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September, 2013:

Plan to grow profits from food waste

SCMP Online comment:

“recycling rate having recently risen to 48 per cent” = hogwash The alleged figures include imported waste for transfer to the Mainland, a lot of which was now halted by Operation Green Fence.

Wet food waste here has the highest water content worldwide. Wet market waste is 90% water whilst mall waste hovers around 70% versus 30% water content in Europe, 50% Japan, 55% Korea. Previous Govt composting tests provided compost of such low quality it could not be used or exported, so it was landfilled.

How many HK people have gardens here, grow crops, rear pigs ?

The two proposed local digestion plants will produce 20 tonnes of compost per day – what would we do with that?

Separation at source has great merit. Currently 3,300 m3 hi-water content food waste is mixed w/ possible recyclable material per day. If it were separated the remaining dry MSW could create new jobs in recycling plants thus vastly reducing reliance on landfill. Separating food waste would also reduce smells & gases formed in landfills.

Our brilliant Stonecutters sewerage system & feeder network could handle all our current & future (pulverised) food waste in minutes if it were collected as Green Bin waste (such as Santa Monica) then pulverised at transfer stations & fed into the sewage system.

As for incineration, how do you burn water ? Wet food waste has a calorific value 4 MJ/kg lower than is required for combustion so additional energy would be needed to co-combust it.

A complete no-brainer.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Plan to grow profits from food waste

Plan to grow profits from food waste

Sunday, 08 September, 2013, 12:00am


A proposal to expand landfills for future waste management has prompted lots of argument.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing says the government takes waste management seriously and has promised to promote recycling efforts. We feel there is an urgent need to increase education and compliance in recycling, because dumping rubbish into landfills is not a long-term solution.

Hong Kong has acquired the reputation of being the most wasteful city in Asia despite the recycling rate having recently risen to 48 per cent. On average, each person in Hong Kong generates 1.36kg of trash daily, compared to 1kg in Taipei, 0.95kg in Seoul and 0.77kg in Tokyo.

Wet kitchen waste (for example, eggshells, tea leaves and coffee grounds) is not considered by the government as “green waste” and thus ignored for recycling. For a long time in Hong Kong, waste from the construction industry and electronic devices has been recycled. Newspaper, glass and plastic bottles are officially considered green waste.

Wet kitchen waste could be recycled creatively. One way is to turn it into organic fertiliser which could grow better and healthier crops in an environmentally friendly way. Also, people should be educated to recycle wet kitchen waste for home gardening.

Separating such waste may be time-consuming and troublesome. But back in the 1950s in Hong Kong, people who were given a name in Chinese which translated as “waste food collector”, collected leftover food door to door and it was used to feed pigs and other farm animals. Today, everyone ignores the many benefits of wet kitchen waste.

Creative use of waste resources is conducive to a stronger economy. Wet kitchen waste could be sold for HK$10 per kg. Newspaper and cardboard collectors could be hired to collect it, as in the old days, and then deliver the produce to end users, such as organic farms, for processing. In this way kitchen waste, like other recyclables, can be turned into financial profits.

We hope the government will consider our idea rather than spending billions of dollars on the controversial landfill expansion plan.

Anson Chan Wai-ting, North Point, Alice Leung Pik-han, Sha Tin

Source URL (retrieved on Sep 8th 2013, 7:20am):

Delay in disclosing toxic run-off makes landfill expansion a harder sell

· land_fill_leak.jpg

Leak in one of the leachate lagoons of the North East New Territories Landfill has resulted in an overflow of leachate into the Kong Yiu River. Photo: EPA

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Delay in disclosing toxic run-off makes landfill expansion a harder sell

Delay in disclosing toxic run-off makes landfill expansion a harder sell

Sunday, 08 September, 2013, 12:00am

CommentInsight & Opinion


SCMP Editorial

The concept of the public’s right to know should not be too hard to understand for a government that prides itself as transparent and accountable. Instead of keeping the people in the dark, officials are expected to inform them as much as possible. This is particularly important when it involves issues of public health and safety. Delay and cover-up are not an option in an open society like Hong Kong.

But our government has once again acted otherwise. It took a month for the Environmental Protection Department to put out an alert on toxic water leaked from a landfill in North district. Although no one is believed to be drinking from the channel found to be contaminated, some farmers are said to irrigate their crops with the water. It has to be asked why officials kept the news to themselves after seepage was first reported on July 28. They may have wanted to wait for more data to assess its impact. But they also missed the earliest opportunity to inform the public of the potential danger. That transparency has been compromised is regrettable.

