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Islanders Want To Trash Incinerator Plan

Vivienne Chow – Updated on May 09, 2008 – SCMP

Residents of Cheung Chau protested last night against a proposal to build a waste incinerator nearby, saying it would ruin the outlying island’s clean air and its tourism industry.

About 100 Cheung Chau residents met Environmental Protection Department officials in a two-hour meeting to express their discontent.

Cheung Chau Rural Committee chairman Yung Chi-ming said the proposed incinerator, which could be built on Shek Kwu Chau, would severely damage livelihoods on the island.

“The incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau is only 2,500 metres away from Cheung Chau. When southwesterly winds blow, which happens a lot in summer, the smoke and pollutants will be blown directly to Cheung Chau,” he said.

“We are always proud of our clean air. We were not affected during Sars and we don’t even have cars on the island. But building this incinerator is going to pollute our clean air, which is pretty much the selling point of Cheung Chau.” Mr Yung said construction of the incinerator would involve land reclamation. “Fishermen are worried that the construction will affect the water currents … it might also scare the fish away.”

Mr Yung said a petition had been launched this week and thousands of signatures were expected to be collected.

After last night’s meeting he said: “The meeting went smoothly. The officials said they would consider our opinion. There is still one year left before the decision. We will keep fighting. I believe we stand a chance.”

Resident Augustine Lam Wai-hung said he understood the need for waste disposal facilities but more information on wind directions and how the incinerator would operate was needed in order for locals to accept such a proposal.

“It’s like building a rubbish station outside your home. Of course people are against it,” Mr Lam said.

The department said no decision had been made to build the incinerator, and assessment of the proposed locations would take 18 to 24 months.

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