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Cathay Pacific, Dragonair struggle to grow cargo volumes amid China slowdown

CTA says: Which means the bridge to nowhere connecting HKG with HKAA’s 55% investment in Zhuhai airport management, will be another white elephant

PRD too expensive now so the big guys moved out and north.

Cathay Pacific Airways and its wholly owned unit Dragonair barely achieved growth in cargo volumes last month, underscoring concerns over a slowdown in exports from China.

Volumes grew just 1.5 per cent to 157,688 tonnes from the same month a year earlier, Cathay Pacific said on Thursday.

“The cargo traffic growth of 1.5 per cent is weak. This is a cause for concern. Chinese exports fell sharply in March. The cargo traffic of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair followed the Chinese export trend,” said Ajith Kom, a Singapore-based analyst with UOB Kay Hian Research.

In March, China’s exports fell 15 per cent year on year, according to official data. Cargo services accounted for 20.5 per cent of the combined revenue of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair in the first half of 2014, while passenger services made up 74.7 per cent, according to the company’s 2014 interim report.


The March figures provided a brighter picture on the passenger front. The two carriers boosted passenger numbers by a bigger than expected 11 per cent to 2.89 million from a year earlier.

Mark Sutch, Cathay Pacific general manager of cargo sales and marketing, said: “Air freight demand was generally robust throughout March, helped by the month-end and quarter-end production rush out of the key manufacturing cities in mainland China.”

In the first quarter, passenger traffic rose 8.6 per cent, just short of an 8.7 per cent growth forecast by Citi, while cargo and mail tonnage increased 12.3 per cent.

For the first two months of the year, passenger traffic grew 7.4 per cent and cargo tonnage soared 19.6 per cent. For the whole of last year, passenger numbers increased at a slower pace of 5.5 per cent, while mail and cargo tonnage rose 12 per cent.

“March is traditionally a shoulder season between the Chinese New Year and Easter peak periods, but this year saw passenger demand for the month rising above expectations. Demand was strong in all cabins, with high load factors to and from southwest Pacific, Europe and the UK,” said Patricia Hwang, Cathay Pacific general manager of revenue management.

JP Morgan, in a research report, cited Cathay Pacific management as saying the improvement in operations from last year has continued in the first quarter, adding that the company was positive about the Hong Kong-listed firm’s overall prospects for 2015.


Source URL (modified on Apr 16th 2015, 8:25pm):

Increased tourism benefits tygoons most and brings with it increased pollution levels

Clear the Air says:

increased tourism benefits tygoons most and brings with it increased pollution levels, residents’ increased  discomfort, stupid uncontrolled rentals and increased cost of living, shortage of daily necessities + profiteering + increased energy requirements adding to our already high pollution load.

Currently Hong Kong revealed it is asking PRC Govt to stem the flow of daily visitors from Shenzhen

This is expected to have little immediate effect and a decrease of 4.6m Shenzhen visitors after one year.

CTA says the Mainland Govt is at fault for failing to ensure the availability of genuine products in its shops and corrupt Customs officers allowing the products to enter PRC daily without duty or VAT payments –  They need a separate ‘Goods to Declare Red channel’ with appropriate search and duty payment delays to stem the flow of parallel trading mule ‘ants’.

The Individual Visit Scheme started at HKG’s request during the SARS epidemic in 2003, which caused a major tourism slump Leader Tung Kin Wah did not ask the Mainland that it should end after SARS disappeared

In 2002 HKG had 6.8m Mainland visitors

In 2003 HKG tourist total was 15.54m of which 8.5m were Mainlanders

In 2014 HKG had 60.84m tourists of which 47.25m were Mainlanders

By Comparison tourist arrivals here in 2014 : Ex Taiwan 2.03m, Ex USA 1.13m

Our current tiny infrastructure was not built to handle this continuing increase in visitor load whilst already being surrounded on 3 sides by highly polluting shipping and no Emissions Control Area in place, overbuilt high rises shoulder to shoulder creating urban canyons to trap airborne and roadside pollutants without any dispersing windflow, coal being used to generate power for CLP to sell 23% of its annual total generation basket back into PRD and old buses ending up shoulder to shoulder in congested areas instead of having electric hybrid shuttles on Nathan Rd, Causeway Bay, Central which should be designated ‘Clean Air Zones’!  Whatever happened to Ministerial Accountability ? well, the Buck is on the denial roundabout.