The strong reaction to the belated announcement shows the issue is a matter of serious concern. The department was wrong not to have sounded the warning earlier. Ironically, officials are still reluctant to come clean on the scale of the problem. Questions, such as how much water has leaked, and its toxicity, remain unanswered. What is certain is that contamination exceeded statutory levels and prosecution of the contractor is under way. The non-disclosure goes against the transparency and accountability expected of a responsible government.

The government has apparently not learned the lesson of last summer, when seven shipping containers of plastic materials washed off a vessel during a typhoon. Officials remained silent for weeks until some beaches were found mysteriously awash with white pellets. It is disturbing to hear that the Tuen Mun landfill might have had similar problems last year. This was first revealed during a radio phone-in programme; officials later denied the allegation.

The plan to expand the city’s near-saturated landfills is already an uphill battle. The latest news is likely to muddy the water further if damage control is not done properly. It is good to hear that officials will consider more timely disclosure in future. The funding requests for the expansion projects are to be retabled to the legislature by early next year. Every effort has to be made to restore public confidence in our landfills.


RTHK English News

Chaotic scenes greet environment chief


audio   Altis Wong reports:

audio   Sai Kung District Councillor Christine Fong spoke to Francis
Moriarty about their protest

There have been chaotic scenes at Tsueng Kwan O when the Environment
Secretary, Wong Kam-sing, arrived there to meet with Sai Kung District
Councillors to discuss a plan to expand the landfill in the area.
Some 20 Tseung Kwan O residents staged a sit-in outside the venue to
express their dissatisfaction with the Council’s decision to bar them
from attending the close-door meeting.

Toxic landfill ash

Metro incinerator ash fails tests on new front


By Surrey Leader
Published: September 05, 2013 11:00 AM
Updated: September 05, 2013 07:367 PM

Some samples of bottom ash from Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerator are testing positive for high concentrations of cadmium – sometimes at twice the allowable levels for conventional landfilling in Delta. A Metro Vancouver staff report shows that so far this year bottom ash loads have failed 19 times out of 479 tests, with eight tests coming back at more than twice the limit.

The test failures are different from the high cadmium levels detected a year ago in some fly ash – taken from scrubbers in the waste-to-energy plant’s stack – that operator Covanta Energy failed to report until those loads were already dumped at the Cache Creek regional landfill. The bottom ash instead goes to the Vancouver Landfill at Burns Bog in Delta.

Trouble with incoming loads there was first flagged in 2007, when some bottom ash exceeded allowed levels of lead, but Metro’s report says subsequent testing determined it wasn’t hazardous to workers and steps were taken to ensure compliance with the landfill’s operating certificate. Metro was advised starting in April of this year that some bottom ash was exceeding leachable cadmium levels.

At the request of the B.C. environment ministry, Metro has filed a management plan to address questions about bottom ash. Meanwhile, bottom ash loads from two weeks in July and one week in August that tested at more than twice the regulatory limit are being stockpiled at the Vancouver Landfill pending further decisions.

Ash that fails the test but is below twice the limit is being landfilled after further tests confirm it’s not hazardous, according to Metro. Up until April, the ash was being used in road construction and as cover at the landfill. According to Metro, sources of cadmium in the waste stream are thought to have increased in recent years. Household batteries are the main source, particularly rechargeables, including electronic device batteries. A much smaller fraction likely comes from plastics. Metro officials say they intend to further study cadmium sources in the waste stream and to work with Covanta to ensure the treatment of bottom ash to neutralize metals ahead of landfilling is effective.

The region will also push for increased recycling of batteries through product stewardship programs. The question of what happens to suspect loads of fly ash at the Cache Creek landfill is still unresolved.

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta said consultants have been hired to try to determine whether it must be landfilled elsewhere instead. He hopes to learn if the plant’s process for binding bottom ash is effective indefinitely or if it degrades over time.

Findings are expected in mid-October.

Fly ash from the incinerator has been trucked to a landfill near Hinton, Alberta instead of Cache Creek, at a cost of about $500,000 more per year, since the test failures came to light.

Find this article at:

Holy row over report

The government has been criticized for failing to have a Chinese version of an English Environmental Impact Assessment report into the northeast New Territories development project.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The government has been criticized for failing to have a Chinese version of an English Environmental Impact Assessment report into the northeast New Territories development project.

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese yesterday lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman to investigate the Environment Bureau.

The commission said villagers, many of whom understand only Chinese, are being denied the right to be fully informed and take part in the consultation process.

Under the project, those in affected villages in Kwu Tung and northern Fan Ling are facing eviction to make way for a new town. Nearly 67,000 flats for 174,000 people are planned in the next 10 years.

