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February, 2015:

From financing issues to manpower shortages, Hong Kong’s third runway plan is doomed to fail

Albert Cheng says recruiting air traffic controllers from overseas, to boost the capacity of the two existing runways, would be far cheaper

Airport Authority chiefs have been racking their brains on how to bypass the legislature to fund the proposed third runway, ever since the environmental impact assessment for the project was approved last year.

Last month, the authority submitted a proposal to the Executive Council on how to finance the massive infrastructure project. It has estimated the cost at HK$136 billion, a far lower figure than earlier market predictions of around HK$200 billion.

Even at this price, the odds of a smooth sailing through the Legislative Council remain slim. Public objections to the plan are mounting, with some people painting it as a white elephant, while green activists are seeking a judicial review to nullify the environmental permit already issued.

The authority has reportedly come up with a three-pronged approach to get round public opinion. It wants to waive dividend payment to the government for eight years, so that a special HK$40 billion fund could be set aside for the purpose. It paid a record HK$5.3 billion dividend to the government, which is its sole shareholder, in the last financial year.

It is also poised to impose a “runway construction surcharge” of between HK$150 and HK$200 on each passenger, generating another HK$3 billion a year for the next 10 years. This would be on top of the HK$120 departure tax now levied on passengers aged 12 or above who leave Hong Kong by air.

The remaining amount could be met by issuing bonds.

The authority’s plans are designed to deprive legislators of the proper channels to scrutinise the project.

I have made my position clear; I am unconvinced there is a need for an additional runway. Officials, for example, have yet to explain how we could better use the airspace immediately north of Hong Kong under mainland control.

As Beijing continues to erode Hong Kong’s role in the “one country, two systems” arrangement, our so-called special administrative region will increasingly become not so special – and be just another Chinese city. In this scenario, the premise for a drastic increase in air capacity for Hong Kong is questionable.

Meanwhile, the director general of civil aviation, Norman Lo Shung-man, has made a bad pitch even less appealing. He was condemned by legislators for squandering taxpayers’ money by turning his new office building into a luxurious amenity. The Civil Aviation Department also spent public money on security and electronic systems without government approval. It would be a stretch to ask the public to place their confidence in him to oversee the most expensive infrastructure project in the history of Hong Kong.

Economic, environmental and technical uncertainties aside, the project is also doomed by an acute labour shortage. There is now a shortfall of about 15 air traffic control and aeronautical communications personnel. The Civil Aviation Department has recruited 60-odd student officers over the past few years. That means only about 20 officers at the junior level each year.

It takes five years to train a student air traffic control officer. At least a decade is needed before they are ready to be promoted to a supervisory role. Even if we eventually get the hardware built in a decade or so, we would not have enough air traffic controllers to ensure safety and efficiency.

Our existing air traffic controllers are close to burn-out. They are often required to work overtime and are unable to take all their holidays. It is difficult for them to keep up their professional standards under such stress, even before any additional workload arising from a third runway. Our airport’s capacity is severely handicapped at night because there are not enough controllers to direct the planes. Carriers, such as Cathay Pacific, are not able to fully utilise their broad-bodied aircraft for the same reason.

I wouldn’t mind putting a new runway on our collective wish list. But it is hardly a matter of urgency.

If we fail to act now to improve the working conditions at the control tower, the two existing runways may become underused, rather than saturated as the authority has predicted.

There is a compelling case for recruiting more experienced air traffic control officers from overseas.

These people could help to significantly boost the number of landings and take-offs for the two serving runways from 62 flights per hour to 68 flights per hour, or more.

Even if we were to reward, say, 30 expatriates with salaries of more than HK$1 million a year, that amount would be peanuts compared with the price of the third runway and would be money well spent.

This alternative prescription is simple: reform the Civil Aviation Department and liberalise its recruitment policy for air traffic controllers.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator.

Source URL (modified on Feb 26th 2015, 12:43pm):


Hong Kong, the world’s largest international air cargo airport, aims to start construction next year on a third runway that will open by 2023 as regional rivals step up efforts to capture growing passenger traffic and cargo demand in Asia.

The new facility will help Hong Kong International Airport boost capacity to 100 million passengers and 9 million tons of cargo a year by 2030, Financial Secretary John Tsang said in his budget speech yesterday. The airport said it handled 63.4 million passengers and 4.38 million tons of cargo last year, both records.

“It is imperative for us to take forward the development of a three-runway system in order to meet our long-term air traffic demand and to maintain our status as an international and regional aviation center in the face of fierce competition from other airports in the region,” Tsang said in a prepared statement.