DoDo Govt Minister for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So predicted HKG visitors would eventually reach 100m within the decade

By comparison in the massive land mass area of the USA, they received 74.7m visitors in 2014

UK tourist in 2013 – 35 million

In summary:

Hong Kong landmass      426 square miles /1,104 km2                          2014 visitors        60.8m = 55,072 visitors per km2

USA  landmass                3.8 million square miles / 9,857,306 km²         2014 visitors        74.7m = 7.58 visitors per km2

UK landmass                   94,060 sq miles /243,610 km2                        2013 visitors        35m    = 144 visitors per km2

From 2003 SARS to 2014 Locust Xenophobia:


2002- 6.8m ex PRC visit HKG

2003- June SARS hits HKG- Tourism slump  leads to IVS implementation at HKG request-  Total visitors 15.54m / 8.5m  mainlanders

Individual visit scheme (IVS) starts for Beijing, Shanghai, Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhongshan

IVS extended in 21 Guangdong cities, &  9  cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, & Fujian July 2004

667,000 IVS arrivals

2007-  IVS extended to 49 mainland cities

Tourism Board CEO ex PMI nicotine pusher Anthony Lau Chun-hon starts work

2009- Shenzhen introduces multiple-entry permit scheme for permanent residents

IVS 11m mainlanders of whom > 1.4m  use multiple-entry permits (MEPs)

2014- Of 60.84m visitors, 47,25m are ex PRC

30m mainlanders IVS, 14.9m use MEPs- Each averages 9.1 visits per year

Partnernet: Total  in 2014

Comparison tourist arrivals here

Ex Taiwan 2.03m

Ex USA 1.13m


Hong Kong Zero Waste Zero Effort

Download (PDF, 758KB)

Taking the plunge

On Christmas Eve, the government wrapped up the second phase of a proposed Harbourfront Authority initiative which would oversee the development of Hong Kong’s 73-km shoreline.

Mary Ann Benitez examines what’s next for the Fragrant Harbour

By Mary Ann Benitez*

Just next to Victoria Harbour smack in the northern fringes of the financial district a Great European Carnival and the Observation Wheel compete for dollars from thrill-seeking Hongkongers.

The space is called the New Harbourfront in Central, a reclaimed chunk of the iconic harbour for which Hong Kong has been named.

The AIA-sponsored carnival runs until February 22 with the organiser hoping to attract a million visitors, while the big Wheel to date has not created the buzz that London Eye has generated for the UK.

But concern groups are saying such entertainment facilities are not really what they want from the 73-kilometer harbourfront.

On December 24, the Harbourfront Commission and the Development Bureau concluded its phase 2 consultation for the proposed Harbourfront Authority (HFA). The three-month public engagement exercise was launched on

September 25 to gauge public opinion on the proposed detailed framework for the HFA.

The HFA will adopt an ‘incremental land allocation and development strategy’, with the plan calling for the government to inject a dedicated fund to cover the capital costs of developing designated sites.

Harbourfront Commission chairman Nicholas Brooke said that the priority of the HFA when it is established should be given to sites that are ripe for development so that it can capitalise on its “creativity and flexibility”.

The HFA will directly develop and manage 12 sites totalling 34 hectares on newly reclaimed land over the next decade. These are the New Central harbourfront, Wanchai-North Point harbourfront, reclaimed land in Causeway Bay, a waterfront park in Quarry Bay, a promenade in Kwun Tong and a new public space abutting the Hung Hom ferry pier.

“The HFA may seek the Legislative Council’s approval to draw resources from the dedicated fund when a project is ready for implementation”, he added.

The Authority could encourage activities on the waterfront, which are not welcomed however, such as alfresco dining, cycling and street performances. It is envisaged that the Authority would function as a ‘one-stop shop’ to reflect public demand for interaction with the harbour. It will eventually take responsibility for all the sites lining Hong Kong’s picture postcard waterway.

The Chairman of the Harbourfront Commission’s Core Group for Public Engagement, Vincent Ng, said, “We propose that the HFA should have three major functions, which are governance and management, advisory and advocacy, and executive functions”.

