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April, 2012:

Ruling calls on foundations to come clean

New regulation aims to restore public confidence in charitable bodies after scandals by demanding they declare all donation income and expenses
Zhuang Pinghui
Apr 25, 2012

The mainland plans to make charitable foundations more transparent and credible by forcing them to disclose their income, spending and use of donations, according to a draft regulation released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Released for public consultation until May 3, the ruling seeks to regulate the foundations’ acceptance and use of donations, their business and corporate activities and their disclosure of financial information.

The regulation was drafted amid plummeting public confidence in charity organisations on the mainland after a series of scandals involving the Red Cross Society of China last year, including one involving an expensive lunch paid for by the organisation in Shanghai, and another over a senior official of the Kunming branch using society funds for personal spending. Additionally, a woman known as Guo Meimei , who falsely claimed to be working for the organisation, posted pictures online showing off luxury cars and handbags, sparking a public outcry before she admitted to lying. But investigations did reveal that the Red Cross’ name had been used for commercial gain.

The number of charitable foundations on the mainland has grown by 20 per cent a year for the past six years. There were 2,500 last year, with total assets of more than 60 billion yuan (HK$73.6 billion). They received 33.7 billion yuan in donations last year and spent 25.6 billion yuan, according to the ministry.

It said the foundations were still at the initial stage of development and had many problems, such as substandard internal management, unsound self-discipline, low credibility and a lack of transparency.

“After generalising and studying the major problems, the regulation has been drafted to provide guidelines for the conduct of public interest charity organisations such as foundations and to promote standard operation and transparency,” the ministry said.

Ma Xin , a ministry official in charge of non-government organisations, said the regulation sought to ensure that the public interest was upheld in every link of the chain, with foundations stepping up internal controls and regulation and taking responsibility for public donations.

The draft regulation says foundations should not to use public donations to pay administrative expenses unless previously agreed with the donor, and that operating costs should not exceed 10 per cent of overall spending in any year.

Foundations would be required to regularly publicise details of income and spending after fund-raising for emergencies, including donated income, donated materials and all the costs related to public interest projects. Such details should be made public every three months and announced in full after the project was completed.

The Red Cross Society of China moved to improve its transparency and image by publishing information on donations and expenditure online in August, but that action prompted further questions about the system’s credibility.

The draft regulation would also forbid foundations from using their names or public interest projects for commercial purposes, promoting and selling company products or brands and providing credibility or quality guarantees for companies.

Encourage more recycling in offices

SCMP – 24 April 2012

The government has not shown sufficient support for the recycling industry and a policy rethink is needed.

The government-funded Eco Park in Tuen Mun has become a hub for recycling firms. However, even with equipment, rent and other subsidies, some companies are making a loss, while others have not met production targets. The current subsidy mechanism is not sustainable. Recyclable waste, including plastic, is mainly collected from recycling bins in public areas, such as MTR stations and car parks. But the system relies on people bringing material all the way from their homes or offices.

The government can help revitalise the recycling industry by collaborating with corporations on waste collection. Recycling bins could be placed in offices, with regular collections arranged. Tax incentives would ensure more companies participated. Firms that joined up would enhance their reputation, as they would be seen as embracing corporate social responsibility.

In Hong Kong, people work long hours in offices and generate a lot of paper, plastic and metal waste. Corporate events, such as banquets and parties, also leave large amounts of refuse. Having recyclable waste collections in these offices and in business districts would reduce the pressure on landfills and enable recycling firms to better utilise facilities.

The government has made advances in environmental protection with the plastic bag levy and idling engine ban. Now it should regard the revitalisation of Hong Kong’s recycling sector as a high priority.

In order to support this industry, our top officials must think outside the box. Subsidies are of little use unless the recycling industry is given the opportunity to grow. The government should also hire foreign experts in this field to get advice on how recycling firms can survive and then expand.

Andy Cheng Pak-fai, North Point

Recycling the key to waste policy


Apr 24, 2012

The outgoing government has bowed to political reality by abandoning its request for financing for a controversial waste incinerator at the first legislative hurdle – an environmental panel of lawmakers. Incoming chief executive Leung Chun-ying had already pre-empted the plan by vowing to review the role of incineration in a waste-disposal strategy. As a result, lawmakers across the political spectrum withheld support for an incinerator and landfill expansion in favour of leaving the issue to the next government.

