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July 27th, 2013:

Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste

Peer reviewed Report

Cancer mortality in towns in the vicinity of incinerators and installations for the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste

Javier García-Pérez

a, b,

, Pablo Fernández-Navarro

a, b

, Adela Castelló


, María Felicitas López-Cima


Rebeca Ramis



a, b

, Elena Boldo

a, b

, Gonzalo López-Abente

a, b

Cancer and Environmental Epidemiology Unit, National Center for Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, Avda. Monforte de Lemos, 5, 28029 Madrid, Spain

CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain

Corresponding author at: Área de Epidemiología Ambiental y Cáncer, Centro Nacional de Epidemiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Avda. Monforte de Lemos, 5, 28029 Madrid,

Spain. Tel.: +34 918222643; fax: +34 913877815.

E-mail addresses: (J. García-Pérez),

(P. Fernández-Navarro), (A. Castelló),

(M.F. López-Cima), (R. Ramis), (E. Boldo), (G. López-Abente).

0160-4120/$ see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

J. García-Pérez et al. / Environment International 51 (2013) 3144

In this context, this study sought to:

(1) assess possible excess mortality attributable to 33 tumor sites among the Spanish population residing in the

environs of incinerators and hazardous waste treatment plants governed by the IPPC Directive and E-PRTR Regulation;

(2) analyze this risk according to the different categories of industrial activity, and for each installation individually; and,

(3) perform the analysis for the population, both overall and broken down by sex, using different statistical approaches for the purpose.


Our results support the hypothesis of a statistically signicant higher risk, among men and women alike, of dying from all cancers

in towns situated near incinerators and hazardous waste treatment plants, and specically, a higher excess risk in respect of tumors of

the stomach, liver, pleura, kidney, and ovary. Furthermore, this is one of the rst studies to analyze the risk of dying of cancer related with

specic industrial activities in this sector at a national level, and to highlight the excess risk observed in the vicinity of incinerators and installations

for the recycling of scrap metal and scrapping of ELVs, regeneration of spent baths, and treatment of oil and oily waste.

Download PDF : CancerMortalityIncinSpain

Tough new rules ‘creating mountain of plastic’

And the real truth is ??? and Hong Kong Government official recycling figures are correct and truthful and the waste industry import/export statistics are included as ‘local recycling’ ?

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Tough new rules ‘creating mountain of plastic’

Tough new rules ‘creating mountain of plastic’

Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


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Recyclers are swamped, says Chan Sik-kwan. Photo: Sam Tsang

Trade group says rejected waste is piling up in landfills instead of being processed on mainland

Thousands of tonnes of plastic that could have been recycled has instead been dumped in landfills since Beijing imposed tough new restrictions on imported waste five months ago, a trade group says.

The Federation of Hong Kong Recycle said the new rules meant companies here had been unable to send more than 10,000 tonnes of plastic to the mainland for processing. Instead, the rejected plastic has remained at their premises, meaning they have not been able to receive new waste from clients. The federation said that meant each company was losing revenue of HK$200,000 to HK$300,000 a month.

Under the policy, which took effect in February, only plastic waste that has been washed, shredded and categorised can be imported to the mainland for processing. Federation chairman Chan Sik-kwan said local firms only had the resources to process a small amount of plastic in this way. More than 90 per cent of the plastic waste they collect is sold to the mainland for processing, he said. And about 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste is produced in Hong Kong every month, he said.

He said space and infrastructure, such as sewerage pipes, were needed to process plastic. But most of the firms do not have the space, so most of the plastic was now ending up in landfills.

Chan said if the government did not step in soon, most local recyclers would have to close down in one or two months. He hoped the government could negotiate with mainland authorities to have the rules relaxed.

Chan said it was difficult for the companies to find more land, and even if they did they would only likely secure a lease for three years. “By the time the site is developed the way we need it the rental period will be over,” he said, adding it was too expensive to install the infrastructure needed to process the plastic so that it met the mainland standards.