The 20-member board and a team of civil servants will be seconded to it to form a “dedicated” government team to support its operation while “suitable talent” from the private sector can also be recruited to assist the work of the team.

The Harbourfront Commission should be disbanded upon the establishment of the HFA “to avoid confusion or the perception of multi-layering”, advocates Ng.

The HFA will assume responsibility for the current advisory and advocacy role of the Commission in relation to Victoria Harbourfront.

“Even though we have put forth a proposal for public consultation, it doesn’t mean that we have already got the perfect answer for all the questions arising from the harbourfront management”, Ng said.

A 150-metre People’s Liberation Army berth on the new Central waterfront will be excluded from the HKFA’s ambit even though the government has pledged that the site will be open to the public when it is not used by the military.

A judicial review has been launched by pressure group Designing Hong Kong on the berth, which was rezoned for military use last February.

The Chairman of think tank Land Watch and former lawmaker, Lee Wing-tat, has told Hong Kong media, “The PLA pier will become a focus of tension for the new Authority. Should it allow students to stage class boycotts there?”

Brooke maintains that the HKFA can create its own by-laws or regulatory framework “for management, maintenance and operation of its waterfront sites. It could allow alfresco dining”.

Two months into the consultation exercise, Brooke told The Standard in November that the response to the idea of an Authority has so far been positive.

“We’ve spoken to district councils, chambers, professions and interest groups. The feedback has been that we could be more ambitious. It reflects the views of the community. And there’s a degree of impatience from people, which I completely understand”, he said.

A spokeswoman for the Development Bureau told Macau Business that the government has conducted 19 briefings or forums for the public, Legislative Council, District Councils, professional bodies and business chambers with over 450 attendees.

There were 21 written submissions and 142 completed questionnaires as of December 23, a day before the close of the engagement exercise.

“We have engaged the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong to conduct an independent analysis of all the public views received during the Phase II Public Engagement Exercise”, the spokeswoman said.

All the written comments received will be uploaded to the dedicated website ( this month.

“The HKU is also expected to complete its report in the first quarter of 2015. HKU’s report will also be made publicly available upon its completion”, she said. “Taking into account the views received, the Harbourfront Commission and the government will consider the way forward after the completion of Phase II PE”.

Paul Zimmerman, District Councillor for Pokfulam and a member of the Harbourfront Commission, told Macau Business, “It’s time for government to start spending money on world class design and management of our waterfronts. And not just Victoria Harbour. Surely the residents of Aberdeen, Ap Lei Chau, Tseung Kwan O and Shatin have the same aspirations for their waterfronts”.

Zimmerman, who is also CEO of Designing HongKong, said the consultation digest and response form fail to address key concerns.

“These include a lack of oversight over the harbour as a whole, the lack of advisory powers over government departments, a lack of legitimacy in land allocation, bias towards commercial operations, and a loss of the public voice on the Board”, he said, maintaining that Designing Hong Kong has been calling since 2004 for an authority to create world class waterfronts.

“Now the shortcomings need to be resolved before the community and legislators support the proposal”, he said.

Zimmerman said the vesting of land should be the last not the first tool in enhancing the waterfront sites.

“To start, we need a strategic plan for Victoria Harbour and its 75km waterfront to justify the location of water-dependent land uses – especially the ones nobody wants: pumping stations, sewage plants, waste transfer stations, concrete batching plants, fish and wholesale markets, container and oil terminals, cargo working areas, passenger piers and landings, water sports centres, fuel and water supply stations, police, Customs, marine department and fire stations”, he said.

“Next, the Authority must develop waterfront plans for each district along Victoria Harbour, identifying land and water-based activities and facilities which the local communities want”.

He has also completed the 10-point questionnaire.

He told Macau Business that the Harbourfront Authority should have no commercial objectives, and that its remit is to implement and deliver harbourfronts agreed with the community.

“Secondly, HFA should be responsible for planning the entire harbourfront and associated marine uses”, he said.

Its functions should cover not only overseeing the development of the entire harbourfront and the management of allocated sites or facilities but also manage associated marine uses.

The first sites to be overseen by the Harbourfront Authority should be the “simple promenades to build up capacity” including the promenades of the Central Ferry Piers, Kwun Tong, Quarry Bay, Tsing Yi, Tsuen Wan and Yau Tong. Its planning function should not be limited to the allocated sites.