That does not mean a major role for incineration in tackling Hong Kong’s mounting waste problem is off the agenda. There are three ways of dealing with waste – landfills, incineration and recycling, which remains at a rudimentary stage in this city. None can solve the problem without integration with the other two, although incineration, using the latest technology, alongside recycling may be the best way forward.

As lawmakers and waste experts have observed, putting off a decision for up to a year would not be a disaster. The landfills now used for burying our waste will not be filled until 2018. But given the lead times for building an incinerator and expanding landfills, the new government will have to bite the bullet sooner rather than later.

The outgoing government fast-tracked its incinerator plan after lawmakers refused to approve the expansion of the Tseung Kwan O landfill by five hectares into the adjacent Clearwater Bay Country Park. As a result, the government lurched from one confrontation with local opposition to another. But lack of progress cannot all be blamed on the not-in-my-backyard syndrome. Local opponents of a HK$15 billion plan to put an incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau off the south coast of Lantau Island found support from the green movement over environmental issues. And the incinerator did not form part of a viable integrated waste strategy. The ultimate environmental issue in this case is how one of the world’s most wasteful societies, in terms of municipal solid refuse per capita, is going to dispose of waste. For the Leung administration, developing a credible integrated strategy, with a recycling culture at the centre, must be a priority. This will call for political skill and persuasion in selling it to the community and lawmakers. Public consultation will not find consensus – only the need for strong leadership.

Recycling that begins with sorting of refuse at source is key to credibility. We have been used to washing our hands of our rubbish for too long. As a result we lag behind cities we should be trying to emulate – like Tokyo and Taipei – that have fewer constraints on space, but have convinced their communities that recycling coupled with incineration is the way forward. Incineration may not be an alternative in itself to landfill, but it is integral to a waste programme based on recycling.

27 arrested for work offences

April 24, 2012

Twenty-four illegal workers and their three employers were arrested in
a crackdown on work offences in the northern New Territories and
Causeway Bay yesterday.

Officers from the Immigration Department, Police and Labour Department
raided 16 workplaces in Sheung Shui, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun, including
depots for electronic waste, recycling and auto dismantling.

After checking 42 people’s identity documents, 22 illegal workers aged
16 to 44 were arrested. Two employers aged 28 and 31 were also

In Causeway Bay, two illegal workers and one employer were arrested.

‘Big spender’ Tsang’s hotel stays draw fire

HK Standard

Eddie Luk

Wednesday, April 25, 2012Description:

Outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has again come under attack, this time for being a “big spender” with public money.

Tsang was criticized for wasting taxpayers’ money by staying in hotel presidential suites during his recent official visits to New Zealand, Chile and Brazil.

This came after he was slated for taking trips on tycoons’ private jets and luxury yachts.

The Chief Executive’s Office said yesterday Tsang stayed at a presidential suite in the Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada in Brazil for one night at a cost of around US$6,900 (HK$53,820). He also stayed in the US$1,250-a- night Mayflower Suite at the Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel. But the office denied reports that he stayed in a HK$10,000-a-night presidential suite at a hotel in the Chilean capital Santiago.

The office said that since Tsang was invited by the New Zealand and Chilean governments to launch his official visits, the hotel fees were paid by the two governments.

The last time Tsang reportedly stayed in a presidential suite was during a trip to the United States in November. He is said to have stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC, costing taxpayers more than HK$40,000 a night.

Tsang stayed in the presidential suite at the Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada because of its satisfactory security and the fact that other suites were too small for Tsang to hold internal meetings and for his meetings with dignitaries, his office said.

But Tsang did not hold any meetings with local leaders and media representatives in the suite.

The office said Tsang stayed in the Mayflower Suite at the Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel because it was cheaper than the presidential suite.

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices generally asked for information on hotel rates for Tsang’s business trips, his office said. The decisions on hotel rooms are based on security and transportation and Tsang would not be consulted, it said.

During his tenure, Tsang made more than 50 overseas trips, costing more than HK$10 million, of which about HK$4 million was spent during his last year in office.

Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said there are no rules for officials on business trips and Tsang has exploited loopholes to benefit himself as much as he could.

Liberal Party chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee expressed disappointment that Tsang spent lavishly on hotel accommodation during his last trip, shortly after he was criticized for using tycoons’ private jets and luxury yachts for personal trips.

