Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

April 17th, 2012:

HK losing out as expat locale due to pollution: ECA

Singapore is the most liveable city in the world for Asian expatriates.

Tue, Apr 17, 2012

SINGAPORE – Singapore is the most liveable city in the world for Asian expatriates, ranking well ahead of regional rival Hong Kong where the air quality is now among the worst in the world, human resources consultancy ECA International said on Tuesday.

“Air pollution remains a major issue (in Hong Kong),” Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director for Asia, said in a statement.

“It has the third worst score for this of any Asian city after Beijing and New Delhi, and is up among some of the worst locations in the world for air quality including Santiago, Mexico City and Cairo.”

ECA ranked Singapore as the top destination globally for Asian expatriates in 2012, unchanged from a year ago, with Sydney coming in at number two for the second year running.

Other Australian cities dominated the rankings, with Adelaide and Brisbane tied for third, Perth in sixth and Canberra in seventh.

Hong Kong ranked 11th, up from 14th in the previous survey, as Tokyo and Yokohama’s infrastructure have suffered from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit parts of Japan last year.

Quane, who is based in Hong Kong, told Reuters that while Singapore has overtaken the former British territory in terms of the cost of living, the higher expenses may not be borne by employers.

“Companies are less likely to provide location allowances to attract people to accept a posting in Singapore,” he said.

Green Island waste system is cheaper option to Shek Kwu Chau incinerator

SCMP – 17 April 2012

Edwin Lau notes (“Costly incinerator will be a waste of money”, April 2) that the government has opted for a very expensive solution to Hong Kong’s waste management problem by choosing to build an incinerator on reclaimed land at Shek Kwu Chau. I could not agree more.

According to media reports, the government is seeking nearly HK$15 billion to fund the construction of this incinerator.

For the past decade, Green Island Cement has proposed using the Eco-Co-Combustion System, a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly waste management solution for the treatment of rubbish. The system would treat municipal solid waste and use it as fuel at our cement plant. Due to synergies with our plant, this system would only cost HK$4 billion upfront, or 27 per cent of the government’s spending for its proposed plant.

Extensive studies have demonstrated that emissions would be significantly less than the limits set by the government. Furthermore, with municipal solid waste being used to replace at least 40 per cent of coal used in the cement plant, there would be a net improvement in total emissions.

Any disturbance to the environment and community would also be minimised as we could use our existing cement plant site and no additional land or premises would be required. And, unlike the government’s proposal, which would generate residue ash to be dumped in our landfills, our system would use the ash as clinker to manufacture cement.

Despite the obvious economic and environmental benefits of our proposal, the government has refused to give Green Island Cement a chance to help with Hong Kong’s waste management problem. We hope that the government will reconsider the cost-effectiveness as well as environmental and community friendliness of our system.

Don Johnston, executive director, Green Island Cement