Zimmerman said the Authority should receive annual subvention for its operation and project funding for funding gaps associated with the development of the sites.

“HFA should be given the resources and mandate to prepare advisory harbourfront enhancement plans for each district in co-operation with the relevant district council, and in consultation with the community”, he said.

Environmental group Clear the Air believes the exercise is useless and that people are discouraged by a government that has no clue despite a public consultation in 2004.

“The government did not understand what it was told in 2004, that what people want are amenities to make (the harbourfront) a tourist attraction and a place for local people to enjoy the harbourfront”, the former chairman of Clear the Air, Christian Masset, told Macau Business.

“In 2004, we told the government what to do. And the government is still asking what should we do? It’s completely contradictory”, said Masset, a teacher and consultant.

“We then know what we want [but] it seems the government has a hidden objective of making more roads”, said Masset.

He said the consultation website using a picture of what a normal harbourfront should look like is “bizarre”.

“The government has no clue what to do or how to set up a beautiful harbourfront because the government has always treated the harbourfront as a road network and not as a place to socialise and to beautify”, he said.

He felt that the government wanted to “create a debate” instead of acting on what had been discussed a decade ago. He cites the new Central Harbourfront.

“If you look at the harbourfront today, it’s empty because it was cut from the centre of the city by the roads. Back in 2004, we told the government you are separating the harbourfront from the city. The harbourfront is not integrated but is severed by this network of roads.

“Therefore, you have a vast space which should have been occupied by bars and restaurants but there’s nothing and people say why do they have to go there? It’s a long walk, it’s difficult,” he said, adding the idea a decade ago was to put the road network underground.

Masset said the Big Wheel was not “a bad idea” as it is easily accessible being near the Star Ferry.

“The idea of the Big Wheel is good but it just occupies a tiny space compared to the vast empty space, which is difficult now to attract people. The original plan was flawed because the roads cut off the whole area from the city. You have to walk a long way. To make the distance acceptable, they really have to put out there some valuable features – a lot of restaurants, interesting places to make the walk worthwhile”, he said.

Even in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Avenue of the Stars is “a shame”, he maintains because “There’s nothing to be proud of, except the view. There’s no place to sit. There’s no bar, there’s a Starbucks. You have to go to an expensive hotel to eat and enjoy the view. You have to be rich to eat and enjoy the harbour or you have to spend on an expensive meal. If you cannot afford an expensive meal in a nice hotel, you’re not allowed to sit and enjoy the harbour. It’s very sad”.

He said his group had not submitted any written submissions for this latest engagement exercise.

“We’re tired of it. We did everything back in 2004. We don’t believe in this consultation exercise”, Masset said.

In 2004, the Court of Final Appeal ruled in favour of Winston Chu Ka-sun’s Society for the Protection of the Harbour, against government reclamation work for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, saying that any reclamation must satisfy the test of overriding public need and be supported by cogent and convincing materials.

It is hoped that reclamation work will have stopped.

*Macau Business Hong Kong contributor.
Assistant news editor of The Standard newspaper

RIP Prof Anthony Johnson Hedley, CTA Honourable Patron


Clear the Air sincerely regrets to announce the untimely departure of our Honourable Patron

Prof Anthony Johnson Hedley, BBS JP
1941 – 2014

Emeritus Professor (The University of Hong Kong)

FHKAM (Fellow Hong Kong Academy of Medicine) F

HKCCM (Foundation Fellow Hong Kong College of Community Medicine)

Dip Soc Med (University of Edinburgh)

MFPH (Faculty of Public Health RCP, UK)

FRCP (Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London)

MD (University of Aberdeen)
Born 1941
Departed for the Clear Air in the sky, December 19th 2014

Estimates of the amount of Hong Kong rubbish being recycled are plain rubbish

Overhaul of system is promised as officials admit estimates of the amount of waste the city recycles have been drastically overstated

Officials have admitted that estimates of the amount of Hong Kong waste being recycled – once put at over 50 per cent – have been drastically overstated.

They said yesterday that the figures were distorted by “external factors” beyond their control and the system for calculating them would be overhauled. The admission came as the Environmental Protection Department reported a slashed recycling rate of 39 per cent in 2012, down from 48 the previous year and a peak of 52 in 2010.