Leung Chau-ting, chairman of the Federation of Civil Service Unions, said Tsang’s lavish tastes have significantly hit the reputation of civil servants.

Contracts of franchised bus operators renewed


Lai Ying-kit
7:02pm, Apr 24, 2012

Hong Kong’s three franchised bus operators have had their contracts renewed for another 10 years, Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng said on Tuesday.

Cheng told reporters the Executive Council on Tuesday had approved the renewals by New World First Bus, Citybus and Long Win Bus Company after considering their commitment to improve service quality.

This included a switch to more eco-friendly buses, fare concessions, route rearrangement to increase efficiency, and installing features to help access for elderly and disabled people, Cheng said.

New World First Bus mainly covers Hong Kong Island; Long Win buses operate between the New Territories and North Lantau; and Citybus routes ply from urban areas and Tseung Kwan O to North Lantau.

The three companies’ current contracts would expire between May and July next year.

Cheng said their commitment to move to more eco-friendly vehicles was the most important factor for winning the new contracts. She said the three operators would together replace 700 old buses, or 70 per cent of their fleet, with newer models.

She said the fare concessions would come in the forms of section fare and interchange discounts and range from 30 cents to HK$24.9 per ride.

They were expected to benefit 8,000 passengers in Tung Chung, the Chek Lap Kok airport, Tseung Kwan O and Hong Kong Island East, Cheng said

Edward Yau to visit Europe

Clear the Air says: surely the product sellers should be coming here to promote their green wares,  not the HK taxpayer funding a jolly for Yau and his mates before his term expires two months hence ? We cannot wait to see who the “ 20 professionals and business representatives from 15 academic, quasi-government bodies and commercial organisations” are, and who paid for the trips. Meanwhile what has Yau done to implement mandatory recycling laws here?

April 24, 2012

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau today left on a European visit with a 20-strong mission to promote the market for green technological and innovative solutions in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. The group will stop in Sweden, Denmark, Scotland and England.
Mr Yau will arrive in Stockholm today, where he will meet State Secretary to Minister for the Environment Anders Flanking and attend the Stockholm+40 Conference. He will address two sessions at the event and then proceed to Denmark on April 25. He will visit recycling and incineration facilities in Copenhagen, and meet local business representatives.
He will go to Sweden on April 26, to meet with municipal officials, local companies, and visit Lund University.
He will return to Copenhagen on April 26 to pay a courtesy call on Chinese Ambassador Li Ruiju.
On April 27, Mr Yau will meet Scottish Minister for Environment & Climate Change Stewart Stevenson in Edinburgh, and visit the HydroThane UK and the North British Distillery Company. He will also visit Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
He will visit organisations involved in innovative product development in Cambridge on April 30, and attend a roundtable discussion.
Mr Yau will attend a breakfast meeting on May 1, and see the new London bus, which uses diesel-electric hybrid technology. He will then address London’s business community at a luncheon, before returning to Hong Kong

Environment chief visits Beijing

March 02, 2012

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau will speak at the launch of the construction of the Hong Kong branch line of the second west-east natural gas pipeline in Beijing, at the National Energy Administration’s invitation. The National Development & Reform Commission, National Energy Administration and China National Petroleum Corporation organised the ceremony, to be held at the China National Convention Centre this afternoon. National Energy Administration Administrator Liu Tienan and senior Guangdong and Shenzhen officials will also attend the ceremony. The Central Government earlier announced construction work on the second pipeline of the west-east gas transmission project will be accelerated, aiming to supply natural gas to Hong Kong in the second half of 2012. Mr Yau will return to Hong Kong on March 3.

SEN to lead green tech mission to Europe

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, today (April 24) led a green tech mission on a visit to Europe. The mission seeks to exchange experience on the development and promotion of green technologies, identify opportunities for co-operation on various green initiatives, and promote the market for green technological and innovative solutions in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.

The mission, consisting of 20 professionals and business representatives from 15 academic, quasi-government bodies and commercial organisations, will visit various cities in Sweden, Denmark, Scotland and England.

On his arrival in Stockholm, Sweden this morning, Mr Yau will first call on the State Secretary to Minister for the Environment, Mr Anders Flanking. Later, he will attend the Stockholm+40 Conference, which aims to bring the international community together to discuss sustainable development and its challenges.

Mr Yau will address two sessions at the conference and will then proceed to Copenhagen, Denmark in the evening.

