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China produces about a third of plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans, says report

13 February, 2015

Li Jing

Plastic bottles, barrels, bags, toothbrushes and even syringes are piled high around rural villagers and migrant workers tasked with recycling it.

They sort, clean and break up the rubbish before putting the pieces into furnaces where they are melted and remoulded, eventually to be processed into small granules.

The scene is typical of many family-run plastic recycling mills clustered in rural areas of Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, to name a few, according to independent documentary director Wang Jiuliang, who has been filming the business for several years.

Yet the tale shows just one side of China’s huge plastic footprint. A study published this week in the journal Science said China was responsible for nearly 30 per cent of the plastic pollution clogging the world’s oceans.

The environmental and health impacts of China’s unregulated plastic recycling business were immense: the cleaning process pollutes waterways, melting and burning the scraps released toxic pollutants into the air, and leftover pieces unfit for recycling were dumped directly into riverbeds, Wang said.

His documentary, Plastic Kingdom, tells the story of how an 11-year-old girl almost became one such plastic recycler spending three years helping her parents – who wanted to make enough money from the business to send her to school, but failed.

According to the new study, led by Jenna Jambeck, an assistant professor of environment engineering at the University of Georgia, an estimated eight million tonnes of waste plastic enters the oceans each year from the world’s 192 countries with coastlines, based on 2010 data.

China’s heavily populated coastal cities contributed between 1.3 million and 3.5 million tonnes of the waste, the study found.

Chen Liwen, a researcher with the environmental group Nature University in Beijing, who has focused on the problem in her research, was not surprised by the findings.

“Plastic waste that has no value for recycling is either burned directly or dumped in waterways and eventually ends up in the sea. This is very common in China’s rural areas, where there is no waste management in place,” she said. Such waste includes thin plastic bags and plastic foam, used for food packaging.

China banned such bags in 2008, but enforcement is lax. The prohibition on plastic foam was lifted in 2013, sparking criticism from environmentalists, but even when the ban was in place, about 15 billion disposable plastic lunch boxes were produced every year, official statistics say.

Meanwhile, China was also the world’s largest importer of plastic waste, much of it from the United States, according to Wang, the filmmaker. Some plastic waste was even smuggled into China, as some areas of the business had become very profitable.

The study, published on Thursday, also found eight of the top 10 biggest contributors to the problem were in Asia, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

The US, the only wealthy industrialised nation in the top 20, ranked at No20. Coastal European Union nations combined would rank 18th. This is mostly because developed countries had systems to trap and collect plastic waste, Jambeck said.

The findings mark the most detailed assessment yet of the scale of plastic waste circulating in the oceans, imperiling wildlife and blighting once-pristine sites.

Jambeck projects that by 2025 the total accumulated plastic waste in the oceans will reach around 155 million tonnes. That’s based on population trends and continued waste management disposal problems, although there may be some early signs of change, she said. “We need to wake up and see our waste,” Jambeck said. “I think the problem in some ways has sort of snuck up around us.”

Researchers estimated more than nine million tonnes would end up in the oceans this year.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg and Associated Press

Shek Kwu Chau incinerator proposal reflects worry over government power abuse

29 January, 2015

Comment›Insight & Opinion

Tom Yam

Should a government department regulate itself? To take a specific example, should the Environmental Protection Department propose an infrastructure project that has an impact on the environment, evaluate the environmental effects of that project, then approve the project as environmentally sound?

This is essentially the question before the Court of Final Appeal in a case concerning the department’s proposal to build the world’s most expensive incinerator off the island of Shek Kwu Chau. Wearing three hats as advocate, assessor and approver, the department’s director, Anissa Wong Sean-yee, has taken the incinerator project through all three processes.

The department has championed the incinerator for 15 years, despite significant local opposition. Its assistant director Elvis Au applied for an environmental permit. Another of its officers, then assistant director Tse Chin-wan, with the help of consultants engaged by the department, managed the environmental impact assessment, resulting in the approval of its report by the department and the issuance of the statutory environmental permit.

The court is now considering whether the department’s director has the power to approve the impact assessment report, prepared and submitted on her behalf, and grant the permit to herself. If the court decides she has this power, the department can proceed with the project. If not, the environmental permit will be invalidated and another impact assessment study will have to be conducted.

The issue goes to the heart of whether it is in the public interest for a government agency to police itself. It raises concerns about the vested interests of bureaucrats versus the rightful interest of citizens in minimising the risks to their health and environment.