Tsang’s pledge comes after Singapore announced plans Monday to spend S$3 billion (USD2.2 billion) to begin developing a fifth passenger terminal at Changi International Airport over the next decade, and as other countries gear up to tap growing travel demand from China and other parts of Asia.

Beijing has started construction on a second international airport, while the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu has received regulatory approval for a new 69.3 billion yuan ($11.1 billion) airport that will have three runways.

Hong Kong’s third runway is projected to cost HK$150 billion ($19.3 billion).

Hong Kong’s total trade came to HK$8.4 trillion last year, with air cargo through the airport comprising nearly 40 percent of exports and imports by value, Tsang said yesterday.

Tsang also announced plans to develop air financing in Hong Kong and pledged to explore measures to promote such business. Clement Tan, Bloomberg

Harmful ozone levels in Hong Kong up 35pc in last 15 years

Concentrations of ozone in the city’s air have increased by a third in the last 15 years, highlighting yet again the severity in regional air pollution, according to government data.

Between 1999 and last year, concentrations of ambient ozone at the city’s general air quality monitoring stations rose by 35 per cent, despite levels of all other pollutants showing decreases.

Preliminary data released by the Environmental Protection Department today recorded ozone concentrations at general stations increasing by 7 per cent from 43 micrograms per cubic metre to 46 micrograms per cubic metre last year.

“This once again shows more needs to be done in terms of cooperation with the region,” said Mok Kwai-cheung, the department’s assistant director of environmental protection.

Ozone is a major component of photochemical smog that reduces visibility and threatens human health when exposure is prolonged and high.

The pollutant is formed by a reaction between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) generated from other combustion sources. The dirty, orange smog enveloping views of the harbour on heavily polluted days is created when these two pollutants react with sunlight.

Hong Kong has set a target to reduce NOx by 20 to 30 per cent and VOCs by 15 per cent by 2020 in accordance with a regional air quality management plan between the city and Guangdong.

A cross-border study funded by the department last year found that nearly half of the ambient VOC levels in the Pearl River Delta region were traffic-related, with petrol exhaust the biggest single contributor.

The report suggested that reducing traffic in the delta region by half could be one of the most effective means of combatting regional smog. But cutting VOC emissions from traffic by half could achieve the same effect.
Source URL (modified on Feb 24th 2015, 6:52pm):

Time to put our waste to better use

Doug Woodring says by fixing the problem of our mounting waste – by treating it as a resource – we can create opportunities to address other challenges such as climate change

Some 8 million tonnes of plastic waste makes its way into our oceans every year, according to recent reports. That is the same as placing five garbage bags of trash on every foot of the coastline on our planet. And that is just plastic.

To put the World Bank’s estimates of global municipal solid waste production into perspective, it would be like covering all of California in waste to a depth of almost 10 metres each year. And the scary fact is that some predict this figure will double within 15 years, as population growth and consumption take their toll on our resources.

So, it is worth asking, is our waste footprint a bigger concern than climate change? In the scheme of long-term impact, it’s hard to say, but what is not hard to say is that most of our communities lack the waste management and recycling infrastructure to keep waste from creating problems in our societies and environment.

Unlike climate change, which affects certain locations at certain times, waste affects billions of people on a daily basis, and it is right under our noses. But because it is not “sexy” in terms of the technology and remediation options that exist for harnessing these resources, and because the waste treatment modus operandi in many countries is controlled by the “old guard”, it has proved hard to close the gap between our consumption “outflows”, and our ability to channel that material for job creation, innovation, clean water, better tourism and improved societies.

In some ways, waste is the “magic” point from which we could correct some of our bigger environmental ills. Why? Because trash is something everyone can see, feel, touch and also do something about. It is not like carbon, which children can’t see, and adults can’t judge.

With plastic in particular, the hardest of the municipal solid waste streams to create economies of scale for – due to the wide variety of types and colours – people know that it should not be in the natural environment. Worse, many times, a brand name is associated with that trash. Of course, the companies did not dump it, but to an increasingly aware public, the brand name carries a lot of negative impact for those trying to make their communities a better place.

All the onus cannot be put on the public to put their waste in the right place. In many places, the education system fails to provide the base of knowledge needed for proper recycling and waste management, nor is there the capacity to deal with many materials we discard.

The result is a direct threat to our water systems, which many argue is the next hot topic on the global list of challenges to be addressed.