Cheung Ma-bing, head of plastics at the federation, said plastic waste of good quality could be sold for 6,000 yuan (HK$7,520) a tonne. He said it could be profitable if the government stepped in, for example by making land available with longer lease terms for recyclers.

He said the federation had hoped the government would allocate space to process the rejected plastic in the EcoPark in Tuen Mun, but it had yet to receive a response to its request.

Last week, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she would lead a high-level steering committee to oversee recycling, including whether the trade should be subsidised.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Officials dispute dumping claims

Officials dispute dumping claims

Saturday, 27 July, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


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Recyclers say much plastic waste ends up here. Photo: Edward Wong

Ada Lee

Reliable figures on how much imported plastic waste ends up in local landfills prove hard to find as recyclers press for licensing system

Recyclers and the government remained divided yesterday over the amount of foreign plastic waste dumped in local landfills, with the Environmental Protection Department saying the industry’s estimate of 300,000 tonnes a year was impossible.

David Wong Tak-wai, an assistant director of the department, said that much waste would require 200 trucks a day to take it to landfills. It would be impossible, he said, as the government monitored waste going to landfills closely and that number would mean the city generated very little plastic waste of its own.

We will see if the current formula for calculating the amount of recycled waste is still valid and how much waste has been declared as local even though its origin was overseas

EPD assistant director Dr Ellen Chan Ying-lung

Groups representing the recycling industry also wanted the government to establish a licensing system, so the operations of recycling companies could be better monitored and the city could have a better idea of how rubbish imported from overseas was processed.

Chan Sik-kwan, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Recycle, said some low-quality imported waste was mixed with non-recyclable material, and that 8 to 10 per cent of the 3 million tonnes of that waste processed in the city was going into landfills.

Environment minister Wong Kam-sing said the industry’s estimate was only approximate.

He added that the overall amount of waste exported, including metal, paper and plastic, was more than that imported.

He was responding to claims that the amount of plastic waste exported was less that that imported, and that therefore some of it was going into local landfills.

Department assistant director Dr Ellen Chan Ying-lung said that if it was mixed with other domestic waste, it would be difficult to identify.

She said the government had found the recorded export rate of plastic waste had fluctuated wildly in recent years, and so it had commissioned a consultant to examine the figures.

“We will see if the current formula for calculating the amount of recycled waste is still valid and how much waste has been declared as local even though its origin was overseas,” she said.

The federation also called for a study of licensing recyclers.

Chan Sik-kwan said some recyclers might say the non-recyclable portion of foreign plastic waste was local waste as it was processed in the city. He said some recyclers did not meet standards in terms of both safety and quality, and urged the government to study the possibility of a licensing scheme.

Dr Jacky Lau yiu-shing, president of Recycle Materials and Re-production Business General Association, also said licensing was necessary so controls on imported rubbish could be enforced more easily.

Democratic Party lawmaker Dr Helena Wong Pik-wan said Hong Kong should not allow imports of low-quality plastic waste if the mainland had also stopped accepting it, referring to a recent mainland decision to ban imports of poor-quality waste.

That had resulted in 189 containers of low-quality waste being returned to Hong Kong, according to the Environment Bureau.

What has happened to the plastic waste imported here with the intent to on-forward it to China but which is now blocked from import into China due to GREEN FENCE ?

Has it been re-exported back to the originating sources ? If not, what has happened to that imported plastic waste ?

We note that 99% of all recyclables are seemingly exported from here to the demise of the local recycling industry.

Kind regards

James Middleton


Govt denies dumping of imported waste


The Environment Secretary, Wong Kam-sing, has rejected claims that 300,000 tonnes of imported waste have been dumped in local landfills since the beginning of the year. The recycling industry says it’s been blocked from selling processed imported waste to the mainland, since China tightened regulations. They say this has resulted in all of it ending up in Hong Kong landfills. But Mr Wong said government data showed that absolutely no imported waste had been dumped locally.

