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April 21st, 2014:

Standard: ‘Biased’ panel chairman under fire over landfill move

by Eddie Luk, The Standard:

A decision on the government’s landfill- incinerator proposal has been put on the back burner for another month after the chairman of the Legislative Council’s public works subcommittee was accused of bias.

The chairman, Lo Wai-kwok, had told panel members that discussion on the expansion of the Tseung Kwan O landfill and construction of an incinerator would be grouped together but they would be voted on separately.

Lo, who represents the engineering functional constituency, said he had decided to do so since the landfill and incinerator were related to waste management tactics.

But the announcement stirred an immediate uproar among the pan-democrats who accused him of favoring the government.

Neo Democrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai referred to a WhatsApp message Lo had sent before the Legco environmental affairs panel meeting in late March reminding pro- establishment lawmakers to make sure of their attendance.

“You seem to have your own agenda on the issue,” Fan yelled.

Lo hit back, saying that as a member of the panel he was entitled to express his opinion.

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip accused Lo of not conducting the meeting in a fair manner.

Lo stressed he would remain neutral while chairing the meeting.

The debate was put off until early next month. Democratic Party and Civic Party lawmakers made clear they would not support the funding applications.

Outside Legco, a group of Tseung Kwan O residents held a protest against the plan.

The government has been pressing lawmakers to support the landfill extension and the waste incinerator plant as all three landfills are projected to be full between 2015 and 2019.

17 Apr 2014

Telegraph: British Airways to fuel planes with rubbish

by Natalie Paris, Daily Telegraph:

A former oil refinery in Thurrock, Essex, will house the Green Sky project which is being built to open in 2017, creating up to 150 permanent jobs.

Around 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, will be converted into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels using integrated technology from Solena Fuels.

BA has then agreed to buy 50,000 tonnes per annum of the jet fuel at market competitive rates.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said the recycled fuel will allow the carrier to significantly reduce its carbon emissions.

“The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over, with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”

The process will apply high temperature plasma gasification technology to turn the waste into synthetic gas and then into liquid hydrocarbons.

Airlines from all over the world are set to meet at the 2014 Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva in two weeks’ time. It is hoped that this project will revolutionise the production of sustainable aviation fuel.

16 Apr 2014

PDI: Green groups in QC hit council bid to lift incinerator ban

by Jeannette I. Andrade of the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Quezon City-based environmentalists are up in arms over a local council resolution asking Congress to lift the ban on incinerators to pave the way for the setup of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities in the city.

Green advocacy leaders and Quezon City residents Von Hernandez, Sonia Mendoza, Joey Papa and Shally Vitan—who represent different groups—denounced the councilors’ move as a “death blow” to waste prevention and recycling initiatives, pointing out that incineration is a “lazy man’s dangerous technology.”

They warned that lifting the ban by amending two laws—the Clean Air Act of 1999 and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000—would lead to further ecological degradation.

Hernandez, EcoWaste Coalition president and Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director, said the resolution was “a regressive and despicable move on the part of the city council. Not only does it betray the Quezon City government’s utter inability to implement real solutions already prescribed in law, it also shows that these politicians would not hesitate to burn and waste taxpayers’ money on polluting facilities.”

“What is being presented as a ‘quick fix’ is actually a scheme to increase the already stratospheric costs of waste management and disposal in Quezon City,” Hernandez said, pointing out that the public should ask who stands to benefit from the setup of a WTE facility.

Papa, president of Bangon Kalikasan Movement, stressed that incineration as a means to dispose of solid waste would only compete with recycling which is environmentally and economically beneficial.

Instead of being fixated with this lazy man’s dangerous technology, our city officials should focus on optimizing recycling and providing incentives for households to separate their discards at source, to recycle and to compost,” he said.

These “burn proponents,” Papa said, would “negate the best practices of a good number of Quezon City residents,” like those in barangays that had succeeded in reducing their waste output through segregation and recycling.

Vitan said a quick-fix measure such as the WTE facility would only compound the city’s waste-management problem and add health hazards to the mix.

“What Quezon City needs to do is to aggressively reduce the garbage it produces by securing the cooperation of residents,” said Vitan, Asia-Pacific coordinator for Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. “It may be long and slow but it is sustainable.”

Mother Earth Foundation president Sonia Mendoza reminded the city councilors of the danger of incinerators which, she said, emit cancer-causing dioxins.

“Incinerator peddlers would always say there’s ‘nothing to worry about, it’s zero emission.’ But even the most technologically advanced waste burners with expensive, high-tech emission-control devices still emit various contaminants, often failing emission standards.”

The council recently asked the House of Representatives, through former Quezon City mayor and now Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., to amend the two laws and lift the ban.

The councilors maintained that a WTE facility would be necessary in view of the city’s growing population and economic development which had increased solid waste generation and posed trash disposal problems.

Last year, the city government held exploratory talks with the group of businessman Manny V. Pangilinan for a possible joint venture, wherein the city would be supplying the trash while the MVP group would construct and run a WTE facility.