On the ocean side of the equation, more than 1 billion people rely on protein from the sea each day, yet many are fishing in coastal zones affected by pollution. Trash that is not dealt with can lead to problems of disease, reduced tourism, agricultural impact and flooding.

All these problems can be solved with the right systems. When these systems start to be improved, it is also possible to engage the local community on other, more complex issues, such as those related to climate change.

A good analogy is the “broken window” theory for poor neighbourhoods, in which maintaining and monitoring our communities, while fixing all the broken windows, helps create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness – in this case, preventing more trash being dumped. If you can sort out the waste issues, you create a sense of pride in the area and its waters, with a greater chance that people will recycle and dispose of waste responsibly.

Creating economies of scale for plastic waste, with the help of the companies involved in distributing it in the first place, will lead to many positive results.

This means creating bring-back programmes, using reverse supply chains to recapture some of the material sold, the use of recycled content in products and being part of the “design-for-recycling” economy. This will create a strong social uplift, which is needed in many parts of the world.

Waste is a “forgotten” resource, and by dismissing the value that different waste streams can create, we end up inadvertently adding to climate change ills. Organic waste produces methane, which is 23 times more harmful to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. There are all kinds of technologies to make use of organic waste, but when it is mixed with plastic, the aggregated waste (plastics and organics) becomes virtually worthless, unless there is a hi-tech sorting facility or incineration is used for energy recovery.

Not everyone has such technology, however, so by seeing plastic as a valuable usable raw material, and one that can be recycled while creating jobs along the way, with the help of companies, governments and other communal institutions, we can channel these resources back into use.

This will help keep the organic material in a more usable, pure form, allowing composting or gasification for energy and avoiding methane production from rotting waste.

Virtually everyone wins in this cycle, except maybe the “old guard” who are afraid of change. There are no natural enemies for waste, but we have not changed our collective mindsets to harness the opportunities for improvement. If we do, we can move to the next level of climate-related challenges.

Doug Woodring is founder of the Ocean Recovery Alliance/Plastic Disclosure Project
Source URL (modified on Feb 24th 2015, 5:31pm):

Democrats hope for $5b recycling fund

January 15, 2014

Qi Luo

The Democratic Party is hoping that today’s policy address will include the setting up of a HK$5 billion fund to help promote recycling.

Democratic lawmaker Wu Chi-wai said 60 percent of respondents in a poll conducted by the party recently supported such a move.

“We want competition in the recycling industry, not monopoly,” he added. “The number of recycling agents should not be limited.”

Wu said that sections of the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation needed to be amended along with arrangements covering contractors for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to allow cleaners to collect materials that can be recycled.

The survey also showed that 61 percent of 859 respondents supported waste charges being levied according to volume.

“We believe this is the best way to push residents to change their habits,” Wu said.

He went on to urge officials to look at charging individual flats for garbage rather than a building.

Backing that plea, Wu said 58 percent of respondents said charging for waste would make them more active in recycling. And nearly 60 percent said a reward for recycling would help.

Another survey by the party showed 53 percent of public housing residents back charges for waste.

Waste charge futile without separation of rubbish at source

23 February, 2015

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing’s proposed waste charging scheme is another example of our overpaid principal officials cherry-picking an idea without addressing the root cause of the problem (“Bill on charging for waste ‘likely to be aggressive'”, February 18).

They visited countries to examine incinerators, but not their recycling effort. They look at Taipei and other countries to examine waste charging, but not how they create the infrastructure to complement waste charging.

Taiwan introduced a pay scheme for garbage only after implementing a comprehensive waste management plan, including aggressive waste separation at source and recycling.

Just charging people for waste means added costs without addressing the root problem: the absence of waste separation at source so that recyclable waste and waste delivered to landfills and incinerator are sorted separately. All the waste that is collected after waste charging is implemented still ends up in the landfills in the same black plastic bag as in today’s arrangement.

A waste charging system does not end with the collection of fees. Complementary measures must be implemented at the same time. Before official implementation of the waste charge, a “Keep Trash Off the Ground” policy and “3-in-1 Resource Recovery Scheme” were carried out by the Taipei government in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The former made sure that people must classify waste at home and hand rubbish to the collection vehicles at specified times; the latter required the public to hand recyclables to the resource recovery vehicles that follow the waste collection vehicles twice a week, integrating waste separation, resource recycling and waste collection at one shot. Since 2003, resource recovery collection has increased to five times a week, and a free recovery service for kitchen waste is also provided. Since 2005, compulsory recycling has been in place.