The proposed incinerator, opponents say, will use polluting technology, produce toxic ash, disrupt the marine habitat, despoil a pristine island and destroy rather than protect the environment. But how impartial can an environmental protection official be in assessing a project which he has proposed, in which he has invested years of his career?

The self-regulation issue is related to the larger question of how major infrastructure projects in Hong Kong are conceived, analysed, evaluated and approved. In many cases, it appears that insufficient due diligence was done by professionals independent of the government agency proposing the project. Consultants are often hired to produce “the right answer” rather than an objective assessment; those who rely on government contracts will please the client rather than jeopardise future business. Such self-regulation enables government departments to release minimal information on the rationale, impact, financial and operational details of a project.

The Development Bureau’s reclamation plans for the East Lantau Metropolis is an example. The justification for such a colossal development, such as population, housing and transport needs, has neither been established nor quantified. Yet the bureau
intends to request HK$226.9 m
illion to explore building artificial islands in the waters between Hong Kong and Lantau islands.

Tom Yam is a Hong Kong-based management consultant. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Why aren’t Hong Kong’s environmental officers protecting the environment?

03 February, 2015


The Finance Committee’s vote to approve the funding for the integrated waste management facility off Shek Kwu Chau will have a serious impact on one of Hong Kong’s lesser known and vulnerable mammals, the finless porpoise, jeopardising the future of this threatened species.

Christine Loh Kung-wai, the undersecretary for the environment, and Mr Elvis Au Wai-kwong, assistant director of the Environmental Protection Department, are both strong proponents for the construction of the mega incinerator. Conversely and somewhat puzzlingly, both are members of the steering committee for the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan; Loh holds a prominent position as vice-chairwoman, and Au attends as a representative of the Environmental Protection Department.

It is astonishing to find these two high-ranking civil servants holding opposing positions with fundamental conflicts of interest. On the one hand, they are responsible for the proposed destruction of the marine environment while, on the other, they serve as entrusted guardians and advisers for Hong Kong’s nature conservation and biodiversity.

The environmental impact assessment report for the incinerator clearly confirms from the survey maps of the west coast of Shek Kwu Chau (south of Lantau Island) that this is an extremely important habitat hotspot for the finless porpoise. It is therefore mystifying that officers can miss the key material facts in the data and propose to construct the incinerator at the exact same marine location, thus obliterating the primary habitat of the finless porpoise.

Why bother carrying out the lengthy process of the environmental impact assessment and public consultation, if this core factual evidence is then completely ignored?

In their privileged position as public servants and members of the steering committee for Hong Kong’s biodiversity plan, one would think they would show unquestionable, ethical and integral commitment to protect the finless porpoise by creating a marine park and not allowing a repeat of the currently unfolding tragedy happening to the habitat of the pink dolphins.

Responsible societies show unequivocal resolve, empathy and respect for their biodiversity, ensuring a green heritage for future generations, so why not Hong Kong? Or will the Hong Kong government continue to deceive us with meaningless conservation policies and which will continue to eradicate our precious irreplaceable biodiversity?

I would request Christine Loh and Elvis Au explain their fundamental conflicts of interest.

Paul Melsom, Lantau

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge: Will the benefits outweigh the costs?

3 Dec 2014

Can 50km of concrete, steel and tarmac bring greater integration within the Pearl River Delta region, revive Hong Kong’s flagging economy and spur the city on to greater financial heights? That’s the question most people have asked about the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which is scheduled for a grand opening in 2016. After all, advocates for the project have for many years now championed the structure as an economic saviour, a tourism booster and the most effective connection in the Pearl River Delta region.

Earlier this month, the government announced that it is seeking an additional $5billion in funding for an artificial island off eastern Lantau, which would form part of the bridge’s road network. That’s on top of the $83b that Hong Kong is already contributing to the $132.9b project. And, with this news, comes more speculation. Indeed, there’s now a greater need to reflect on whether the benefits of the bridge will ultimately outweigh the costs, especially as the money is coming from public coffers.

There’s also a need to look at whether Hong Kong as a city is set to get the best out of this colossal piece of infrastructure. It’s only fair to examine whether or not the newbridge will fail as a white elephant or herald the start of a beautiful relationship between the three cities that it links together.

