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Beautiful island should be developed for recreational use, not for incinerator

South China Morning Post – Jan 9, 2012

I agree with Craig Colbran’s letter (“Incinerator is a bad way to burn money”, December 30).

The Environmental Protection Department does almost nothing for the taxpaying public. My name for it has been, for some years, the Environmental Polluting Department and I think the title fits.

I recently wrote to the department to express my opposition to the plan to build an incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau.

I first visited the island in 1968 to see the superintendent of the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers’ (Sarda), drug rehabilitation centre.

We agreed that what was most suitable was to develop the island for recreational use and for tourists, but that the Sarda centre would have to be relocated.

Building an incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau would be irresponsible. It would lead to the destruction of an asset of great natural beauty. I gather that the estimated cost of the project would be far more than the cost of building the same facility at the Tsang Tsui ash lagoons in Tuen Mun. I have walked in the area where these lagoons are located and feel that if Hong Kong must have this type of incinerator, then Tsang Tsui would be a far better location and, as I understand it from the limited information available, a lot cheaper.

I visited a modern incinerator on the outskirts of Tokyo, only a few kilometres from Tokyo Disneyland, and was most impressed by its layout and the cleanliness. Hong Kong should consider adopting a similar design, although we would have to adopt a better system of separation of rubbish.

The rigorous system in operation throughout Japan is something that the Hong Kong government should introduce. In this regard the Environmental Protection Department can take a leading role.

Several years ago, I noted the clean way in which rubbish was separated in Japan for collection. I felt it was the only country in the world with what I would call gift-wrapped garbage.

I believe that achieving something similar when it comes to waste separation in the SAR is more important than building a super-incinerator.

Shek Kwu Chau is a pearl in the chain of precious islands to the south of Lantau. It must be saved from senseless and wanton destruction.

Gordon Andreassend, Tai Kok Tsui

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