HongHONG Kong struggling with plastic waste mountain following green fence

by Paul Sanderson

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Thousands of tonnes of plastic from Hong Kong that would traditionally have been recycled in China has been blocked due to the green fence.

As a result, Hong Kong is having to landfill plastic and this is also providing confirmation that Hong Kong as a traditional backdoor route into China for plastics recycling has been closed off.

The Federation of Hong Kong Recycle has said that its members have been unable to send 10,000 tonnes of plastic to the mainland for recycling, and instead this material has been stored in warehouses. However, with space running out, recyclers in China are now having to send the material to landfill.

Federation chairman Chan Sik-kwan told the South China Morning Post that local firms only had limited resources to wash, shred and categorise material to Chinese import standards.

He warned that more help would be needed from the Hong Kong government or recycling companies would be forced to close. He hoped that the government would be able to negotiate with the mainland government to relax the rules.

Recycled Plastics Market Set to Triple, but China’s ‘Green Fence’ Hampering Exports

4 June 2013

By Ben Messenger
Managing Editor–but-chinas–green-fence-.html

The global demand for recovered plastics will triple over the next eight years, but China’s ‘Green Fence’ policy of import restrictions of scrap plastics is leading to oversupply in the U.S. market.

Recycled Plastics Market Set to Triple, but China’s Green Fence Hampering Exports

Speaking at the recent BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) World Recycling Convention & Exhibition in Shanghai, the BIR Plastics Committee chairman, Surendra Borad highlighted figures from industry consultant Poyry, which suggest that annual global consumption will leap from 15 million tonnes in 2007 to 45 million tonnes by 2015. According to Poyry’s forecast, that number could rise to as much as 85 million tonnes per year by 2020. Borad explained that these figures are backed up by a projection from CBI China that Chinese demand for recovered plastics could top 29 million tonnes by 2015, and that China (including Hong Kong) currently imports 8 – 9 million tonnes of plastics scrap each year, while domestic collection was around 13 million tonnes. On the issue of international movements of material Borad confirmed that he had recently urged the European Commission to make a clearer distinction between “illegal shipments” and “shipments in violation of the EU regulation”. According to the committee chairman those in the latter category “may be due to missing papers or incomplete or inaccurate paperwork or administrative mistakes”. The volume of illegal shipments from Europe “may not be as much as it is perceived to be”, he argued.

Green Fence

Also speaking at the event, Dr Steve Wong, managing director of Fukutomi Company and president of the China Scrap Plastic Association, said that the country’s “Green Fence” import initiative was making life more difficult for those consumers relying on scrap plastics, forcing many to pay more for their raw material and thus impairing their competitiveness. As well as listing the types of post-consumer plastics to which a prohibition applied, the speaker underlined that trading of import licences was forbidden while imported plastics scrap “must be delivered to the factory which is eligible to import, as stated on the import licence”. According to fellow guest speaker Renwu Cai, general manager of Guangzhou GISE-MBA New Plastics Technology, the so called Green Fence was designed to “set up obstacles to illegal enterprises” and to “provide convenience to the law-abiding”, but he acknowledged that even those law-abiding enterprises had been hit by customs clearance delays and thus additional costs. Among the reports submitted to the Plastics Committee meeting, the review of the Dutch and German markets by Peter Daalder of Daly Plastics in the Netherlands highlighted the reduction in exported volumes as a result of China’s stricter import procedures. Michael Schipper of International Alloys added that the policy was causing a scrap plastics oversupply in the U.S. – with a subsequent price reduction of 15% in some instances. Meanwhile, Gregory Cardot of Veolia Propreté spoke of the increasing number of French plastics recyclers and converters which were “in receivership or bankrupt”. “Payment terms are not respected and delays are increasing,” he warned. In contrast Borad noted that the Indian market was “doing rather well” and offering “reasonable demand”.

by Paul Sanderson

Since the introduction of the Operation Green Fence crackdown on imports of illegal solid waste, 383 containers of waste have been seized by Chinese customs officials.