Supporters of the project cite the economic benefits alongside the expected increase in tourists and the revitalisation of the city’s property market as positive reasons for the bridge’s existence. Anti-bridge proponents focus more on the potential environmental damage, saying that it’s simply a vanity project. While both sides rant on, though, it’s ultimately the rising cost of the whole project that has provoked fresh debate in the past few weeks. “There’s certainly no economic justification in building a bridge,” says Bob McKercher, professor of tourism management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “When you look at the numbers, it’s a complete white elephant. It will never pay for itself. And, right now, the traffic flow will only ever go one way – and that’s from Hong Kong to Zhuhai and Macau. There just isn’t enough of a population to have traffic flowing the other way. And the only real beneficiaries of the bridge will perhaps be Disney, the airport and Ngong Ping. I can’t see anybody else in Hong Kong benefitting from it.”

In response to claims that the bridge will boost Hong Kong’s tourism industry, McKercher explains: “People in Zhuhai are not going to come to Hong Kong because they can get everything they need from Macau. The studies that I’ve looked at indicate that there was a huge demand initially, but other studies have indicated that the bridge would never pay for itself. To me, this is just another unnecessary piece of infrastructure that has been justified by the god of tourism, by people who just don’t understand tourism.”

Critics have also pointed out the bridge’s contribution to air pollution and destruction of marine habitats, particularly in relation to the endangered pink dolphins living within the vicinity of the construction site. “The Environmental Impact Assessment only took into account the issue of piledriving for underwater noise reports,” says Gary Stokes, director of non-profit organisation Sea Shepherd Asia. “What they didn’t do is to consider the terrible everyday ongoing construction noise. Dolphins communicate and navigate through sound, so in human terms it’d be like being constantly blinded by a big, strong light. They wouldn’t be able to find their way around.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Many pro-bridgers have a brighter perspective. Stephen Townsend, director of urban design at architectural firm Gensler Asia, proposes a more holistic view when it comes to the bridge’s pros and cons beyond Hong Kong. “I think that real estate prices are going to skyrocket in Zhuhai because of the bridge, like in Shenzhen 20 years ago,” he says. “It brings services and spontaneous informal access directly from Hong Kong that we didn’t have before. Now I can have a house in Zhuhai at a third of the price and three times the space, and actually work in Hong Kong.”

Townsend continues: “I think the developers who own shopping centres in Hong Kong are going to be very happy once that bridge opens. And if you own property on Lantau Island, I think you’re also going to be happy that there’s now a marketplace that has direct access to the property market. I think the emphasis for growth in Hong Kong, considering the population will grow another two million in the next 15 years, will be around the Lantau, Tuen Mun and Sheung Wan areas. And a lot of that will depend on that connection to provide a balance of services, people and industry going back
and forth.”

“The bridge is beneficial in terms of trade, logistics and tourism by facilitating people and goods movements in the region,” says Allen Ha, chairman of the Lantau Development Alliance. “It will also be beneficial for our airport in terms of connectivity with the rest of the world. But, right now, if we just build the bridge, the tourists may still just go and stay at the traditional places [like Tsim Sha Tsui]. Our proposal then is to increase our receiving capacity in Lantau by building new hotels, which can help alleviate some of the tourist overflow in Hong Kong. Ultimately, we’re looking at a bigger area than Macau, Zhuhai and Hong Kong. We’re talking about the population in the whole Pearl River Delta, and allowing people to travel to a new place within an hour.” The Highways Department has also informed Time Out that ‘the journey time between Hong Kong International Airport and Zhuhai will be reduced from its current four hours or so to about 45 minutes’.

Despite all the conflicting viewpoints, the failure to integrate a rail link option as a form of public transportation is being viewed by both pro and anti-bridgers as a major oversight. “While [a rail link] would have probably raised the cost of the bridge considerably, it would have been fortuitous to have one, even if it just went to the immigration island between Zhuhai and Macau,” says Townsend. McKercher goes even further on the subject: “In light of concerns over air pollution, why the hell
are they building a bridge to put in more vehicular traffic? Why didn’t they also include a rail link to move people efficiently from border to border?”

Whether or not the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge brings any or all of its predicted benefits remains to be seen. And whether it affects the environment as much as some expect it to also hangs in the balance. But either way, the city is paying for it right now in hard cash. Like a car on the hard shoulder of the bridge, there’s no turning back. “It’s too late – we’re already building it,” says Townsend. “We can’t fight it. As a community, of course we can complain about it all we can. But I think we now need to figure out how we can make it work and how we can protect the areas of Hong Kong that we love from overspeculation and overexploitation.”

