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Send our rubbish to Norway

Tuesday, 04 June, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

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Norwegians need truckloads

Send our rubbish to Norway

Could Oslo rescue Hong Kong from its waste mess at least as a short-term measure? One of the intriguing features of Oslo, Norway’s capital, is that it imports rubbish from all over Europe, including Ireland, parts of Britain and neighbouring Sweden. Oslo, along with other places in northern Europe, incinerates waste to provide heating and electricity. Northern Europe produces about 150 million tonnes of waste a year but has an incineration capacity of about 700 million tonnes. There is now a shortage of rubbish for fuelling incinerators in the region.

James Middleton, chairman of Clear the Air, has written to Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who chairs the Legislative Council’s environmental affairs panel, suggesting that Hong Kong either gives or sells our waste to Norway as a temporary measure while the city sorts out its future waste policies. This would take pressure off the landfills and provide more time to consider, or reconsider, the controversial Shek Kwu Chau incinerator project. The government received a setback recently when plans to expand the city’s three landfills were rejected by Legco. Also, the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator is in limbo at present, even though it is included in the government’s waste management blueprint. It was refused government funding last year and is awaiting the outcome of a judicial review. This legal process is likely to drag on for some time since the outcome of the review is likely to be appealed by the losing side.

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