As first revealed to subscribers of SCM Intelligence, the Chinese Government began the strict inspections of between 50 and 100 per cent of containers at its ports following Chinese New Year in February to ensure that all imports met its existing requirement of no more than 1.5 per cent contamination in waste loads.

EPD clarifies media reports on arrangements for waste plastic disposal

Jul 17th, 2013

by Editor.

The document points out that waste plastics imported from other places are not allowed to be disposed of in Hong Kong and the EPD will require the recyclers or importers to return such waste to its place of origin. As for local recyclables that have been seriously contaminated and are not suitable for recycling, recyclers can contact the EPD to arrange the disposal of such waste at landfills or refuse transfer stations after inspection by the EPD. If the waste plastics are found to be suitable for recycling, the EPD will follow up with the recyclers and provide assistance in recycling the materials.

Waste & Recycling

Issue # 3, Vol: 3

Cover Story: Green Fence for better quality control

By Swaliha Shanavas

The Green Fence initiative of China which was launched in February 2013 with the aim of filtering out substandard and hazardous scrap material entering the country has impacted businesses worldwide, at least in the short term. The regulation is being enforced by rigorous container inspections, with a lot of material being rejected, and the action has led to difficulty in shipping mixed loads, customs clearance delays at ports, slower inbound movements, re-packaging of material and diversion to other ports, with its effect being felt in various countries including the US and Europe.

Operation Green Fence was one of the significant topics touched upon by many speakers at the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) 2013 World Recycling Convention in Shanghai, with a great deal of emphasis placed on it at the Plastics Committee meeting. “A butterfly in China is creating a tornado in Europe,” stated Surendra Borad, Plastics Committee Chairman and chairman of Gemini Corporation.

Steve Wong, managing director of Fukutomi Company Ltd., said the Green Fence action is mainly to defend “the living environment” of China against pollution. He underlined the implications of the action on the recycling industry. “Post production plastic waste will soon become the major type of plastic waste to be imported… At the same time, traders who rely much on trading of plastic waste will naturally be eliminated from the business. Only those recyclers who also involve producing finished products for export can survive.” Another consequence could be overseas suppliers seeking alternative markets he said. “In order to survive, overseas suppliers have started recycling and processing their post-consumer waste into recycled raw materials locally.”

Guest speaker Renwu Cai, general manager of Guangzhou GISE-MBA New Plastics Technology said the Green Fence operation was to “crack down on illegal enterprises and standardise the industry” but acknowledged that this brought about customs clearance delays, resulting in additional costs to even the law-abiding enterprises.

Gregory Cardot of Veolia Propreté pointed out that Green Fence is only a strict application of a Chinese regulation of 2010 concerning the importation of waste in China. “Consequently, all plastics mixed with more than 2% of contamination are no more welcome in China.” He stressed that this is an opportunity for all to improve the quality and ‘develop the plastic recycling processes for tomorrow’.

Ranjit Baxi of UK-based J & H Sales International and BIR Paper Division’s President observed that for success in business “the word ‘quality’ must be right on top of every business agenda”, and when supplying recovered fibre they should increase their focus on the specific quality requirements of the individual receiving country. He said, for instance, China operated to its own long-established material classifications, and while consumers in that country did not expect overseas suppliers to achieve zero prohibitive materials, neither were they prepared to accept 10% wax-coated paper.