The “Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022” shows no plan for Hong Kong to implement a city-wide waste separation at source, the only developed city in the world that does not do so.

Yet, secretary Wong is proposing to do what bureaucrats do best: creating another bureaucracy headed by two senior officials to oversee the waste charging scheme.

The scheme should not be approved by Legco unless and until a truly holistic waste management policy is developed that includes waste separation at source, aggressive recycling, and the deployment of advanced thermal treatment technology.

Tom Yam, Lantau

dynamco Feb 24th 2015

they inherited frequent flyer Edward Yau’s legacy such as ‘OP Green Fence’ revealed:

2012 Environment Panel boss Chan Hak Kan:
“15. The Panel held another special meeting on 20 April 2012 to continue discussion on the funding proposals. Noting that many measures pertaining to the Policy Framework had yet to be implemented, members were opposed to the reliance on landfills for waste disposal in view of the associated environmental nuisances, as well as the long lead time and cost incurred from restoration of landfills. They stressed the need for an holistic package of waste management measures (including waste reduction, separation and recycling) with waste incineration as a last resort & better communication between the two terms of Government on environmental policies, in particular on the need for incineration. They also urged the Administration to identify other suitable outlying islands for IWMF & promote the local recycling industry. In view of the foregoing, members did not support the submission of the funding proposals to the Public Works Subcommittee for consideration.”
What has changed since this statement ? well the only thing is that hypocrite Chan Hak Kan is now directed by DAB to support the incinerator package.

Fridgeonomics and a ‘zero waste’ world

Linda Yueh

After a five-year effort, Unilever tells me that it has achieved zero waste in all of its 240 factories in 67 countries worldwide. It says that it generates efficiency savings of €200m a year by eliminating disposal costs. Smaller businesses like restaurants have aimed for zero wastage, but Unilever – which makes PG Tips and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – says it’s the first global company to do so.

It’s a fairly remarkable claim and achievement since undoubtedly landfill waste has a huge environmental cost. The UK government estimates that households in England alone generate 177 million tonnes of waste each year.

So, if it’s good for business and the environment, then why hadn’t Unilever and other businesses done this before?

I put that question to Pier Luigi Sigismondi who heads Unilever’s supply chain. He said that the ethos around sustainability has shifted sufficiently to get one of the world’s biggest companies to launch this initiative. Remember that Unilever has had problems with environmental groups; for instance, as the biggest buyer of palm oil. Environmental groups have been concerned with the rate of deforestation in places such as Indonesia due to palm oil extraction. So, the stakeholder pressures appear to be there.

When I asked if up-front capital costs are what puts businesses off, because most are geared for shorter-term returns, Mr Sigismondi pointed out that this was also changing as the biggest companies increasingly recognise the need to address sustainability.

t’s an issue that came up when we discussed Fridgeonomics on Talking Business this week.

As part of A Richer World season, we peered into people’s fridges to see how consumption patterns are changing with incomes. Refrigerators also contribute to global warming and the rate of refrigeration use is growing rapidly in the emerging world. So, we discussed technologies that use solar power, and other innovations that try to reduce the environmental impact and also allow more of the developing world to have refrigerators even in places with patchy electricity.

Indeed, even with electrification challenges, owning a fridge is a mark of becoming middle class. The top three wish list items for a household emerging from poverty are a TV, a mobile phone and a fridge.

When China reached middle income status a decade ago, about a quarter of the population had fridges. Now, it’s about 90%, just shy of the 99% rate found in developed countries. In India, which still hasn’t reached $3,000 per capita income, fridge ownership is about 27% and growing as the middle class expands.

Of course, rising incomes generate a growing demand for food, and a richer variety including meat. Global food production will need to increase by at least 60% to meet this demand by 2050 when the global population is expected to grow by two billion to nine billion. That poses sustainability challenges too.

Peering inside fridges around the world, it turns out that basic items, such as milk, comprised about 10 items. According to research by AllianceBernstein, for middle class households, there were more indulgent items such as ice cream. For the affluent, their fridges were stocked with healthier foods such as low-fat yogurt.

So, as more of the world becomes richer, the challenges around sustainability will also increase.

If, as it claims, Unilever has managed to make a business work with zero non-hazardous wastage, then that would a big step forward on an issue that will only gain in importance as the world gets richer.

Photo Essay: Hong Kong’s waste problem

CNY is a time for plenty of fun, plenty of food – and plenty of waste. Anna Cummins goes on a sobering visual journey into Hong Kong’s ongoing rubbish problem and looks at what exactly is being done to combat it. Photography by Calvin Sit.