Yip Po-lam, project officer for the commission, said: “We hope that the Ombudsman can launch an investigation.”


HK activist’ arrested over village incinerator protest

· china_incinerator_protest_xay801_12603619.jpg

Guangdong police have arrested three activists, one of them a Hong Kong resident, for organising protests over a planned incinerator in Huizhou. Photo: AP

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > ‘HK activist’ arrested over village incinerator protest

‘HK activist’ arrested over village incinerator protest

Friday, 06 September, 2013, 12:00am



Police take hard line against trio accused of organising demonstration in Huizhou

Guangdong police have arrested three activists, one of them a Hong Kong resident, for organising protests over a planned incinerator in Huizhou.

The Huiyang district police bureau said in an online statement yesterday that the three detainees were suspected of “disrupting social order by attempting to mobilise several thousand villagers to demonstrate in front of local government buildings”.

A Beijing-based environmentalist who has studied mainland incinerator projects, and who wished to remain anonymous, said that Pan Yu, a Hong Kong resident, was arrested on August 30 during a trip to Shenzhen.

“Villagers and other property owners, mostly from Shenzhen, oppose the incinerator so they soon joined the protests against the project,” the environmentalist said. “But police accused Pan and two others of leading local villagers in the protests.”

Pan and the two other suspects own property near the planned incinerator location.

A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said last night it had not received any request for assistance.

The arrests are the latest in a series of detentions as mainland authorities take a harder line on protests against construction seen by local residents as undesirable for their neighbourhoods.

The incineration plant, planned for Shatian town with a daily burning capacity of 1,200 tonnes, is strongly opposed by residents of Lanzilong village and a nearby property development.

Local environmental authorities have tried to reassure residents that the incinerator would be safe, saying it uses the most advanced technology and similar environmental standards to those in the European Union.

But many villagers remain unconvinced. Residents have protested three times this year, according to media reports, with the biggest turnout estimated at several hundred. Protesters and police clashed at one rally in May, attended by 60 demonstrators, of whom 10 were detained briefly.

The police statement said the incinerator had won majority support from local residents.

Incinerator projects have become a popular cause for environmental protests on the mainland in recent years, with some residents fearing that the emissions cause cancer. Earlier this year, about 10 protesters against an sewage pipeline in Jiangsu received criminal charges.

Additional reporting by Danny Mok

Source URL (retrieved on Sep 6th 2013, 5:43am):

Efforts to recycle met with obstacles

Letters to the Editor, September 5, 2013

Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 12:00am


Efforts to recycle met with obstacles

I read with interest the comment by Christine Loh, undersecretary for the environment (“Charging scheme provides incentive for waste separation [1]“, August 27), that the government needed to focus both on maximising waste recycling and waste charging. I cannot agree more.

Our family has been attempting to recycle our waste for a number of years but, regrettably, our efforts have been hampered on all fronts.

The estate manager of our complex gallantly confirmed that there was a good recycling programme in place and yet the cleaners regularly dump the contents of our recycling boxes with general domestic waste.

The government recycling containers in our neighbourhood are regularly full, at times with leaves and other rubbish collected by government-contracted cleaners who sweep the streets.

I also tried “paid” recycling and, after paying the required fee, I was told there was insufficient interest for the services to be extended to our neighbourhood and so it was not economically viable.

From time to time, we read in the press of difficulties faced by recycling companies and the purported lack of government support and funding.

Without stating the obvious, recycling companies will only operate if there is a profit to be generated and without the recycling companies, all efforts will be to no avail.

While our children have been coached in the message of RRR (reduce, reuse and recycle), I have yet to come across any evidence of efforts by the administration to make recycling a real and readily available option.

We have high hopes in Ms Loh and with her dedication and foresight, I am sure her department will strive to improve our environment.

Nevertheless, it would be helpful if she could enlighten us on the government’s plans and actions and, more specifically, let me know where I should take our boxes of paper, cans, glass and plastic bottles; and how I can be sure that these are properly recycled.

Kelly Lam, The Peak


Glare from London Skyscraper Blamed for Melting Car

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Glare from London Skyscraper Blamed for Melting Car

Did the building developers make a glaring error?

By Samantha Grossman @sam_grossmanSept. 03, 20130

o to Kindle




A man reacts to a shaft of intense sunlight reflected from the glass windows of the new “Walkie Talkie” tower in central London on August 30, 2013.

Anticipation is building as construction of London’s “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper continues, but there’s one problem already towering over its developers: the structure may be melting cars. Seriously.