“Operation Green Fence was set up by China Customs to ensure the correct enforcement of existing legislation on waste imports,” Minnie Kong, Associate Economist (Fiber) at RISI pointed out, adding that in the short term the policy was hurting the exporters in USA and Europe, also creating problems for Chinese paper mills relying on imports, ‘at least temporarily’.
Ranjit Baxi, CEO, J&H International Ltd

Middle East perspective

Considering the significance of the Green Fence initiative, we sought the views of some of the major recyclers in the region The green fence regulation is necessary on the part of China to have the required environmental and economic controls over the increasing import of scrap materials, said Salman Shaban, Manager-Commercial, Lucky Star Alloys. “In the short run, it might disturb business in terms of price reductions, slowdown in supply and port demurrages. But, in the long run, it will have a positive impact on the waste scrap trade as it will streamline the type of material coming into China and will limit the environmental impact on China.”
Surendra Borad, Chairman, Gemini Corporation

Shiraz Hamirani, Managing Director, Paper Chase views the Green fence as a positive step by China, towards improving quality for some packers who have not been able to meet international standards for supply of raw materials to Paper mills. “Several thousand containers are blocked at the Chinese ports and are being asked to be shipped back to origin. This means huge costs being incurred by the packers whose cargos are being returned.” According to Surendra Borad of Gemini Corp., who referred to the development as ‘a blessing in disguise’, the regulation “will force the recycling industry to adopt better sorting techniques; it would improve the image of the scrap industry. The inexperienced and off-and-on traders in the industry will have a difficult time. Overall, the quality of scrap will improve. There are some types of plastic scraps which can be better recycled in Europe as they have better technology.”
Shiraz Hamirani, Managing Director, Paper Chase

Bilal Effendi, Director, Paklite fzc and Paklite HK Limited said China is the biggest importer of plastic scrap, which comprises production wastes and recovered materials and that waste plastic imports in China stood at 2.4 million tons in 2002 to about 11 million tons in 2012. “I have been in the waste plastic business since 2006, and we have seen the noose around the quality of materials being tightened gradually since then. The regulation has been there since 2010 and we had seen considerable changes in the requirement of materials from our buyers over a number of years. As per my understanding, operation Green Fence has two objectives from the Chinese government’s stand point: 1) to regulate the quality of waste material entering the country; 2) to regulate the business on the mainland.”

Impact of Operation Green Fence

In Borad’s view, “USA and Europe have been insanely dependent on exports to China. Alternative destinations will be looked into and rightly so. There will be some reduction in the quantity of exports from USA and Europe. Under the Green Fence the role of traders is being eliminated. This may have some negative consequences as the processors do not have enough working capital or human resources to source the scraps.”

China has strict measures to control quality and eventually only good reliable packers with standard quality will be allowed to ship their material to the country, said Hamirani. “This will result in a shortage of good fiber in the short run, till packers are forced to improve their quality to meet green fence requirements.” He added that every packer when exporting has to be more careful in improving the quality to meet the requirements and “this is going to be a challenge for small packers and traders”.

The director of Paklite sees the new regulation as an opportunity. “If only clean scrap materials are allowed for import, you would have to do your recycling, at least to a certain extent, in the country of origin. So the governments in the Middle East or elsewhere should now support recycling and not just collection activities.” But clean scrap is not the only issue, he noted. The regulation states: 1) The import license should neither be borrowed nor sold; 2) The imported material should only be used as raw stuff by the importers and in any case reselling of the imported material is strictly prohibited as indicated in the license; 3) most importantly, the importer should get a clearance from his local customs only and not any other customs in the country.

“This is cutting the business,” Effendi said, further explaining that a majority of the materials enter China via Hong Kong. The Guangdong province has seen 30-40% of the recycling business shut down after the launch. Those involved in the business clearly acknowledge that the final end-use buyers of the plastics scrap have nothing to do with the initial purchase. The material changes hand from the supplier in a foreign country to a buyer in most probably Hong Kong. The Hong Kong company takes responsibility to clear the imported goods in Hong Kong, re-export to China and clear the goods in China before handing over to usually a broker/trader who again resells to recyclers on the mainland. Licenses are borrowed and in a majority of the cases, the importer in China as per the documents is lender of the license only.

