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June, 2013:

Incinerator site folly is sadly symptomatic

SCMP Comments dynamco Jun 30th 2013 10:48am

little doubt Hong Kong needs a waste incinerator
how wrong can you be!

In fact there is zero doubt living downwind of incinerator PM1 /PM2.5 kills children + adults + causes birth defects +cancers. Read the reports.
Options are available:
Export MSW to Europe where there is a shortage + countries like Norway, Sweden, Germany and Netherlands need it since they have incineration overcapacity + strict recycling laws in place.
Our landfills could be recovered following the Belgium example.

Our MSW could be feedstock to be converted to bio jetfuel, bio marine fuel or bio naptha using the Fischer Tropsch process after gasification with No ASH residues.
Alternatively gasification technology could be used to generate electricity with No Ash residues + the generation sold to PRD.
Incineration (thermal conversion) of MSW in the presence of oxygen leaves 30% by weight as ash of which 7% is toxic fly ash – ash requires landfilling + treatment. Gasification in absence of oxygen renders MSW into molecular gaseous plasma (4th state of matter) components at the temperature of the sun; the residues are lava like rock that can be used as road aggregate since the ash is fused as vitreous lava + there are no residues to landfill. HKG currently imports all its construction aggregate with associated pollution.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Letters to the Editor, June 30, 2013

Letters to the Editor, June 30, 2013

Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 12:00am


Incinerator site folly is sadly symptomatic

There is little doubt Hong Kong needs a waste incinerator, but huge advances could still be made in recycling.

For example, how about a government-led initiative to buy back plastic bottles, at a similar price to that paid for aluminium cans, thereby incentivising Hong Kong’s amateur army of aluminium recyclers to also collect plastic? And if Swire Properties can put glass collection points on all their estates, why can’t the government?

Sadly, Hong Kong lags far behind our Asian neighbours Taiwan, South Korea and Japan when it comes to household waste separation and recycling.

Given the need for a super-incinerator, it is the choice of location that is totally bewildering. Siting it on a remote island makes no sense at all; the experts all agree on this point.

It will take longer and cost more to build and to run than at alternative locations. Just the infrastructure required is stupefying: the building of a mini-town to house site workers.

Experts agree the Tsang Tsui ash lagoons in Tuen Mun would make a far better location. Alternatively, adapting an existing landfill site would also be far more efficient.

The Environmental Protection Department’s excuse for the choice of site, “balanced spatial distribution” of facilities, is absolutely laughable, or would be if it wasn’t so tragic.

The saddest part of the whole farce is that the department’s preferred site, Shek Kwu Chau island, is a pristine location, a stone’s throw from Hong Kong’s most beautiful unspoilt natural coastline.

This natural heritage is a treasure that should be protected for future generations – not ruined forever with an industrial facility that would make so much more sense in just about any other location.

Bert Young, Chai Wan

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 30th 2013, 10:48am):

Incinerators double childhood cancer | Greenpeace UK
Incinerators double childhood cancer
no incineration

Between 1974 and 1987, twice as many children who lived within 5km of
incinerators in the UK died from cancer, compared to those who lived
further away, according to new research published in the International
Journal of Epidemiology.(1)

The study comes on top of others which have found significant increases
in cancers, of both adults and children, around incinerators(2) (3).
However, because incinerators are often sited in industrial or deprived
areas, scientists have been unable to say for sure that it is the toxins
from burning mixed waste that are causing these extra cancers. Other
industrial pollution or lifestyle factors, such as a poor diet, could be
to blame, they say.

But the latest study found that there was no increase in cancer around
“non-combustion” sites such as football grounds and biscuit makers. This
appears to rule out social factors such as diet. Cancers around hospital
incinerators were at similar levels to those around municipal waste
incinerators, indicating that incineration could be the common cause.
This led the author of the report, Professor George Knox of Birmingham
University, to conclude that while nearby sources of industrial
pollution might also contribute, the incinerators were “probably

The study was based on detailed examination of childhood deaths from
cancer around 72 municipal and 307 hospital waste incinerators. Most of
the incinerators studied have now been closed and those that remain are
subject to tighter controls. However, even the most modern incinerators
emit substances known to cause cancer as well as heavy metals and
ultra-fine dust particles which can have a range of other health
effects. Despite this the Government continues to insist on building new