Crop yields cut by almost half due to India’s dirty air: study

04 November, 2014

The Guardian

Study finds that 90 per cent of falls in production of wheat and rice over 30 years could be attributed to black carbon and ground level ozone

Air pollution in India has become so severe that crop yields are being cut by almost half, scientists have found.

Researchers analysed yields for wheat and rice alongside pollution data, and concluded significant decreases in yield could be attributed to two air pollutants, black carbon and ground level ozone. The finding could also be relevant to farmers in China, as well as having implications for global food security as India is a major rice exporter.

Black carbon is mostly caused by rural cooking stoves, and ozone forms as a result of motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, and chemical solvents reacting in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight. Both are “short-lived climate pollutants” that exist locally for weeks to months, with ozone damaging the leaves on plants and black carbon reducing the amount of sunlight they receive.

The study looked at both the effects of climate change and the two pollutants on crop yields.

“While temperature has gone up in the last three decades, the levels of smog and pollution have changed much more dramatically,” said Jennifer Burney, an environmental scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and co-author of the paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “But this was the first time anyone looked at historical data to show these pollutants are having tremendous impacts on crops.”

Comparing crop yields in 2010 to what they would be expected to be if temperature, rainfall and pollution remained at 1980 levels, the researchers showed that yields for wheat were on average 36 per cent lower than they otherwise would have been, while rice production decreased by up to 20 per cent. In some higher population states, wheat yields were as much as 50 per cent lower.

Using modelling to account for the effects of temperature increase and precipitation changes in that time, they were able to show that 90 per cent of this loss is attributable to the impact of the two pollutants.

The results are specific to India’s seasonal patterns, the crops, and its pollution levels, but may extend to other places with similar problems. Chinese scientists warned in February that air pollution is slowing photosynthesis in plants, with effects “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter”.

Previous studies had used experimental data looking at the impact of ozone on plants to extrapolate potential losses, but this is the first study to use actual historical agricultural and emissions data to account for lower crop yields.

“Overall I think it’s a great paper,” said Stanford University agricultural ecologist David Lobell. “I think in both India and China there is growing recognition of the toll poor air quality has on agriculture. This study will certainly add to that.”

Lobell and Burney both point out that because black carbon and ozone are short-lived pollutants, they present a clear opportunity for tackling climate change. While long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides can persist in the atmosphere for decades, addressing sources of the short-lived pollutants will have more immediately perceptible effects.

Measures such as improved cooking stove technology for rural areas, or cleaner coal consumption and diesel filters on trucks in urban ones, could go a long way to improving the impact on agricultural yields.

“Our thought is that these are more politically tractable points of entry for making a meaningful change in the climate,” said Burney. “There’s a really local benefit in taking on some sort of costly action.”

Guangdong demonstrators take to streets for second day to protest waste incinerator plans

Sunday, 14 September, 2014

He Huifeng

Demonstrations against a controversial waste incinerator project continued in Huizhou in Guangdong yesterday ahead of today’s close of the public consultation over the plan.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the county’s government building and a public square, as anti-riot police stood monitoring the situation, according to several residents.

The protest followed a bigger rally on Saturday, when participants and witnesses estimated thousands took to the streets in Boluo county, demanding the authorities scrap the incinerator project, which would process 2,600 tonnes of rubbish a day.

Li Wei, a local resident, said a petition highlighting residents’ concerns was being circulated. “So far we have more than 20,000 names on more than 1,000 sheets of paper,” Li said.

“I believe more people will join the protest [today] and even students will turn out because it’s the last day of the government’s one-month public consultation over the project.

“If we don’t stand up to fight, it will be too late to save our community,” he added.

Municipal authorities said the location of the incinerator had not been decided.

They released a statement saying Saturday’s gathering was illegal and the work of people with ulterior motives. The local public security bureau said 24 people had been detained on suspicion of disturbing public order and causing trouble. Sixteen had received administrative punishment.

The local government would “further gather reasonable and lawful suggestions and opinions from the public” and would “pick the project site scientifically and in accordance of the law”.

In April, residents in three Guangdong cities – Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Maoming – took to the streets to protest against building a 3.5 billion yuan (HK$4.4 billion) paraxylene (PX) plant in Maoming.