The department blamed fluctuations in the waste trade and irregularities in export declarations for the distortions. In an effort to improve its data collection, it will introduce extra measures, as recommended by a consultant commissioned to look into the problem. But the officials said they did not believe the distortion would affect policy-making or the achievement of targets set out in the waste-management blueprint released last year. World Green Organisation chief executive William Yu Yuen-ping said he was concerned about the “inflation of the recycling rate” and urged the department to set up an expert group to review the system.

Friends of the Earth said the public would be confused by the figures. According to the 2012 solid waste monitoring report released by the department yesterday, Hong Kong recycled just 2.16 million tonnes of waste, 860,000 tonnes less than 2011. About 60 per cent of the shortfall was due to a sharp drop in the trade in plastic waste.

Last year, a reported 320,000 tonnes of plastic waste was recycled, down from 840,000 tonnes in 2011 and 1.58 million tonnes in 2010. But the amount dumped in landfills largely remained steady at 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes during the same period. Since then, officials have used the disposal rate per person, rather than the recycling rate, as the key indicator to measure policy effectiveness.

In 2012, the former rate rose 3 per cent to 1.27kg. (CTA comment – what about the 50 million Mainlanders’ annual waste here – no doubt excluded?)

The department said the recycling rate had been calculated from waste export figures compiled by census and customs officers, and the booming trade in recent years might have inflated the figure. It also admitted that the formula could not accurately reflect local recycling efforts since it also included waste imported and then exported after processing.

“We believe the 2012 figure is closer to the reality of how the city fared in recycling after a slump in the trade,” said an official, speaking anonymously.

Officials refused to be drawn on whether the admission showed that the recycling rate, used by former environment chiefs to highlight the city’s progress in dealing with its waste problem, had little value.

“The public still have expectations for this figure and we will try to give the best estimate,” said an official, adding that the formula was widely adopted elsewhere in the world.

Greeners’ Action executive director Angus Ho Hon-wai said the government should set up a registration system for recyclers in order to get first-hand recycling data. Lau Yiu-shing, a local waste recycler, admitted some operators might have wrongly reported export figures to suit their needs. But the scope of doing so had shrunk as mainland customs stepped up checks in recent years.

Source URL (modified on Jan 29th 2014, 10:15am):

Chairman’s Focus: Waste management consultation

In Hong Kong, 43% of the city’s daily municipal solid waste (MSW) waste is food waste – ultra wet food waste (water content is 75% in mall waste and 90% in wet market food waste). The Government insists on burning this water-waste with an incinerator on a scenic island, but the feedstock does not have the required calorific value required for combustion. Previous tests at composting Hong Kong food waste failed miserably due to the low quality and water content, and the test samples were actually landfilled since they were neither saleable nor exportable.

If there could be a mandatory separation for food waste here, placed in a Green Bin (see below example on Santa Monica), then collected Free of Charge by Government contractors, delivered to Transfer stations and garburated into a puree, the food waste can be then poured into the sewage system network. The CEPT system at Stonecutters island alone (there are ten other smaller treatment plants also) can handle 2.45million m3 of sewage per day by 2016. For reference, the current daily load is under 1.3million m3, so 3,600m3 of ultra wet pureed food waste per day would be a negligible load increase. This idea came from a senior technical engineer working for a company that happens to be Government consultants and it is totally viable.

The removal of food waste contamination would leave dry MSW that could form a new recycling industry here – without this, you cannot sort MSW already mixed and contaminated by food waste. Our Government-provided recycling figures are inflated. They pad the figures using imported trash from Europe and America that was being transferred through HKG to China – this only came to light when China erected ‘Operation Green Fence’, leaving many incoming containers stuck here.

The current lack of waste pre-sort requirements leaves food waste to create methane (23 times more dangerous greenhouse gas then CO2) and hydrogen sulphide when buried in landfills. On top of that, trucks drip foul stinking water (again, because of the high water content in local food waste) onto the roads whilst delivering to landfills. Flies and rats abound. The above food waste option, aside from being a much cleaner option, will create sensible recycling industries here. Tuen Mun can become ‘Green Tuen Mun’ instead of the territory’s toilet.