The commercial skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street in the city’s financial district, which earned its nickname for its distinct shape, has been blamed for reflecting enough sunlight to warp the metal on parked cars, the BBC reports. A man said he had parked his Jaguar on a nearby street and after he returned two hours later, noticed damage to the vehicle’s mirror, panels and Jaguar badge. He also told the BBC that he found a note from the construction company on the windshield that said, “Your car’s buckled, could you give us a call?” Ouch.

In the meantime, the building developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf, aren’t taking this lightly. They apologized to the Jaguar owner and paid for repairs, and are now investigating. “As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected while we investigate the situation further,” the companies said in a joint statement. They also hit us with some science: “The phenomenon is caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky. It currently lasts for approximately 2 hours per day, with initial modelling suggesting that it will be present for approximately 2-3 weeks.”

The epic car-melting ray of light has already caused such a stir that if we’re lucky, maybe Madonna will write another song about it.

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World Bank plans ‘aggressive’ move on soot, other pollutants

World Bank plans ‘aggressive’ move on soot, other pollutants

DateSeptember 4, 2013 – 8:19AM

The World Bank said it was planning “aggressive action” to help
developing nations cut emissions of soot and other air pollutants
blamed for causing climate change, in a shift also meant to protect
human health and aid crop growth.

Of its funding to poor nations, almost 8 per cent – $US18 billion
($19.9 billion) from 2007-12 – goes to sectors such as energy,
farming, waste and transport that have a potential to cut emissions, a
bank report said.

The bank said it would shift policy to insist that such projects in
future – it did not predict levels of funding – included a component
to curb air pollution.

“We will try to turn it (the funding) into aggressive action” to cut
the pollutants, Rachel Kyte, vice president of sustainable development
at the World Bank, told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting a
38-nation group in Oslo looking at ways to cut short-term air


“Anything that delays the pace at which global warming is arriving
buys time for our clients, the poor countries in the world,” Kyte

The bank would look for new ways to help, for instance, reduce
pollution from public transport, curb methane emissions from rice
irrigation, and improve the efficiency of high-polluting cooking
stoves and brick kilns.

Soot comes from sources ranging from wood-burning cooking stoves to
diesel engines. Methane comes from decomposition of plant and animal
matter and from farming, for instance from the digestive tracts of
cattle and sheep.

Environment ministers at the meeting in Oslo of the Climate and Clean
Air Coalition, set up 18 months ago in Washington as a new front in
combating climate change, also outlined projects to cut air pollution
in areas from forestry to gas flaring.

First aid

The focus on short-lived air pollutants is meant to complement efforts
to cut carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities
that a U.N. panel of climate scientists says is the main cause of
global warming.

In a statement, members of the coalition said that cutting the
short-term pollutants could reduce global warming by up to about 0.5
degree Celsius by 2040-50.

That would help achieve a goal, set by almost 200 nations in 2010, of
limiting a rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius
above pre-industrial times to avoid more heatwaves, floods, droughts
and rising sea levels.

And cutting short-lived pollutants would also protect human health –
six million people worldwide die early every year from air pollution,
it said.

“First aid for the climate can also be first aid for people’s health,”
Norwegian Environment Minister Baard Vegar Soljhell said.

Reducing pollutants “can also help rural economies, with current
estimates showing the potential to save about 50 million tonnes of
crops each year”, the statement said. Pollution poisons plants and can
block sunlight, stunting growth.

The coalition statement did not refer to an academic study last month
that suggested the temperature benefits of an assault on the
short-lived pollutants might be far less, only 0.16 degree Celsius by

Drew Shindell of NASA, the head scientific advisor to the coalition,
said that report wrongly assumed that air pollution would fall with
economic growth. “That doesn’t automatically happen,” he said.


State of the art of separate collection and local management of biowaste (English/French)

Résumé :

The aim of the present study is to analyse the factors leading to successful management of organics and the solutions in place in different countries.

The mission consisted of collecting in the 10 countries chosen a large amount of information about the background and the functioning of separate collection and local management of biowaste by analysing the regulatory context, the technical choices, and the performance.

The information collected is presented in detailed « country files ». The study also allowed the collection of information allowing evaluation of the organisation, the financing and the development of compost quality assurance schemes.

The last phase of the study consisted in cross-comparing collected information according to different criteria and indicators, in order to highlight the actions which had considerable impact on the development of biowaste management, and to judge whether they would be transposable to France.

There is a French version.

Public :

Local administration, Waste industries, Consulting office
Juin 2013 – 21×29,7 – 23p.
Téléchargement(s) gratuit(s) :

* Synthesis (PDF – 911K)