In May, another mass rally over a proposed waste incinerator in the eastern city of Hangzhou left at least 10 demonstrators and 29 police officers injured.

At least five more people detained over Huizhou incinerator protest

Monday, 15 September, 2014

Huifeng He

Arrests follow weekend demonstrations involving thousands calling for project to be scrapped

At least five people were detained by police on Sunday in Huizhou in Guangdong for allegedly spreading false information over the internet to “incite” protest against a proposed trash incinerator project.

The arrests follow demonstrations during the weekend in which thousands took to the streets in Boluo county demanding the authorities scrap the project, which would process 2,600 tonnes of rubbish a day.

Since Saturday, the local public security bureau had taken away 32 people for investigation on suspicion of spreading rumours or disturbing public order and causing trouble, and 21 were still being detained.

Several local residents said they received electronic messages saying the municipal government had given approval to their taking to the streets peacefully on September 20 to voice concerns about the project. But the county’s authorities released a brief statement on Sunday night denying it had given such permission.

However, many local residents said they would again take to the street this coming Saturday, no matter the authorities approve. “We are not afraid of being detained. If we don’t stand up to fight, it will be too late to save our community,” Li Wei said

According to county authorities, the location of the incinerator had not been decided, and the party chief of the county was scheduled to meet today with representatives of the residents to hear their advice and appeals about the garbage incinerating plan.

Some internet users have called for demonstrations to spread to other cities in the Pearl River Delta. “People of Shenzhen, Dongguan and even Hong Kong should take to the street because incinerator would be so close to their water sources, Dongjiang River,” a person using the nickname Ai Yu Bu Ai said on weibo.

Department failing to stop pollution of pristine Hoi Ha Wan

Monday, 25 August, 2014

I refer to the report (“Tai Po beach clears court hurdle [1]”, August 13). Why does the government rush ahead with this project when water quality in existing beaches is deteriorating?

I refer specifically to Hoi Ha Wan. I have been swimming there regularly since 2006 and the water has always been crystal clear. Since 2014, its shallow waters have turned markedly murky and foamy.

Most of the farmland in Pak Sha O village, adjacent to a stream that feeds into Hoi Ha Wan, has been bought by developers.

The Lands Department is more agreeable to approving village house applications on cultivated farmland. Therefore, land at Pak Sha O is being farmed for vegetables. I suspect there is massive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which is now finding its way to Hoi Ha Wan via the stream. This may have caused a rapid deterioration of seawater quality.

A high standard of water quality in Hoi Ha Wan must be maintained for at least two reasons.

First, about 100,000 people use it and its beaches for recreation annually. The government should have the health of these people at heart.

Second, the biggest and prettiest coral colonies in Hong Kong are found there and the surrounding seas. This is one of Hong Kong’s irreplaceable treasures. Corals are extremely sensitive to chemicals. Adding more toxic chemicals and waste products to Hoi Ha Wan waters will impact on marine life negatively.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department declined to have the near-shore water quality checked, because it has subcontracted the work of monitoring Hoi Ha Wan water quality, until March 2015, to a third party.

The department should have located the monitoring station closer to shore and corals where it matters, but it was located one kilometre away.

The future looks dire for Hoi Ha Wan and Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park. Recent outline zoning plans show more village houses will be located close to streams and shoreline.

These locations are much sought after by developers for their scenic value. Without central sewage treatment, chemicals and grey water from new houses will reach Hoi Ha Wan. In time, it could be renamed Hoi Ha sewage pit.

Village house development is lucrative. This creates pressure on government departments to “facilitate” by bending their own rules. We must remain vigilant to protect our country and marine parks.

Tom Hou, Sai Kung

Port Hope council denies garbage incinerator applications

Todd McEwen

PORT HOPE — Well, bring on the Ontario Municipal Board.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, council denied the applications for a proposed Wesleyville garbage incinerator.

Entech-REM previously applied to change the zoning bylaw and municipality’s official plan in order to build an energy-from-waste facility on a 23-acre site in Wesleyville.

Now, the ball is in Entech-REM’s court.

Council has predicted the company will file an appeal on the decision with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), considering the municipality’s director of planning recommended council approved the applications.

The OMB examines individual cases from a planning perspective, considering whether an application meets provincial land policies and the principles of good planning.

Northumberland News’s calls to Entech-REM for comment were not returned by press deadline.

