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The incinerator is back

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Elsie Leung caught up in Rusal’s byzantine politics

Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

The incinerator is back

So despite promises of a rethink, the Environmental Protection Department has included the Shek Wu Chau incinerator in its report, “Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022”, released yesterday. There is a lot to applaud in it but it will disappoint green groups who’d been hoping that the government would take another look at the proposed technology as well as reconsider its location. There is a lack of public confidence here over incineration.

While there are numerous reports of incinerators being closed around the world because of environmental and public health concerns, it is true that modern incinerators produce fewer emissions. What is not so clear is the impact on public health of these lower emissions.

Those present at the recent public forum, which was part of the International Conference on Solid Waste 2013 – Innovation in Technology and Management, were told that modern incinerators did not pose a threat to public health. But this was from a panel most of whom appeared to be closely aligned to the incinerator industry. It was quite striking that no one spoke from a public health perspective.

It may well be that modern incinerators are completely harmless, but given the history of the industry, it would be good to see some documentation from a credible source outside the incinerator industry on the impact on public health from countries that use modern incinerators.

As for the location, several of the incinerator experts said privately that it seemed bizarre to put the incinerator on an island instead of closer to the users of the electricity it is supposed to generate.


Lai See

Elsie Leung Oi-Sie


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