Landfills: viable recyclables are currently being dumped in landfills since they are tainted with food waste and there is no viable local recycling industry. A major portion of the landfilling is construction waste. Whilst 18,000 tonnes of construction waste is hived off to CEDD daily for shipping to China the remaining 3,000 odd tonnes of unusable construction waste is landfilled.

In Belgium a joint venture between APP UK and Group Machiels is building a  plasma gasification plant at the Houtalen Hechteren landfill – this will reverse-mine the landfill back to its pristine state, the recovered metals will be sold, electricity will be generated from the plasma syngas hydrogen and sold to the local grid and the plasma’d soil will form Plasmarok, fused at 6,000 Degrees C into an inert saleable road aggregate. The Government was offered a FREE 150,000 tonnes per annum trial plasma plant and rejected it, as it went outside of their incineration blinkers. This could have been operational now at the Tseung Kwan O landfill.

Incineration requires increased oxygen, frequently the addition of low-grade coal or oil to obtain combustion of wet matter and burns at 850 degrees C. If the burn temperature drops due to wet feedstock dioxins can and do form. Dioxins also form mostly on startup and shutdown of the burner. There are numerous peer reviewed studies of cancers, orofacial child defects, and deaths in proximity to incinerators. These are facts. The Government consistently refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of this salient health matter. The proposed stack height at Shek Kwu Chau will affect the whole of Hong Kong with wind borne toxic pollutants and heavy metal emissions carried on PM1 and PM2.5 particulates that escapes bag house covers and other equipment. Meanwhile, 30% of what is burned by weight remains as toxic bottom ash and fly ash. This needs landfilling, hence the need to extend landfills instead of doing away with landfills. Government officials will start applying to Legco for funding to build mega islands in the sea for new ash lagoons, when Hong Kong is hit annually by tropical storms. Super typhoons like Haiyan are always ready to hit and destroy empty safety promises of protective structures and punish the city with a blanket of toxic ash.

With current judicial reviews and appeals, the mal-thought incinerator option would not appear until 2023, by which time the rest of the world will be using plasma gasifiers for years already. Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, countries that Hong Kong citizens don’t usually consider superior in terms of progress, are moving ahead with plasma projects; Solena Fuels Inc already signed with Pertamina Indonesia for an MSW feedstock plasma plant.

In a plasma gasification plant, plasma gasifiers operate with an initial fluidised bed at 1,200 – 1,500 degrees Centigrade that vaporises anything – construction waste, MSW, rock, metal – into its molecular gaseous state. The dirty syngas is then passed through multiple plasma arcs operating at the temperature of the sun, above 6,000 degrees Centigrade, which destroy any dioxins or other contaminants, leaving only pure hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide is captured and the hydrogen is used to drive turbines to produce electricity. The plant emissions from the hydrogen are steam. There is no ash to landfill.

Alternative processes can add a Fischer-Tropsch backend process that takes the syngas and creates carbon neutral bio jetfuel, bio naptha, bio diesel or bio marine fuel as in the Solena Fuels system. Such systems are used in large-scale plasma plants that are being built in numerous countries, with some in the UK close to completion. The BA / Solena Fuels plant with a capacity of 1550 MSW tonnes per day and produces bio jetfuel is underway in London. (BA has ordered 3 more plants, one more in UK and two in Spain.) Lufthansa / Solena plant is underway in east Germany near the Polish border. A total of 14 airlines have signed agreements with Solena for projects, including Qantas, SAS, Alitalia, Fedex, Alaskan, American, Canadian Air etc. Maersk is seeking planning permission for a bio marine fuel plant with Solena in New Jersey. The US plant in Gilroy, California will supply the US based airlines.

Westinghouse Alter NRG has operated MSW / RDF plasma plants in Japan since 2001. Their Utashinai plant closed recently due to the loss of feedstock contracts to operate the plant. The Government and recently an alliance of Govt friendly academics are misleading the public by implying that the Utashinai plant closed due to technical problems, when the real reason is the lack of MSW feedstock. We challenged the academics, CS Poon from HK Poly U and Irene Lo from HKUST, to produce the evidence of Utashinai failure or retract their statements at an open public meeting in Tuen Mun this afternoon. They rejected the invites and any ‘evidence’ they might have is of course unavailable, still lying in the EPD’s imagination. (Coincidentally, Elvis Au – the prime mover of the incinerator idea from EPD, CS Poon, Irene Lo, and other EPD engineers are all on the Environment Committee of the HK Institution of Engineers, from whence the Alliance of academics has sprung.)