On Wednesday (April 25), Mr Yau and the mission will visit a recycling station and an incineration plant to learn about the city’s waste-to-energy technology. To identify opportunities for co-operation in green business, the party will attend a luncheon with top executives from various green organisations co-hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London (HKETO London), Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Denmark-Hong Kong Trade Association.

During their stay in Copenhagen, the mission will attend a meeting with Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster to learn more about cleantech research, development and implementation.

Mr Yau will then meet with the Danish Shipowners’ Association to hear more about the Fair Winds Charter. Mr Yau will also address a reception for the Danish business sector entitled “Hong Kong: the Gateway to Green Pearl River Delta”, co-hosted by the HKETO London and Denmark-Hong Kong Trade Association.

On Thursday (April 26), Mr Yau will proceed to Malmo in Sweden where he will begin with a breakfast meeting with the Mayor of Malmo, Mr Ilmar Reepalu. Mr Yau will then join the mission for a meeting with Malmo companies.

In Lund he will call on the Mayor and President of the City Council, Ms Annika Annerby Jansson. He will also visit Lund University and listen to a presentation on two major research facilities that are seeking to achieve sustainable development. Afterwards, he will attend a luncheon hosted by the Mayor and Chairman of the City Executive Committee of Lund, Mr Mats Helmfrid.

Mr Yau will return to Copenhagen, Denmark in late afternoon to pay a courtesy call on the Chinese Ambassador to Denmark, Mr Li Ruiju, and the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Mr Frank Jensen. He will leave for Edinburgh, Scotland in the evening.

On Friday (April 27), Mr Yau will call on the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Scottish Government, Mr Stewart Stevenson. He will then join the mission on a visit to HydroThane UK and the North British Distillery Company Limited to learn how the link between the anaerobic digestion plant and the distillery creates a green energy source.

The group will also tour the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University and the Advanced Forming Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow to learn more about their research work.

In Cambridge, England on April 30, Mr Yau and the delegates will visit the Cambridge Consultants and Ricardo at Cambridge Science Park and AmeyCespa – leading organisations in innovative product development, clean automotive technology and waste management. They will also attend a working roundtable hosted by Deloitte, one of the founders of Cambridge Cleantech.

On May 1, the party will attend a breakfast meeting hosted by Chatham House, an independent international affairs think-tank and membership organisation, and visit Transport for London to take a look at the new London bus, which uses the latest green diesel-electric hybrid technology.

They will also take the opportunity to talk to the local business community about Hong Kong’s role as the gateway to the “green” Pearl River Delta during a luncheon hosted by HKETO London.

Mr Yau will leave London for Hong Kong in the evening.

Recycling hiccup

27 arrested for work offences

April 24, 2012

Twenty-four illegal workers and their three employers were arrested in a crackdown on work offences in the northern New Territories and Causeway Bay yesterday.

Officers from the Immigration Department, Police and Labour Department raided 16 workplaces in Sheung Shui, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun, including depots for electronic waste, recycling and auto dismantling. After checking 42 people’s identity documents, 22 illegal workers aged 16 to 44 were arrested. Two employers aged 28 and 31 were also arrested.

Grant of new franchises to three bus companies

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Chief Executive in Council (CE-in-Council) today (April 24) approved the granting of new ten-year franchises to New World First Bus Services Limited (NWFB), Long Win Bus Company Limited (LW) and Citybus Limited (Citybus) in respect of its franchise for the Airport and North Lantau bus network (Franchise 2).

The new franchise for NWFB will run from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2023, and that for LW and Citybus (Franchise 2) from May 1, 2013 to May 1, 2023. The main operating area for NWFB is Hong Kong Island. LW’s bus routes ply between the New Territories (except Tseung Kwan O) and North Lantau (including the Airport) while those for Citybus (Franchise 2) ply between urban areas/Tseung Kwan O and North Lantau (including the Airport).

A government spokesman said that according to the established practice and in keeping with the relevant provisions of the Public Bus Services Ordinance (Cap 230), incumbent operators who have proven themselves to be capable of providing proper and efficient public bus services, and are willing to further invest in their franchised bus operations, would generally be granted new franchises for a period of ten years.

He said that since the commencement of their current franchises in 2003, the three bus companies have provided satisfactory services to passengers in terms of safety, reliability and standard of service, and environmental protection.

