Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

July, 2012:

Burning passion for Shek Kwu Chau incinerator – till camera begins to roll


Howard Winn
Jul 24, 2012

The previous government’s plans to build a super incinerator in the vicinity of the scenic island of Shek Kwu Chau, off Lantau, were put on hold by the Legislative Council some months ago. However, various forces still appear to be working away in the background to advance the cause.

We wrote some months ago about a heavily subsidised trip to Singapore for island residents and environmental groups. The point of the visit was to learn about Singapore’s approach to waste management, which, unsurprisingly, is heavily reliant on incineration. This was organised by a little-known group called the Hong Kong Islands District Association. Participants paid HK$1,000 for the trip, which would normally cost about HK$6,000. It was paid for out of two government funds set up for environmental projects.

Now we hear that a resident of south Lantau has accidentally discovered the association had held a meeting to discuss the incinerator. The meeting was poorly advertised – just an announcement on an A4 piece of paper on the notice board of the district council office. As a result of the lack of publicity, the meeting was thinly attended, by 30-odd insiders of rural committee members and families plus one environmentalist gatecrasher.

Interestingly, the session was chaired by Randy Yu, son-in-law of Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat. Yu is apparently destined to be a district councillor. He started by saying the government’s plan for an incinerator was excellent and that it was a pity the plan had been frozen. This was attributed to biased research conducted by expatriates that was then blindly accepted by locals. It should be noted that Yu’s father-in-law, Lau, opposed the other site suggested in one of the government’s studies – Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun.

The government is believed to have caved in to pressure from Lau not to put the facility in his fiefdom. The tone of the meeting was very much in support of building the incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau, until, that is, the environmentalist gatecrasher started videoing the proceedings. The tone then became remarkably neutral, we are told, with Yu repeatedly emphasising he had no preconceived ideas as to where the incinerator should be built. Lai See wonders what this all means.

Cancer fears threaten incinerator plan

Published on 22 July 2012

EXCLUSIVE by Rob Edwards Environment Editor

A SERIES of highly toxic emissions from Scotland’s newest waste incinerator in breach of safety limits are threatening to upset plans to build similar controversial plants across the country.

An energy-from-waste plant at Dargavel in Dumfries has had its operations restricted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) after it admitted releasing cancer-causing dioxins up to two-and-a-half times permitted levels into the air.

The company that runs the plant, Scotgen, is now facing difficulties obtaining a pollution permit for a second waste incinerator at Dovesdale Farm, near Stonehouse in South Lanarkshire. This proposal has prompted 24,000 objections from local residents and others concerned about the health risks.

Scotgen’s problems are also likely to hamper plans by other companies for another 14 incinerators across Scotland. Most of them have run into fierce opposition from local communities.

Scotgen’s Dumfries plant, commissioned in 2009 to “gasify” more than 20,000 tonnes of hazardous and municipal waste a year at high temperatures, has had a troubled history. Its pollution performance has been condemned as “very poor” by Sepa.

Before the plant was shut down in April 2011, it suffered some 200 breaches of emission limits, two of which were because of dioxins. According to Sepa, it also had 100 “short-term exceedances” and prompted 45 noise complaints.

Problems began again soon after the plant was restarted towards the end of March this year. On May 29, it emitted 0.25 nanograms of dioxins. The permitted limit is 0.1 nanograms.

Sepa ordered that the offending boiler be closed down while the breach was investigated. During trials in June there were a further two dioxin breaches. After further investigations, the plant was allowed to restart last week.

Dioxins are a group of highly dangerous and persistent pollutants produced by combustion. As well as triggering cancer, according to the World Health Organisation they can cause reproductive and developmental problems and damage the immune system.

Sepa told the Sunday Herald that it would not grant a pollution permit for Scotgen’s Dovesdale plant until it received “key information to demonstrate the viability of the technology” in Dumfries.

According to Sepa, Scotgen has also had financial difficulties. The company was sold just before its previous owners, Ascot Environmental, went into administration on May 18, 2012.

John Young, from the Action Group Against the Dovesdale Incinerator, urged Sepa to shut down Scotgen for good. “This company has a failed track record in protecting both the environment and public health,” he said.