Hong Kong has a problem. Together we generate more than six million tonnes of waste every year – and only 48 percent of it is recycled. An immense 13,800 tonnes of rubbish is going directly into the ground every single day. More specifically, local environmental group Green Power estimates that 180 million red packets, 1.5 million mooncakes, a million mooncake tins, 62,500 plastic lanterns and five million items of disposable cutlery are thrown away during CNY alone. In other words, this is a particularly pertinent time of year to think about what we chuck in the bin.

Now, this is all kind of bleak. We know CNY is meant to be fun. But change comes from awareness – and maybe, during all the festivities, now is the time to think of the harm we’re all creating to the environment. In this feature, we’re also looking at some of the positive ways in which Hongkongers are fighting back against excess. So it’s not all bad news! Come with us as we look at the ever-increasing waste problem in the all-too-fragrant harbour…

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This is the North East New Territories landfill, which sits on an exposed slope in Ta Kwu Ling, close to the border with China. This literal mountain of rubbish, constantly compressed by large trucks and encircled by scavenging birds, forms a distinctly dystopian landscape – with the towers of Shenzhen rising along the hazy horizon. Every few metres, the fragment of a distinctive red carrier bag from the wet markets floats between the scattered mattresses, plastic water bottles, children’s toys, instant noodle packets and other recognisable household objects.

The NENT landfill is one of three currently in use in Hong Kong and, despite being the smallest of the trio, it can hold 35 million cubic metres of rubbish. At the current rate of dumping, it will be full in two years, although a controversial series of extensions will soon add several years to that. The landfill is open from 7am to 7pm every single day of the year. In that time, a steady stream of trucks pull up to unload – each 40ft truck carries 21 tonnes of household waste. More than 2,700 tonnes of waste is dumped here daily. Find out more at

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No, this isn’t the lunch basket of a particularly hungry office worker. This is just some of the food that’s left unsold at the end of the day in a busy branch of coffee store Pret A Manger. The popular chain has a policy of not putting fresh food out for sale on the next day.

So – what happens to it all? Food waste is one of the largest problems the city faces in its ongoing trash tumult – with 3,200 tonnes of edible goodness being chucked away daily. That’s one third of the whole city’s municipal solid waste. If that wasn’t shocking enough, NGO Feeding Hong Kong explains it a different way – all those daily dumped dishes would fit on 120 double decker buses. That’s one reason why Pret has been donating its leftovers – around 2,000kg of salads, wraps and sandwiches every month – to Feeding Hong Kong since 2009. Grub like this heads to the charity’s food bank, situated in a warehouse in Yau Tong, before being distributed by volunteers to those in need. Maybe the city’s supermarkets, which chuck away 29 tonnes of food every day, should sit up and pay attention. Find out more at



This colourful mass is a bundle of used clothes – trussed up and sitting in a textile recycling warehouse near to Sheung Shui. The huge storage facility is packed, literally, to the rafters with clothes that have been saved from landfill through donation drives run by NGOs such as Friends of the Earth and Redress, before being repurposed and recycled.

We love fast fashion in our city. Around 80,000 tonnes of textiles are thrown out every year and it’s easy to see why – with an abundance of cheap and cheerful outlets to pick from in almost every district, a seasonal wardrobe update is more than tempting. But considering that textiles are close to 100 percent recyclable, the impact that the textile industry continues to have on the planet is shocking – a simple cotton T-shirt requires up to 2,700 litres of water to produce (WWF) and fabric dyeing is responsible for around 20 percent of all industrial water pollution in the world (World Bank). Buying secondhand has never seemed like such a good idea… Find out more at



If the telly is on the blink, your fridge light has packed in, the hinge of your washing machine is rusting up or you’ve got limescale in your kettle, think twice before dropping your electronics off at the tip and getting something new and shiny. This is the Tuen Mun warehouse of the Weee Go Green Recycling Programme, run by St James Settlement. Since 2003, the project has been giving a new lease of life to 20,000 appliances annually. Expired and unwanted electronics are collected from homes and businesses before being taken to a workshop in Tuen Mun’s EcoPark, where they are either restored and redistributed to local families in need, or otherwise dismantled and recycled.