They have also demonstrated a commitment to making considerable capital investment towards replacing about 70 per cent of their existing fleet with new buses from 2012 to 2016.

“In negotiating for the new franchises, the three bus companies, having taken into account the views expressed by members of the public in the public engagement process, have committed to provide more fare concessions, to enhance safety and service standards, implement environmental improvement measures, and accept new terms in respect of enhancement of regulation of their operations.

“They were therefore each granted a new franchise of ten years, commencing immediately upon the expiry of their current ones for a smooth continuation of services,” the spokesman said.

On fare concessions, NWFB, LW and Citybus (Franchise 2) are currently providing 116 bus-bus interchange (BBI) concession schemes, as well as section fares for 112 (or 88 per cent) of their 128 routes.

When the new franchises commence, a total of 60 new fare concession schemes will be offered. They include 27 new BBIs (comprising 11 inter-company ones) and new section fares for 27 routes. The new schemes will bring more convenience and fare savings for local passengers in the major service areas of the three bus companies, namely airport workers, residents of Tung Chung, Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O.

The spokesman added that a new franchise clause was introduced which will empower the Commissioner for Transport to require the bus companies to provide facilities or designs for the enhancement of the general service and safety standard of buses.

These include adopting barrier-free and elderly-friendly features on new buses. In addition, the bus companies have committed to allowing passengers to bring foldable bicycles on board buses, providing facilities to reduce potential fire hazards and to enhance passenger safety, as well as other positive measures.

On environmental protection, the bus companies will be required to buy the most environmentally friendly and technologically proven buses commercially available when acquiring new vehicles (with the ultimate objective of using zero emission buses). They will also be required to adopt commercially available technologies and products on their buses to reduce exhaust and noise emissions as far as practicable.

As for the provision of bus service information for passengers, the bus companies will be required to disseminate more service-related information to the travelling public on board buses as well as through the Internet and smart phone applications. The bus companies have also committed to install more Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panels at major bus termini for the display of route information and bus departure times, as well as LCD panels or other devices inside the bus compartments to provide more detailed route information.

The CE-in-Council has taken into account the advice of the Transport Advisory Committee (copy attached) when considering the proposed granting of new franchises to the three bus companies. The relevant Legislative Council Brief has also been uploaded onto the website of the Transport and Housing Bureau (

Source: HKSAR Government

Office Tel Email
Mr. LAI Yee Tak, Joseph, JP Comr for Transp 2829 5200

Commissioner for Transport

Dear Mr Lai,

please see the link to the attached banker’s blog with information regarding Citybus.

We would welcome your response to these interesting facts.

Yours sincerely,

James Middleton



March 10, 2012

Excess Rents Hong Kong Style: Citybus

As some of you know I am a bit of greenie and get pretty angried up about air pollution. HK’s air pollution is due to two things: regional air pollution, largely from Guangdong that Hong Kong can arguably do little about (the biodome idea was shot down) and roadside pollution principally caused by buses and trucks about which it could do a lot more. There is a great paper here from 2009 that outlines what HK could do about its air pollution, bus regulation is the best “bang for the buck” thing that HK could do with a 6.3 cost to benefit ratio. Paper here.

As buses are regulated utilities I thought I’d look into the financials of these businesses and the documents governing their concessions to see just what was causing them to be so slow to turn over their bus fleet – maybe fares are too low, or perhaps they face exceedingly high costs of some kind, leaving them limited extra cash to invest in newer, cleaner buses. Crazier things have happened though HK’s other utilities like Power Assets Holdings (formerly Hongkong Electric), CLP and Transport International Holdings (listed entity holding the Kowloon bus franchise) have pretty standard returns on equity that would not look out of place in most jurisdictions though Transport International seemed to be earning some fairly ridiculous returns from 98-03 and again in 04-05.

Well, as you can see here for the bus franchises owned by New World – Citybus in particular – that is most certainly not the case (numbers extracted from here). Citybus’ headline ROA numbers is way higher than their 9.7% mandated level and if you look into their depreciation accounting it is much higher.

You see, when you look at the concession agreement for Citybus (Transport Department link here) a few things jump out. Firstly, the depreciation of the buses is 15 years straight line to $1 – so the buses can be readily written down zero or close to it, which is funny because they are almost there – the bus fleet is about 12.5 years old now on average meaning there are a number of assets older than 15 years that are held at $1. Cute, though under ROA type regulation there is no free lunch: if you haven’t got any assets you aren’t entitled to any returns. That does not seem to be the case here – if you take their depreciation at face value Citybus is earning some major excess rents and the Transport Commissioner should explain why New World gets special treatment.