“I understand that this is a good move by the Chinese Government as it will restrict the control of the raw materials with a few people holding the license; this might help reduce costs of imported scrap, meaning a lower net back to the foreign supplier and better portion going in the Chinese economy. From a trader’s point of view dependent on the Chinese market, this move will cut off a lot of business and might even drive some players out of business. However, for the local industry anywhere, it is a blessing in disguise as waste raw material will be available at better prices,” he added.

Its effect on the Middle East recycling industry will not be as much since the industry is relatively smaller than Europe and US, said Shaban. “I feel that it will have a greater impact on exporters based in the EU and US. This issue can be addressed by improving the quality of their export material and avoid exporting those items prohibited by the green fence guidelines.”

In Borad’s view, there will be a reduction in exports of scrap from the Middle East as far as Plastics Scrap is concerned, and the collectors need to invest in modern sorting and packaging equipment. “The reduction in export is good for the domestic plastics industry. There is shortage of plastics scrap in the Middle East region. The Green Fence action may reduce the local prices. It goes without saying that quality improvement should be a constant objective. This action has prompted the Middle East industry that every scrap cannot be exported. You need to “work” on the scrap. You need to add value by way of sorting and better packing. All in all, this action is good for the industry in the region.”
Salman Shaban, Manager-Commercial, Lucky Star Alloys

Effendi also stated that there will not be a big impact on the region’s industry as a lot of material is being collected and converted into raw material here, which is then exported for recycling elsewhere including China. “Also recently many industries have been setup which require scrap, but were previously unable to buy due to fierce competition from China. Again, a lot of waste moves into India, Pakistan and other far eastern countries. And if the materials are not exported, it will end up with local processors, so I view it as a gain for the local industry.”

CCIC Dubai expressed their views on the initiative. Following are some excerpts.

“With China’s ever increasing environmental pressure, Chinese government has been putting more emphasis on environmental protection in recent years. The ‘green fence’ action as part of China’s green drive aims at preventing environmentally substandard scrap materials and dangerous wastes from entering the country. China’s Customs and environmental protection organisations are the main authorities responsible for carrying out this action,” said Song Xiaofeng, general manager at China Certification & Inspection Group (CCIC), Dubai. “As far as we know, ‘green fence’ is a positive move targeted at releasing China’s environmental pressure coming from outside which has confounded the environmental conditions within the country. We think the move is helpful in greening the international scrap market. The Middle East suppliers of scrap material could take ‘green fence’ as an outside encouragement or spur for better quality control.”
Bilal Effendi, Director, Paklite fzc & Paklite HK Ltd

Impact of Green Fence initiative

“We think it will produce positive results for excellent companies with good quality control. The action will push companies to exercise extra care in selecting the source and improving the quality of their materials, thus upgrade their material structure to cater for greener needs in China,” he emphasised, adding that in the long run, it will provide companies with a competitive advantage in material quality and environmental control to survive and prevail.

“While companies within China that use scrap as raw materials might face temporary shortage of production materials and higher cost for scraps, they might get better quality scraps and face low environmental pressure from supervisory department in the long run. So it is not very meaningful to appraise the immediate consequences or benefits for the companies within China,” Xiaofeng noted.

He also said they did not think the action will generate considerable impact on the Middle East recycling industry. “If it will, the impact would only be short pangs of upgrading the company and materials. As far as we learn, the Middle East recycling scrap market is healthy and market oriented. The material structure and quality are generally good. And as China is still a great market for scrap materials, there will always be demand for Middle East recycling materials,” he stated.

“Our business figures did show some decrease in scrap export to China in May. However, the constitution of business decrement is mainly on low quality end market, and affected clients are mainly small scale suppliers buying materials with relatively poor quality and low profit margin, therefore with less market adaptability. Middle East mainstream suppliers with good quality assurance and correct business orientation should obviously be less affected. And the types of scraps most affected are only plastics because of its diversity of sources, especially those coming from city garbage and industrial wastes. Impact on paper and metals are relatively small, because the environmental risks of paper and metals are relatively limited,” the general manager explained.