Scotgen confirmed there had been dioxin breaches in Dumfries, but pointed out that Sepa had approved the restart of operations last week. “Scotgen is continuing to work closely with its regulator,” said the company’s director, Lloyd Brotherton.

Dirty air takes breath away

Date July 22, 2012 2 reading now

Deborah Gough

POLLUTION is giving otherwise healthy children asthma-like symptoms, potentially affecting their lung growth and function and casting doubt on whether national air quality standards are strong enough.

A national study of 2860 primary school children found nitrogen dioxide, contained in motor vehicle exhaust, was present in the lungs of two-thirds of the students of the 55 schools tested. In cases where NO2 was found, children experienced ”asthma-like” symptoms, including wheezing. Their lung volume was reduced and their airways inflamed.

Researchers concluded NO2 exposure was not producing typical asthma but a non-specific lung effect that did not improve with asthma medication.

The study also found airborne fine particles of soot had an impact on children’s lung function and airways.

The National Environment Protection Council commissioned the Australian Child Health and Air Pollution Study. Air pollution has a greater impact on children than adults, the report said. ”Although air pollution levels are relatively low in most regions of Australia, they may not be low enough to prevent adverse health effects,” the report warned.

The Asthma Foundation NSW chief executive, Michele Goldman, said Australia’s air monitoring was 10 years behind the rest of the world despite compelling evidence of harm.

“Studies have shown that children constantly exposed to cigarette smoke or traffic fumes are three times more likely to develop asthma,” she said.

with Sarah Whyte

Read more:

Kandi Technologies Bags Largest Single Electric Vehicle Order Ever

Tom Konrad CFA

Description: KD501The Kandi KD501 Mini-EV to be leased in Hangzhou. Photo by Marc Chang.

The city of Hangzhou just signed a strategic cooperation agreement with KandiTechnologies(NASD:KNDI) and nine other companies to supply 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) for the city’s “pilot” EV leasing program.Kandi is the only EV supplier to take part; other companies involved will supply the batteries (Air Lithium (Lyoyang) Co. Ltd.) and charging by the local utility. The utility will fund construction of a charging and battery swap station network as well as paying for the batteries.

The batteries will serve a dual use for grid stabilization, or Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology. The batteries will be financed by charges to electricity customers because of this dual use. So, in addition to this being the largest EV sale ever announced, the project is also effectively the largest scale trial of the use of EV batteries for V2G. V2G is a concept much talked about in academic circles, but so far if has only seen small scale pilot projects in the West. Part of the problem with implementing V2G is typically the split incentives between battery owners and the utility. Battery owners naturally worry about reduced performance of their very expensive battery packs if they are used for V2G. The Hangzhou project neatly avoids this conflict of interest because the utility owns the batteries, and the EVs are only available for lease.

Financial Impact for Kandi

The program will begin in August, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. We can expect Kandi to sell EVs at a rate of over 1000 per month during implementation. Kandi’s revenues for each vehicle will be around $6800 per EV. Kandi’s gross margins are about 25% on its existing off-road vehicle business, and observers of the company tell me Kandi would be unlikely to undertake a project if it earned substantially less than that. We can expect an increase in gross profit of about $1300 to $1700 per vehicle, or about $0.70 per share annual gross profit, most of which will flow through to earnings.

Kandi is already profitable, with trailing earnings of $0.20 per share (EPS), so we can expect total EPS for 2012 is likely to be around $0.40 per share, and EPS for 2013 is likely to be around $0.80 per share based just on this deal and zero growth in the company’s existing business. The existing off road vehicle business has been growing rapidly, and additional EV orders seem likely, so $0.40 and $0.80 EPS in 2012 and 2013 should be considered a lower bound on earnings, which will most likely be higher.

China’s Aggressive EV Goals

Kandi’s rapid earnings growth could continue if Kandi manages to grab a decent share of the 500,000 EVs by 2015 and 5,000,000 EVs by 2020 goals set by the central government.

