, June 26), Mr Au asserted that an incinerator will not cause any unacceptable environmental impacts.

Yet recent, peer-reviewed studies from countries including Spain, Belgium and Japan have linked living in proximity to incinerators to health issues such as cancer and birth defects. Rats exposed to air contaminated with incinerator ash have suffered problems including DNA damage.

What levels of such threats will areas near and downwind of an incinerator – including Macau – face? The risks will not be zero; but Mr Au does not tell us what they are, or just who will find them “acceptable”.

We have often been told that an incinerator will meet European Union standards, but this cannot be proven until an incinerator starts operating. There have been no pilot studies with Hong Kong waste – the last time Hong Kong had waste incinerators, they were decommissioned as the Environmental Protection Department considered their emissions dangerously unacceptable.

Most questionable of all is the government’s adherence to a strategy of spending tens of billions of dollars on landfills and incineration, and puny sums on other aspects of waste management.

There are wiser, more modern alternatives, which can help protect our environment.

They include extensively treating food waste, plasma arc treatment that can even create jet fuel, and a zero waste to landfills or incineration strategy, with the can-do approach of cities like San Francisco replacing the current can’t-do attitude of our government.

Martin Williams, director, Hong Kong Outdoors

Heading down a cul de sac – HKG’s flawed blueprint

Hong Kong has an overall population of 7.1 million

ENB claims :

‘ Large ‘waste load’

‘We have a large ‘waste load’. Over the years, Hong Kong people have become more, not less, wasteful. In the past 30 years, our MSW

increased by nearly 80% while our population grew by 36% and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased two fold. Tellingly, the daily

per capita MSW rate rose from 0.97 kg to 1.27kg, so not only were there more of us throwing away waste, but we were each throwing away 30%


However where was the ENB’s consideration of what our tourism industry is doing to increase those waste figures ?

‘Tourism Performance in 2012 In 2012, Hong Kong received a record-high of 48.6 million visitors from around the world, a remarkable increase of 16.0% over 2011. In 2012, Mainland China continued to be our largest visitor source market with 34.9 million arrivals (+24.2%), accounting for 71.8% of our total arrivals. Amongst all Mainland arrivals, 19.8 million (56.7%) were same-day visitors, up by 36.6% year-on-year. 23.1 million (66.3%) Mainland visitors came to Hong Kong under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), up by 26.2% over 2011’

‘Average length of stay of overnight visitors 3.5 nights’ (23,770,195 arrivals were overnight visitors hence inflating the actual total number of visitors in Hong Kong by 23,770,195 x 2.5= 59,425,487 additional visitor nights above the 48.6m arrivals)

Food waste is 44% 0f daily waste (MSW) (whereas over 20,000 tpd of construction waste is generated.)

With so much local and tourism generated food waste, why do we not have a massive bio digester instead ? sell the compost to China

Food waste 44% of daily waste

Download PDF : WastePlan-E(1)

Guiyang residents plan protest against waste incinerator

Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 12:00am



Olivia Rosenman

Guiyang residents angry about plans to build waste incinerator near a built-up area; authorities cancel consultation meeting

Guiyang residents plan to march on a local government headquarters today to protest against a planned incinerator to be built near residential areas in the Guizhou capital.

Organisers expect 300 people to turn out to voice their opposition to the plant, which they say will emit toxic air pollution and contaminate their water supply.

One organiser said the group wanted the government to move the site at least 10 kilometres from residential areas.

The current location for the incinerator is just 3 kilometres from a community of around 50,000 people, including schools and a hospital, on the northern side of the city.

A public hearing on the environmental impact assessment for the incinerator had been planned for Monday, but has been postponed indefinitely.

A spokesman for the local ecological construction bureau said by phone yesterday that the agency had been overwhelmed with registrations and was trying to find a larger venue for the hearing. A Guiyang resident who signed up for the hearing, said she received a text message telling her the hearing had been postponed because “more preparations” are needed.

“I’m worried about the negative impact,” said the woman, who lives about 6 kilometres from the proposed site. “But I feel I don’t know enough about it, which is why I wanted to attend the hearing.”

Garbage incineration is often associated with high emissions of dioxin gases, which are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.

“People can be exposed to these pollutants via inhalation or by touching the soil or eating the food grown locally”, said Mao Da, a researcher with Nature University, a Beijing-based environmental group.

Mao said high concentrations of pollutants usually persist up to 3 kilometres from an incinerator. Although concentrations fall beyond that radius, they are still not necessarily safe.

“There is some evidence that Chinese incinerators emit very high levels of dioxins and mercury,” Mao said.