(1) International Journal of Epidemiology, 2000; 29:391-397 (2) Elliot
P, Shaddick G, Kleinschmidt I et al Cancer incidence near municipal
solid waste incinerators in Great Britain, British Journal of Cancer
1996; 73:702-10 (3) Elliot p, Eaton N, Shaddick G, Carter R, Cancer
incidence near municipal solid waste incinerators in Great Britain. Part
2:histopathological and case-note review of primary liver cancer cases,
British Journal of Cancer 2000, 82(5), 1103-1106

State of Knowledge of the Impacts of Waste Incinerators on Human Health

Download PDF : Incinerationandhealth

CTA Letter to Legco

Download PDF : CTAlettLegcoFinancePanelPubWork

Enhanced Landfill Mining / sell our household and food waste instead of burying it


Dear Finance Panel on Public Works Subcommittee members

This reverse landfill mining could happen NOW on all our landfills and they CAN be reverse-mined using plasma gasification

Meanwhile we can SELL our daily MSW to Europe as a commodity rather than burying it since they have massive overcapacity there and need to import waste as a commodity to generate power and heat rather than using oil.

See the story at :

Kind regards,

James Middleton


Download PDF : FILE_88d8faee-d7e5-4f4a-88c7-e3fa4af1c12d(1)

Final treatment of MSW and C&I waste in Germany and neighbouring countries. How to cope with emerging over- capacities?

Download PDF : Berthoud(1)

Government scraps landfill expansion


Landfill controversy. File Photo

Tseung Kwan O residents end hunger strike over proposed landfill expansion plan. Photo: RTHK

The government has withdrawn a controversial funding application to expand the landfill in Tseung Kwan O, due to insufficient support.

The Secretary for the Environment, Wong Kam-sing, expressed disappointment while speaking at a Legislative Council public works subcommittee meeting. The committee is now discussing the government’s funding application to expand the other two landfills, located at Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling.

The Tseung Kwan O plan had faced strong opposition due to its close proximity to residents.

Yesterday, several pro-government groups made clear they would vote against it.

Widespread waste charges are essential

Letters to the Editor, June 26, 2013

Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 12:00am


Widespread waste charges are essential

Nowadays, it seems that all political parties oppose the landfill extension proposals, not just for Tseung Kwan O, but for the other districts.

The government seems stuck, partly through its own weakness, and it now faces strong opposition on environmental and other issues in society. However, discussions were more rational when former environment secretary Sarah Liao Sau-tung presented the 10-year Waste Reduction Framework Plan in 2005, where landfill extensions and incineration were included.

It received considerable acceptance from various stakeholders, as it was comprehensive, holistic approach to waste management that put the emphasis on policies that were likely to boost waste avoidance, coupled with the necessary end-of-pipe measures.

As a green group, Friends of the Earth (HK) understands the need for waste avoidance policies and waste treatment facilities to achieve holistic waste management.

But the government must act swiftly and do more in the area of waste avoidance instead of giving high-profile support for landfill extensions and incineration.

I visited Taipei City recently on a study trip focusing on waste management. There are many good practices that our government should learn from.

Taipei introduced legislation on waste charging by volume in 2000, and its government has subsidised waste recycling so that residential estates and commercial buildings can collect over 10 different types of recyclables. These subsidies are needed for recyclables with a low market value. The city authorities also employed workers to look after recycling facilities at housing estates every evening for three hours, to teach residents to dispose of various types of recyclables in collection bins.

To effectively tackle the big growth in waste in Hong Kong, the top priority should be waste charging for the whole society. Landfills are inevitable but in order to lengthen their lifespan and avoid future extensions, they should not accept waste that has not gone through certain treatment processes. If the waste is recyclable, it should be banned from landfills.

Only with these policies can we solve our critical waste problem.

Edwin Lau Che-feng, director-general affairs, Friends of the Earth (HK)

“The emissions will fully comply with the internationally most stringent, European Union emission standards for modern waste incinerators.”
I suggest Mr Blinkers Au and Legislators read these reports:

see what peer reviewed data from Spain states about living downwind of modern incinerators

Sell the MSW to Europe. It’s a commodity there. They cannot get enough for their outdated E2W plants.