China is currently behind in implementing these EV adoption goals, largely because of the high cost of EVs from Kandi rivals such as BYD (OTC:BYDDY), and lack of charging stations. The Hangzhou pilot project, with its rapid, utility-financed build-out of charging stations and inexpensive mini-EVs from Kandi seems designed to address both these problems.

Kandi’s mini-EVs may be just what the Chinese government ordered.

Disclosure: Long KNDI

This article was first published on the author’s blog, Green Stocks.

DISCLAIMER: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results. This article contains the current opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice. This article has been distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

Kandi Technologies Bags Largest Single Electric Vehicle Order Ever was posted on

Questionnaire about the Waste Management In Singapore Mission Study Trip Workshop

Download PDF : waste comments for islands district assoc (1)

Maine Voices: Likely closure of MERC should signal shift in how Maine handles waste

Cities and towns need to step up recycling, and state leaders must clamp down on waste importing.


With the Biddeford City Council’s impending decision to purchase and close the Maine Energy Recovery Co. incinerator (“Biddeford council votes to purchase MERC,” July 18), there is much cause for celebration. There’s also room for discussion about the winners and losers in the deal.

The clear winners are residents of Biddeford and surrounding communities, who can expect to breathe easier come next spring, when the incinerator is slated to cease operations.

Incinerators spew a wide array of dangerous pollutants into the air, including hazardous dioxins, for which there is no safe level of exposure, heavy metals and furans. Airborne pollutants from incineration settle to the ground, potentially contaminating soil and water, or combine with atmospheric moisture, leading to acid rain.

For Biddeford residents, after 25 years of living with odors, pollution and the accompanying health effects, this upcoming change is a welcome one.

Biddeford businesses will benefit when the city’s biggest polluter is gone and its biggest eyesore is eventually removed. (Although, as Councilor Michael Ready put it Tuesday night, “My biggest concern about the stack is what’s coming out of it.”)

Downtown Biddeford is ripe for redevelopment, and MERC’s closing could usher in a boom in new businesses.

Maine is also a winner — the closure of the state’s largest incinerator is not insignificant when it comes to public health and the environment. Make no mistake, the Biddeford City Council’s likely decision is a sound one that will bring positive change.

Not everyone is celebrating, however.

The losers in the deal — the residents of Westbrook, who are about to play host to a Casella Waste Systems-owned trash transfer station, and residents of Old Town, who bear the brunt of the state’s trash already at the Juniper Ridge landfill — are glad to see MERC go but are pushing for change at the statewide level.

The perennial question when it comes to trash, particularly in a case like this one, is “where will it all go?” The answer: Waste is not a zero-sum game. Biddeford’s gain doesn’t have to equal a loss for other communities in Maine.

The state of Maine must take a two-pronged approach when it comes to reducing trash.

First, the Department of Environmental Protection must focus on increasing diversion of waste generated here in Maine from landfills and incinerators.

Our recycling rate has hardly budged in more than a decade, and there are steps we can take to fix this.

Programs like SMART (Saving Money And Reducing Trash), which financially incentivize waste reduction, can help municipalities jump-start their recycling rate.

Large-scale composting can begin to tackle the organic waste — food scraps, yard waste and the like — that makes up a full third of the waste stream. The DEP can provide technical assistance to towns and businesses to help on these measures and others.

The second prong in the approach is to draw a line in the sand when it comes to out-of-state waste.

Maine has been importing about half a million tons of waste each year from other states. This is a considerable amount — we’re currently generating 1.7 million tons of waste each year in Maine, so the amount of out-of-state waste we import is approaching one-third.

Currently, most of this out-of-state waste goes straight to MERC and a handful of other incinerators, so the demand for this waste should be largely eliminated once MERC is closed.

Maine should not be a dumping ground for the rest of New England, and state leaders should not look to continue the trend of importing waste from our neighbors to the south.

MERC’s closing is an enormous victory for Biddeford and nearby communities. It is a tangible win for public health, for the environment and for the revitalization of Biddeford.

It should also signal a tipping point when it comes to Maine’s waste: Let’s reduce, reuse and recycle — and stop importing trash.