In his view, the only way to address the ‘quality’ issues is to have better quality control. “China’s policy and law for environmentally safe scraps can hardly be disputed. Any country with certain awareness of environmental protection may apply laws of this kind. The laws are strict but not too exorbitant. We think every businessman should be on the positive side of the quality challenge as it is a stimulus for the industry’s growth. You will be better prepared and more adapted if you do not worry about your material quality, on the contrary, are confident in it.”

Inspection procedures

Scrap materials will have to undergo pre-shipment inspection (PSI) before they are actually shipped to China for customs clearance, where the cargo will go through the final inspection from the port customs and the health and quarantine department (CIQ). China has a set of compulsory national standards for scrap materials. Both PSI and the CIQ inspection are carried out against the same compulsory standards, while the customs also check for forbidden cargoes listed in China’s forbidden lists during scrap inspection.

“The Chinese compulsory standards for different scrap materials mainly control dangerous wastes, explosives, radioactive materials, city garbage and other carried-on wastes. Those are any inspector’s main concern. So always make your materials clean and environmentally safe. Try to keep your materials free from forbidden wastes (dangerous wastes, explosives, radioactive materials, city garbage) and keep other carried-on wastes within limits of standards,” the official stated.

The message is simple: Keep it clean and green!

Air-traffic controllers the key element

Letters to the Editor, July 27, 2013

Saturday, 27 July, 2013, 12:00am


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Better runway efficiency is needed. Photo: David Wong

Air-traffic controllers the key element

How refreshing to read Albert Cheng King-hon’s opinion on the third runway proposal for Hong Kong International Airport (“Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway [1]“, July 19).

Mr Cheng highlighted that the airport has issues with its airspace constraints, particularly through Chinese airspace and also with weather. However, I believe air traffic control to be the prime constraint on movements. I am not apportioning blame on the air-traffic controllers, but the limitations imposed on them; 64 flights an hour is too low a limit.

I operate regularly in and out of Hong Kong and other worldwide major airports. London Heathrow would be at the pinnacle of efficiency in terms of utilisation of its two runways.

This is primarily down to the exceptional air traffic control in the area. Hong Kong has the latent talent in air-traffic control to replicate Heathrow’s success. I would recommend training a group of officers in Britain, exchange programmes, sharing knowledge and practices and further recruitment, locally and from overseas. This would go a long way towards improving the air-traffic control efficiency at our airport. This is only possible with the Civil Aviation Department’s backing and financial commitment.

By taking this bold step, the department could position itself as the Asian authority on air-traffic control and create opportunities for the training of local and regional air-traffic control officers, regaining some of the costs incurred.

The department should focus on air-traffic control first to improve efficiency with the current runways because if it is not possible with two runways, then it certainly won’t be with three.

Keith Moran, Discovery Bay


Undignified announcement of judicial review outcome

Saturday, 27 July, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

Call us naive but we were a little shocked yesterday at the way in which the judgment was announced on whether to grant a judicial review on aspects of the proposed Shek Kwu Chau incinerator.

We assumed a matter like this would be conducted with the dignity that accompanies judicial proceedings at the High Court and, for that matter, lower courts. About 30 people gathered outside Court No 14, including the press, green groups and other interested parties. Suddenly, the door opened and a clerk called out two names. Two figures appeared and signed for their copies of the judgment and then disappeared, leaving the assembled totally mystified as to what had happened.

We eventually gathered that leave to seek a judicial review had been dismissed. We wandered off to the press office at the High Court, which said it was printing 20 copies of the judgment which, at 80 pages a copy, seemed wasteful.

Why not hand out a brief summary of the judgment and put the full version online? We gather that the judgment won’t be online for a further three days. It was all rather shambolic and not what a casual observer might expect from the High Court. Many might agree it could do a lot better.

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