Only 20 percent of the 70,000 tonnes of computers, televisions, rice cookers and other electronics that we dispose of annually goes to landfill in Hong Kong. That’s because the other 80 percent is exported out of the city. This is supposedly for recycling, although this can have disastrous effects for towns like Guiyu in Guangdong, which has become infamous for being the largest e-waste processing site in the world, provoking terrible environmental consequences. Thankfully, there are now several other schemes also copying what Weee Go Green is doing. Phew! Find out more at



This is Waterfall Bay. The small beach sits on the south side of Hong Kong Island, close to Aberdeen. The golden sunset and wispy clouds certainly set a beautiful scene. But there’s something else catching our eyes here. And that’s all the crap. You see, this is an unmanaged beach – meaning the government doesn’t clear the detritus that accumulates here. And that’s clearly a problem.

The items you’ll find washed up on our city’s beaches are most notably petroleum-based plastics (such as PET) – bottles, plastic bags, food containers and six-pack rings, which can take years to degrade. In fact, 80 percent of the world’s marine waste is plastic. And, once it has degraded, the toxic chemicals within the plastic, such as bisphenol A, or BPA, are released into the ocean and can wash up on beaches or end up inside marine animals. That puts a damper on sunbathing.

Reversing the terrifying trend is a giant undertaking, particularly as not all of the waste in our oceans necessarily comes from Hong Kong. In fact, it’s estimated that China produces a third of the entire world’s plastic pollution.But HK citizens can do their part by not throwing rubbish on to the beach or just on the floor in general, even in the city – vast quantities get washed through storm drains into the sea. For their part, the Environmental Protection Department has launched a campaign, ‘Clean Shorelines’, to find ways of solving the problem. Find out more at

Five new treatment plants needed to achieve food waste reduction target

New food treatment centres aimed at helping cut organic trash by 40 per cent in nine years could save company’s rubbish disposal fees

Businesses may be able to save on rubbish disposal fees from 2016 when the first of two food-waste treatment centres dedicated for their use opens as part of a nine-year war on food waste.

The plan of action will also target food waste at source and sets the “aggressive” goal of reducing the amount of food thrown away by 40 per cent – more than 1,440 tonnes per day – by 2022 compared with 2011, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing announced yesterday.

But the plan will not eliminate the need for bigger landfills or incinerators. “This infrastructure is necessary and is like our daily necessities, similar to other facilities such as power plants,” he said.

Wong’s 2014-22 food-waste plan sets out the urgency of tackling the city’s shrinking landfills, where food waste accounts for more than a third of the rubbish.

Each Hongkonger dumps 130kg of food waste every year, double those of people in Seoul and Taipei, the plan says.

The goal will be partially met by a network of organic-waste treatment centres – Siu Ho Wan on northern Lantau, Sha Ling in North District and a third one in Shek Kong, scheduled to start operations in 2016, 2017 and 2021, respectively.

When that happens, businesses may achieve savings by separating their food waste from other rubbish, for which a collection and disposal fee is payable.

The three plants will offer a combined daily capacity of treating 800 tonnes of food waste, or about 22 per cent of the 3,600 tonnes dumped daily in 2011 – the base year used for official comparison.

On top of those facilities, rubbish disposal charges, tentatively to be introduced in 2016 across the board, are aimed at cutting food waste by 320 tonnes or so, while voluntary programmes to reduce waste at source will shave off another 360 tonnes.

Wong said he hoped to build two more treatment centres beyond 2022, possibly in urban areas. Suitable sites were being identified, he said.

The Siu Ho Wan and Sha Ling centres will cater to the business sector initially. Officials are undecided if the plants should charge any gate fees.

Celia Fung Sze-lai, from Friends of the Earth, said the arrangement favoured businesses at the expense of households, which would be exposed to the full impact of the looming rubbish disposal charge.

“I don’t understand why domestic households, which produce the bulk of the food waste, will have no access to the centres after the rubbish disposal charge comes into force by 2016. The centres should cater for all.”

Fung said incentives should be offered to support privately run treatment centres in order to help households or housing estates that were willing to separate food waste.

Initial consultation findings indicate businesses will probably face “weight-based” fees.

Wong said there was a principle to make polluters pay.

He urged people to change their lifestyles. “Many cities improve their waste infrastructure only after waste charging is introduced,” he said.

Wong said they would run a study next year on how best to collect and transport food waste.

Elvis Au Wai-kwong, assistant director of environmental protection, said businesses tended to separate their rubbish better. The Shek Kong plant would cater for households when it came on stream in 2021, he said.

World Green Organisation’s William Yu Yuen-ping suggested developing more district-based centres to minimise the need for long-distance rubbish transfer.

Examples of monthly Govt remuneration (for part time work) – ARE THEY WORTH IT ?

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