What is a much better representation of Citybus’ returns is when you ignore depreciation and look at cash capital expenditures net of proceeds from disposals. Net cash capex for these business is pretty close to zero – $4.5mm Hong Kong which is absurd when a new Euro V bus costs $3-4mm Hong Kong. So the cash return on book assets they making is close to 30-40% which is the sort of return you expect on a high risk mining venture, not a regulated utility in Hong Kong.

What is more, these disposals are a source of no doubt significant excess rents for New World. Here is how I would take advantage of the Transport Commissioner being asleep at the switch:

1) Get an ROA way above requirement due to aggressive depreciation accounting that is unassailable because its in the terms of your concession and thus protected by contract. Watch the Transport Commissioner do nothing. (we know this is happening from these accounts)

2) Sell older buses at artificially low book values as your regulated fares don’t take account of this in calculating your asset returns. Use proceeds to fund the bare basement capital expenditure you do. Net result: almost no cash capital expenditures.

3) When the concession comes up, buy back refurbished buses at prevailing market rates to ensure you have an asset base on which to earn fares. Claim that you are making a big investment when bidding for the concession.

4) At every available opportunity cry poor about oil prices.

Net-net: 20-30% cash returns for 10 years on government utility type risk.

What can I say? I’m clearly in the wrong game. The bigger question is why isn’t anyone doing anything about this, and why does Transport International not get to play at this game? Its numbers look pretty aggressive too (depreciation at ~900mm HKD, versus capex that looks lower) but Citybus is taking it to another level.

Tags: hong kong hk citybus new world air pollution

From: Franchise Renewal []
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 09:16
To: James Middleton
Subject: Re: Bus Franchise Requirements

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Thank you for your email offering your views on the requirements of the bus franchises. We have put your views in our record, and will consider them together with all other comments received.

Transport Department

“James Middleton” <>

01/10/2011 16:13

To <>
Subject Bus Franchise Requirements

Transport Department

1             The time for submissions needs to be extended to allow further studies and submissions and you have not provided copies of current Franchise documents for evaluation.
2             The document you provided permits the bus companies to continue using Euro 1  and Euro II through Euro V vehicles whereas existing Franchise documents already require that any replacement vehicles must be of Best Available Current Technology which is Euro V (soon to be Euro VI). Any new deal means the companies should comply with BACT rather than outdated polluting current buses.
3             Transport department should not be making unilateral decisions that would impinge on other departments’ responsibilities namely, Air Quality.
4             Roadside pollution in Hong Kong is already diabolical and rates next to the worst performing 3rd world countries in the emissions of lethal PM2.5. which comes from the combustion of fossil fuels. The Central roadside PM2.5 levels are nine times higher than Vancouver and double those of Singapore. Mongkok and Causeway Bay are worse.
5             There seems to be no incentive to allow the bus companies to bring in hybrid buses which would be best suited here given the topography and hills.
6             There should be a date set and made known to all that certain areas will be designated Low emissions Zones where only Euro V or later or hybrid / electric buses will be allowed to operate. Setting this into Law will make the bus companies comply accordingly.
7.            Transport Department personnel and their children have to breathe the same pollutants as the public and they should realise that health and environment come first and the profits of the bus business tycoons  last.

James Middleton

From: panel_t []
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2011 10:21
To: James Middleton
Subject: Re: please advise when this wil be discussed

Dear Mr Middleton,

Thank you for your email.

The Panel on Transport will further discuss “Franchises of New World First Bus Services Limited, Long Win Bus Company Limited and Citybus Limited (Franchise for the Airport and North Lantau bus network)” at its meeting on Monday, 7 November 2011, at 4:30 pm in Conference Room 1 of the Legislative Council Complex.  The Panel will receive views from the public on the requirements of the new franchises at the meeting.