Westinghouse torches will power the Teeside Airproducts plasma plant in UK. The 1,000 MSW tonnes per day plant will open within the next few months. A second plant is also being built by Airproducts next to the first and will supply the UK Government Cabinet office with an 84 million pounds savings on its future energy bills.

Building an incinerator will cost 20 billion, landfill extensions 10 billion, operational cost per year 300 million + landfill management costs, new ash lagoons in sea 15 billion – treatment costs of illnesses caused by the emissions ??$ billion

Plasma gasifier – cost ZERO – funded by the design build operate company – operation cost funded by operator – emissions hydrogen/steam

Coming back to the Green Bin collection of food waste. This has been done successfully in numerous cities in California, especially with Santa Monica, where incidentally the undersecretary of environment, Christine Loh, has a residence. There is no excuse as to why Hong Kong should not take up the idea. By removing the food waste problem and initiating proper local recycling businesses, we obviate the need for an incinerator and the need to extend landfills.

The Government Environment minister previously stated unwisely that they have no Plan B – it’s time for a plan ‘G’ (‘G’ for Green Bin).

James Middleton


8 Jan 2014

Food waste creates methane (23 times more dangerous greenhouse gas then CO2) and hydrogen sulphide when buried in landfills. The delivery trucks drip foul stinking water onto the roads whilst delivering to landfills. Flies and rats abound.

Missing SCMP story: Jim Middleton’s solution for treating Hong Kong’s wet food waste

This was the story that went out in some editions of the SCMP on 16 October 2013. But it didn’t make it online and some other editions due to some editorial mistake.

“We’ve come across a novel scheme for dealing with Hong Kong’s waste. A document prepared by Jim Middleton, Chairman of Clear The Air, says we can pour it down the drain. Not all of it – only the food waste, which accounts for 42.3 per cent of the total disposed of in landfills. Hong Kong’s wet food waste (WFW) has a high water content ranging from 90 per cent to 70 per cent compared with 30 per cent in Europe and around 50 per cent for Korea and Japan. Unsurprisingly, this makes it difficult to burn without adding additional feedstock.

It is this wet ‘putrescible’ matter that gives waste a bad name since it is the source of the bad smell that emanates from refuse trucks and land fills. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is planning two anaerobic digestion waste treatment plants which will treat a combined 500 tonnes per day compared with the 3,600 tonnes/day of food waste that is disposed of in landfills. These will generate about 7.5 megawatts of power and produce about 50 tonnes per day of low quality compost. It’s yet to be established if there is a market for this.

But instead of going through this process, Clear The Air suggests dealing with the food waste at source and make  every restaurant, wet market, business, caterer, hotel and household responsible for disposing of their own food waste as it is generated, by using waste disposal shredding (garburator) units with outfalls linked to the existing sewerage system. Given that between 70-90 per cent of the food waste is water, it could easily be handled by Hong Kong’s current sewage and drainage arrangements. This would halve the amount of waste going to landfills and give Hong Kong some breathing space to consider alternative approaches to dealing with the rest of the waste, instead of its proposed incineration proposal. The plan is for a large incinerator to be built on the scenic island of Shek Kwu Chau while tons of toxic ash are daily shipped to  ash lagoons at Tsang Tsui near Tuen Mun .”

Privacy Ordinance

Dear Clear the Air members,

Updates on Personal Information Collection

We are writing through our site to advise you regarding recent changes to the legal use of personal data  in light of the updated Personal Data Ordinance (Part VI A under the Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2012).

Clear the Air collects the personal information that you provide, such as your name, contact telephone numbers, email address, and mailing address, to send you information, updates, greetings, fundraising appeals, invitations, recruitment possibilities,  and other relevant information.

To ensure you remain well connected with us through our database, we will continue using your personal information for the above purposes. We will not share your personal information with other parties without your prior consent.

Please be advised that you may opt-out of receiving information from us  by contacting us at any time via email:

Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact us.

Yours sincerely,
Clear the Air NGO Charity

SCMP letters

Clear the Air says: we do not want any form of mass-burn  incinerator – period !