“So if we evaluate the distance based on the Chinese reality, it will be very different from standards in other countries like Japan, Germany and Denmark.”

The frequency of environmental protests is increasing on the mainland.

In May, thousands of Kunming residents in mobilised against a petrochemical plant. The same weekend, a similar protest planned in Chengdu , Sichuan , was quashed by thousands of police who took to the streets to deter would-be protesters.

Source URL (retrieved on Jul 8th 2013, 10:52pm):


Fulcrum BioEnergy Demonstrates Fully-Integrated Process To Convert MSW To Jet Fuel

6/10/2013, Articles

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. announced today that it has successfully demonstrated the conversion of municipal solid waste (“MSW”) – household garbage – into jet and diesel fuels. This demonstrated process adds fuel diversity to Fulcrum’s products and complements its previously demonstrated MSW to ethanol process. Fulcrum’s ability to produce drop-in fuels from MSW opens up an 80 billion gallon per year fuel market and expands its customer base for its national development program.

Recent Studies Indicate Heavy Metal Releases From MSW Landfills

A summary of the SWANA Applied Research Foundation’s findings

what value to place on waste as a commodity ?

Unlocking the Value of MSW

The Value of Municipal Solid Waste (garbage)

The OEC process unlocks the value of the MSW stream. Based on US EPA data and site specific waste characterizations, this value is US$100/ton or more.

This allows OEC to build facilities at our cost and share revenue with communities. It also brings job creation, new businesses and community involvement in the reuse of MSW.

Building Sustainable Communities

· 80%+ diversion from the landfill by “mining” the municipal solid waste (MSW) for recyclable commodities and organics.  Over two to four times the average removal of recyclables and valuable materials than typical recycling programs provide your community today.

· Process fully supported by leading environmental groups.

· Separate collection of recyclables and green waste is not required. For consumers, multi-family, and commercial properties only one bin is needed.

· Ability to act as a commercial recycling facility while producing renewable energy.

· Proven major Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor constructs projects.

· The environmentally friendly OEC patent-pending waste removal process is performance guaranteed with third party performance bond.

· Facility can be located at a landfill, operating Materials Recycling Facility, transfer station or greenfield site to best suit the community.

· OEC personnel have an average of over 30 years of experience in solid waste handling, recycling, design, facility management and project development.

· Unlocking both the real commodity value of MSW and its potential value including job creation, new business possibilities and community education.

· Why pay to bury recyclable waste that represents a resource worth $100 per ton or more?

· Economic development is achieved through job creation, revenue sharing with the city and by reclaiming the value of the resources in the waste stream that are currently being buried.

· New businesses can build adjacent to the OEC facility to utilize recovered materials and manufacture new products, e.g. plastics to packaging, textile amendments and plastics to oil.  Wood is converted to new products like sustainable decking and building materials and much more.

Lawmakers prepare to trash timetable for landfill expansion plan

Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong

Joshua But

Pan-democrats may find unlikely ally from Tuen Mun, as residents rally against expansion

Landfill extensions in Ta Kwu Ling and Tuen Mun are facing another setback after lawmakers vowed to launch a filibuster to delay government funding applications in the Legislative Council next Friday.

Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung of the League of Social Democrats yesterday said he was preparing to file up to 52,000 amendments in next week’s Finance Committee meeting, the last in this legislative session.

The move could stop the application for the projects, which the government says are essential to stave off a waste crisis, being passed before the summer break.

“The amendments will focus on all fronts of rubbish management in the city, from waste reduction at source to the waste recycling industry,” Leung said. “The aim is to prevent the fund applications being passed in the current session.”

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip and Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan also suggested that they might join Leung’s filibuster effort.

“You can call it [a filibuster if] you like,” Wong said “I am going to ask questions next Friday.”

Tuen Mun residents’ opposition also means the pan-democrats might find an unusual ally in their cause – pro-government lawmaker Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk and Tuen Mun district council.

“The district council will hold a workshop on Monday and I will decide afterwards,” he said.

Finance Committee procedure allows a lawmaker to move a motion without notice to express a view on an agenda item.

Earlier this week a HK$7 billion extension of the Ta Kwu Ling landfill and a HK$35 million study of expansion at the Tuen Mun landfill received approval from the Legco’s public works subcommittee after a third extension, in Tseung Kwan O, was withdrawn.

The filibuster may also delay consideration of civil service pay increases, next on the agenda.

New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, also an executive councillor, said she feared that the city’s 170,000 civil servants would not receive their raises on time.

The adjustment of less than 4 per cent will be counted retrospectively from April 1, no matter when it was passed.

“For junior-rank government employees, the pay rise could be quite a sum of money,” she said. “It is better [for it] to come early than late.”