Interested members of the public can give their views by providing written submissions, or/and attending the meeting to present their views to the Panel.  Those who wish to attend the meeting to present views are requested to complete the reply slip at:


Panel on Transport

GREEN: East meets waste

An expert tells Aneeta Sundararaj that with effective waste management, we will not only save the planet but also money

.Recycle rubbish and waste — should be a mantra for everyone

1 / 2

MOST people start becoming environmentally-friendly by sorting household waste into paper, glass and plastic. Then, they take this waste to a recycling centre and discard it in the hope that the waste will be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner. What if this process could become a sustainable business as well?

Ken Hickson of Sustain Ability Showcase Consultancy Asia Pte Ltd sees this as a distinct possibility.

“Sustainability is more than about helping the environment and committing to charitable causes. In a business sense, it involves corporate social responsibility, governance, ethics and transparency,” explains Hickson.

“Say a company wants to invest in a Clean Development Mechanism project. They come to know of a small company that has developed solar power lights. They can invest in this business and provide these lights in an off-grid area.

These new lights will replace kerosene lamps which can damage the environment.”

Continuing, he says “It’s a win-win situation.” The company investing in such a project will get carbon credits and the  affected area will become more environmentally friendly. The whole idea of carbon credits is to encourage investment in clean energy as an alternative or additional to what’s happening now.”


What underlies Hickson’s arguments is this: “There is a nexus between water, food and climate. It has been reported by the UN recently that water problems in many parts of the world are chronic. If we don’t crack down on waste, the situation will worsen as demand for food will rise,” says Hickson.

After a pause, he asks: “Do you know how much food is wasted?”

Then he frowns and answers: “An American throws away about 15 kilogrammes of food each month. In 2010 alone, 15 million kilogrammes of food ended up in landfills or incinerators across the US.”

Asia does not lag far behind as it is estimated that close to US$25 billion (RM77 billion) is spent on solid waste management per year.

What Hickson is interested in is how to use this waste. “It’s a paradigm shift. Rather than just getting rid of things, albeit in an environmentally-friendly manner, we need to see how we can use these same things as a resource.”


Taipei is one of the best examples of waste management in Asia. Hickson explains how citizens of Taipei had to “hand over their waste in special plastic bags to the municipal council”.

The council had special times and venues to collect such waste. As a result, domestic waste in Taipei has dropped by 60 per cent in 10 years. “It’s an example of effective collection, distribution and management of waste.”
Waste can be categorised in the following manner: the first is chemical waste. This is waste from chemical plants and is both a health and environmental hazard. Then we have electronic waste such as televisions and telephones.

Last is municipal waste such as food, paper and glass.

Reiterating his stance, he says: “Let’s not just dump our waste. Let’s use it.”

He describes how, in Australia, there’s a company that uses CO2 emissions from coal-fired power stations as fuel to grow algae. The oil from this algae is used as fuel and the algae itself is used as feed stock for farming. “CO2 is just going into the air. Here’s a good way to use it.”

CLEANER  events

Then, whipping out his calling card, he asks: “Do you know the paper for my calling card is made from by-products of sugarcane waste?”

Hickson goes on to cite a few more examples of companies around the world that re-use waste products.

First, there’s Cleanevent which focuses on events like the Olympics and Formula 1 Races. “It manages what goes into events.

So, when you reduce the amount of packaging that goes into events, you can reduce the waste that comes out.”

Alpahbio Fuels is a Singaporean company that develops programmes to collect and process wasted cooking oil to make biodiesel.

Then there’s Solena Jet Biofuel Project with British Airways where municipal waste destined for landfill sites will be processed and converted to biomass and organic products to be used to fuel jets.

Hickson’s message is clear: “With proper effort in managing our waste effectively, we will not only save the planet, we will also save money.”


WasteMET Asia 2012 is Asia’s International Waste Management & Environmental Technology Exhibition and Conference. Ken Hickson, Chairman and CEO of Sustain Ability Showcase  Consultancy Asia, will be a speaker at

WasteMET Asia. This event, which will be held from  July 1 to 4, will bring together market leaders and industry practitioners in Asia and the world. It will provide the opportunity for the waste management and recycling communities to network and keep abreast of latest developments from a business and technical perspective. For more information, log onto

Read more: GREEN: East meets waste – Live – New Straits Times

Pioneer biofuel flight hailed a success

QANTAS has hailed Australia’s first biofuel-powered flight a great success and says it will repeat the experiment on a Jetstar flight next week.

But the airline conceded that the future in cutting energy bills may lie with fuels other than the used cooking oil that powered yesterday’s pioneering effort.