Hong Kong MSW is typically wet and full of waste food

It is a known fact that with wet MSW the mass-burn temperature has to increase or dioxins/furans will issue.

In addition bag houses etc are poor technology and the highly  toxic fly ash pollutants will become part of the clinker and subsequent cement product.

Compared to plasma gasification’s next to zero emissions, the emissions of MSW derived fuels in cement kilns and resultant products are something Hong Kong cannot handle.

‘In modern conventional MSW incinerators a temperature of 850 °C can be sustained from moderately dry MSW alone; if the combustion exit temperature falls below 850 °C then

supplementary fuel must be used. To elevate the combustor temperature above 850 °C will always require supplementary fuel, and this makes stand-alone incineration of MSW above

850 °C uneconomical.’and this report was funded by Green Island ……………………………..

SCMP Comment› Letters

Firm has cheaper waste option

Thursday, 14 February, 2013, 12:00am

Green Island Cement site in Tap Shek Kok. Photo: David Wong  I refer to Jake van der Kamp’s column (“Time to put an end to the squandering”, February 5) where he talks about government bureaucrats spending our budget surpluses on big infrastructure projects that are not worthwhile. I could not agree more.

I would add to the list of overpriced infrastructure projects the Shek Kwu Chau super-incinerator that the last government tried to push through, despite the public’s objections to the location and the technology it was to use. According to the media, at an estimated cost of HK$15 billion, it would have been one of the world’s most expensive incinerators.

Green Island Cement has over the last decade repeatedly proposed to the government its Eco-Co-Combustion System, a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly waste management solution for treating municipal solid waste. The waste would be used as a refuse-derived fuel at our existing cement plant. Because of the synergies, the Eco-Co-Combustion System boasts a number of benefits. More waste can be processed than the government’s incinerator, as it could treat around 4,800 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day, that is, about 50 per cent of Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste per day, as opposed to the government’s proposal of around 3,000 tonnes per day. It will create minimal disturbance to the community and the environment, as the system will be constructed at our existing site at Tap Shek Kok and no additional land has to be reclaimed nor set aside for a waste-treatment facility.

Net emission will also be negligible as, according to our pilot plant study, there is no discernible impact on the nearest residences. Furthermore, there will be no residue ash (requiring land filling) as it will be used as clinker in cement manufacturing. Most importantly, the system presents a significant upfront cost saving of more than HK$9 billion compared to the conventional incinerator proposed by the government. The Eco-Co-Combustion System represents a good example of how the private sector can participate in Hong Kong’s environmental development. Instead, notwithstanding the significant economic and environmental benefits of our proposal, the government has yet to grant us an opportunity to be part of its plans for a waste-management solution. We hope the administration will consider a public-private partnership model to solve Hong Kong’s waste problem, and not just strictly adhere to the conventional government-owned, government-funded, design-build-operate model.

Don Johnston, executive director, Green Island Cement (Holdings) Limited

SCMP Laisee 14 Feb 2013

Greens burn up over ‘dinosaur technology’

Howard Winn

The environmental group Clear The Air is maintaining the pressure on the government to abandon plans to build an incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau. The group’s chairman, James Middleton, has sent a letter to the Legislative Council’s environmental affairs panel urging it not to approve funding for what he terms “outdated dinosaur technology”.

Plans for a traditional mass-burn incinerator were shelved last year to allow the new administration to rethink its strategy for waste management.

Clear The Air’s letter makes the case for plasma gasification technology, which converts waste to syngas that can be used to generate electricity or converted into other fuels such as jet fuel. British Airways’ Green Skies Project is one of 10 such projects being commissioned to convert municipal solid waste into jet fuel.

“It is time for the Hong Kong government to realise that technology has advanced since the decision to use MBT [mass-burn technology] was taken in the absence of legislating mandatory recycling measures, bite the bullet handed to them by the previous non-performing Tsang administration and ENB minister and move on with the gasification technology; this will also make redundant the current medical waste/carcass incinerator at Stonecutters for alternative development as an additional benefit.”

The letter also highlights the dangers associated with incineration that have been noted in other countries.

“There is already enough clinical evidence of deaths and cancers caused to populations downwind of incinerators with more reports in the pipeline,” the letter says. The government has said privately that it will look at the various technologies available for disposing of Hong Kong’s waste.