Tracie Konopinski of Portland is the Maine community organizer for Toxics Action Center. Ed Spencer of Old Town is a member of the Trash Tracking Network and Orono Community Forums

Environment: $1 million Government Boost for Recycling Projects


amount of rubbish going into landfills, under the latest round of the Waste Minimisation Fund.

“These projects will make a significant difference to our environment by encouraging individuals and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle rather than putting their waste straight into the rubbish,” Ms Adams says.

Funding recipients include the Glass Packaging Forum, which will introduce a public place recycling programme.

The Forum receives $200,000 to install 190 permanent recycling bins at garage forecourts, shopping malls, retail outlets and other public buildings around the country. The bins will be serviced by the private sector.

CID Resource Recycling receives $370,000 to create a facility in Auckland that will sort both treated and untreated waste wood and process it into material that can be used as bio fuel.

The Kaikoura Enhancement Trust will use $52,000 to design and build a glass-sorting facility, which will turn about 425 tonnes of glass into glass products each year.

RVP Resource Group will receive $67,000 to set up a project that collects food waste from businesses for composting, increase public awareness of the importance of composting and provide educational resources for schools.

“The grants announced today are examples of organisations working with their communities to develop ideas that will benefit the environment by reducing waste and recycling,” Ms Adams says.

For more information on how to apply for funding from the Waste Minimisation Fund go to:

This story originally appeared at: eGov monitor

when green is not green

Green Jobs vs the Environment

Forbes – ‎13 hours ago‎

Helping green industries and creating green jobs is not the same as helping the environment. This is abundantly clear in the example of U.S.

Cross-Border Environmental Protection between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province

download PDF : cross_border_env_protection

MEPs have accused a United Nations agency of “undermining” EU waste policy.

The attack comes in a letter signed by a group of deputies to the European commission and executive board of the ‘clean development mechanism’ (CDM).

The CDM is the UN agency in charge of regulating the international carbon market.

The MEPs, in the letter, say the agency is “falling down” in its job and demand that it stops issuing carbon credits to landfills and incinerators.

The letter is signed by a cross-party group of MEPs, including Andrea Zanoni, Kriton Arsenis, Sirpa Pietikainen, Carl Schlyter, Raül Romeva, Satu Hassi, Margrete Auken, Sabine Wils, Kartika Tamara Liotard and Martina Anderson.

The letter says, “The EU is currently financing, through the purchase of carbon credits, incinerators and landfills in developing countries that would be illegal in the EU.

“These waste disposal projects contradict and undermine Europe’s official priorities.”

These, it says, include waste reduction, reuse, recycling, limiting toxic emissions from incineration, diverting organic waste from landfills and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

It goes on, “If proposed in Europe, these projects would breach the waste framework directive, the landfill directive and the incineration directive.”

The MEPs say parliament is “fully committed” to the resource efficiency ‘roadmap’, which aims to ensure that all materials are efficiently used, recycled or composted and residual waste is brought as close to zero as possible.

The commission and member states, it says, “should immediately halt all investment in CDM-backed incinerators and landfills in order to maintain the integrity of their own efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

Comment came from Finnish EPP member Sirpa Pietikainen, one of the signatories to the letter, who said, “In the EU, we are trying to reduce waste disposal in landfills and incinerators to a minimum.

“Now the CDM is supporting landfills and incinerators which would be illegal if built in the EU – and we are paying for them.

“The EU buys carbon credits issued by the CDM to projects which claim to reduce climate emissions, but not all projects do.”

Italian ALDE member Andrea Zanoni, another signatory, said, “The CDM must stop issuing credits to counterproductive waste projects. Otherwise, parliament will be forced to cut off support.”

Mariel Vilella, climate change campaign director for the global alliance for incinerator alternatives (GAIA), said, “The CDM is supposed to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“But incinerators and landfills actually increase emissions. What’s worse, they are displacing an informal recycling economy that employs millions of people.”

GAIA’s recently published report, ‘EU’s double standards on waste and climate policy,’ says that the CDM projects include incinerators that “lack adequate pollution controls and maximise, rather than minimise, the burning of recyclables”.

It also claims that the CDM scheme also include landfills that “deliberately increase emissions of greenhouse gases in order to receive credit for capturing them”.