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October 28th, 2013:

“Invasion of flies” highlight HK landfill problem; government blames opposition to incineration and household waste production

A shocking incident occurred in Tuen Mun recently, where swamps of flies ‘invaded’ the town, causing serious disturbance for the residents; all manners of food attracted flies as magnets attract iron. Residents observe that the numbers of flies and other pests have increased in the past years as the nearby landfill in Nim Wan increased in size, and they claim that none of the pest control measures in the municipality has worked so far.

In 25 minutes, a new piece of A4-size flytrap paper is covered with flies. (Singtao/So)

It seems obvious that the source of the flies problem lies in the landfill, but government officials made two ridiculous observations in response to this. First, that “there were no swarms of flies to be seen” when lawmakers inspected the landfill, and that there was “no evidence that the flies had come from the landfill”. Shirking direct responsibility to tackle the situation, officials are now simply evading the question as to the source of the flies.

The second government response makes even harder reading. While admitting that the current practice of landfills is itself a problem, officials are blaming the opposition to incineration as the reason that the city has to continue landfilling a large percentage of its waste; with alternative solutions in plasma technology, it is difficult to understand why the government only understands ‘opposition to incineration’ in such a narrow context.

Do government officials think only in the two dimensions of landfills and incinerators? (Westinghouse)

Officials continue to harp on household waste production and push for measures to punish its citizens for it, when it has been pointed out that commercial production of unnecessary waste far outstrips household waste production; here again, the refusal to acknowledge the true state of affairs can only hamper efforts to resolve the problem of waste disposal.

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