“I feel very hopeful that REM will not pursue the OMB,” said Councillor Mary Lou Ellis, chairman of the planning committee. “I would hope they know this will not be a good fit for our community and they will try and find a more suitable location.”

“I like to remain hopeful on that,” she said, referring to them not appealing the OMB. “I’m hoping when the (health) studies that the Ministry of Environment are working on come forward, we’ll have a more complete picture and I’m sure (Entech-REM) will too.”

“I’m just happy this part’s done,” she said. “They now clearly know how this municipality and this council stand on that issue.”

“I just want to thank all of you for making this decision tonight,” resident Sarah Sculthorpe told council. “As an individual, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a farmer, as a business owner and as a resident of this amazing municipality, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Many residents were singing a different tune at a public meeting the previous Thursday.

The meeting attracted about 300 people, about 40 of whom blasted not only the four representatives of Entech-REM who attended, but the municipality’s council and staff, accused of not having the best interest of the residents in mind.

“We’re now in the middle of a billion-dollar (radioactive waste) cleanup, when the leaders of Port Hope simply were not aware of the dangers,” resident Terry Hickey said, referring to the historic low-level radioactive waste left behind by Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. “This council, our current leadership, cannot be unaware of the multiple dangers this project brings to Port Hope. To allow REM to proceed, flies in the face of the phrase once bitten, twice shy, or in this case, stunned.”

Throughout the night, many residents challenged the director of planning’s latest report on the matter, which supported the applications.

Ron Warne and the planning staff’s first recommendation was to defer the applications until the provincial environment screening review has been completed, with the second advising council to approve the applications and place a holding provision on the lands, which suspends any development until the health reports and Ministry of Environment studies are completed.

“Staff are of the opinion that the proposed development represents an appropriate use of the subject lands,” Mr. Warne wrote in the report.

At this point, the future of Wesleyville is still up in the air.

“Go to the OMB, I’m not afraid,” resident Siobahn Kenny said at the public meeting. “The only people who should be afraid of the OMB are the four men (of Entech-REM) sitting at that table.”

Jersey’s toxic waste problem a warning

Thursday, 28 August, 2014

I refer to the letter by Chan Fung-chun (“Superficial platitudes on waste [1]”, August 26) berating Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection, on the limited landfill space in Hong Kong.

Having just returned from my home in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, for a summer holiday, I was perplexed and interested in the similar situation there regarding a recently constructed energy-from-waste incinerator. The disposal of the waste ash does not seem to have been properly addressed.

A report in the Jersey Evening Post [in 2012] said the island may require an additional reclamation site “if a solution is not found to deal with the island’s toxic ash”.

This ash came from burning waste in the incinerator. It was buried in lined pits that were close to capacity.

The paper said that “the move has sparked strong criticism from environmental campaign groups, who fear that the toxic substance could eventually leak into the sea”.

This is becoming a major problem for the tiny island of Jersey, and I have been following the for-and-against arguments for our own incinerator here in Hong Kong with the proposed siting in Shek Kwu Chau.

For Jersey, it may well be that there will be two islands soon, one for the inhabitants and one, getting increasingly large every year, for the toxic waste.

Peter Keeping, Causeway Bay

dynamco Aug 28th 2014


In September TTS started the tender process for the export of air pollution control residue (APCr), this is now well underway. Jersey will be exporting both IBA and APCr, thereby reducing the harmful elements stored in the ground. The Transport & Technical Services Minister, Deputy Kevin Lewis, said “When I became Minister I said I did not want to leave this material at La Collette as a legacy for future generations.” (HINT!)

“Plans to invest in increasing recycling/pursuing the option of exporting Guernsey’s waste have been approved”
HKG ENB officials were impressed with NIMBY incineration method in Sweden- which imports trash to burn to keep its incinerators operational, then it ships the toxic ash back to the trash origin.
In HKG’s case, we are repeatedly told our landfills are almost full. Yet we have no source separation of waste legislation, we have no Govt organised collection of voluntarily separated recyclables o/s housing estates, our alleged recycling figures are ‘cooked’ as revealed when Operation Green Fence stranded imported transit trash ‘recycling stats’ intended for China,here.
So our Govt will have to beg for the building of HKG’s own ‘Pulau Semakau’ island in the sea as the new ash lagoons. Unlike Singapore, HKG is in a typhoon area & no doubt the future super typhoons will wash everything into the sea.
Great thinking – NOT.