No trucks needed to deliver waste

In his letter (“No denying this view of waste plan”, June 14), John Steventon stated that a long bridge would be built from South Lantau to the island of Shek Kwu Chau for thousands of refuse trucks to deliver waste to the proposed integrated waste management facility.

This is untrue. No such bridge or trucks are needed. The municipal solid waste will be compacted into enclosed containers at the existing refuse transfer stations and the containers will be transported to the facility by marine vessels in a clean and efficient manner.

At present, this waste is delivered from the refuse transfer stations on Hong Kong Island and in West Kowloon by specialised vessels to the landfill for disposal. The Environmental Protection Department has 20 years’ experience delivering containerised waste by sea efficiently without causing any littering problems or nuisance.

Mr Steventon was concerned about the smoke emissions from the waste management facility.

The emissions will fully comply with the internationally most stringent, European Union emission standards for modern waste incinerators.

Many such modern incinerators are being operated around the world. It will not cause any unacceptable environmental impacts.

We will set up an open and transparent monitoring system and provide the public with easy access to the emission monitoring data.

Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection


Wading through Hong Kong’s rubbish of a waste policy

Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 12:00am

CommentInsight & Opinion

SCMP Editorial

When a government has to consider bribing a district to continue accepting other districts’ waste you know the rot has well and truly set in to the city’s rubbish disposal system. This is one of the suggested “sweetening” measures to persuade district councils and lawmakers to go along with expansion of landfill rubbish dumps and help save the city from being overwhelmed with its own waste before a planned incinerator comes on line in 2023.

The government is struggling to secure enough votes for the expansions in the Legislative Council’s public works committee. As a result, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has taken over the chairmanship of a working group set up with Tuen Mun district council to look at a set of demands and proposals from the district in return for a 200-hectare landfill extension. She denies this is about making deals, but has added: “Some districts have borne more than others so, if they have demands about leisure, cultural and transport [improvements], we will consider them seriously.”

· We think districts that have to put up with rubbish generated by neighbouring areas that hold their noses and invoke the “nimby” (not in my backyard) principle about garbage disposal have every right to make deals and drive hard bargains. Unfortunately, however, the capacity of our three landfills will have to be extended beyond 2019 because of past inaction. Unveiling a blueprint for solving the city’s refuse problem last month, Wong rightly described the situation as grave in laying out a mix of incineration, waste disposal charges and improved recycling to ease the strain on landfills. There is now little room for more talk. Support from the public works committee will improve the government’s chances of winning approval for funds from Legco’s Finance Committee for landfill extensions. The need for them is regrettable, but a vote scheduled for tomorrow is a chance for lawmakers to point the way forward to a better long-term solution.

Source URL (retrieved on Jun 25th 2013, 6:12am):

Union lawmakers may tip balance on landfill plan

Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

Lawmakers from the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) may hold the key for environment officials seeking support for a Tseung Kwan O landfill extension plan, with time running out for them to secure enough backing in a pre-funding application vote.

Officials are targeting critical minorities on the public works subcommittee that could tip the balance, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The subcommittee will vote tomorrow on whether to recommend the plan to extend the landfill to the Finance Committee for final funding approval.

The landfill is located next to a large private housing estate and environment officials want to enlarge it by 13 hectares.

The body will also decide another extension plan for the Ta Kwu Ling landfill and a feasibility study for a landfill in Tuen Mun.

Lawmakers opposing the Tseung Kwan O plan outnumber those supporting it, with 11, mainly pan-Democrats, against it and seven, mostly independents, backing it.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), which has seven lawmakers on the subcommittee, has been vague over its leanings. But the source said the DAB could not make up its mind, and that its decision would also rely on the stance of minorities such as the FTU, which has three members on the subcommittee, as well as Dr Leung Ka-lau representing the medical sector.

The source said the DAB was seeking to avoid a “loss-loss situation” in which the pro-establishment party threw its weight behind an unpopular plan that could not be endorsed because of minorities’ objections.

But FTU legislator Kwok Wai-keung said he was not aware of their role. “It is the DAB, the largest party, that we are looking to,” he said. “We do not feel we are being treated as a kingmaker.”

The FTU has demanded the government set up a HK$5 billion fund for recycling in exchange for their support for the landfill.

Leung, who was said to rarely attend subcommittee meetings, was expected to be absent tomorrow. It is understood he tended to oppose the Tseung Kwan O plan.

Yau Yuk-lun, a Sai Kung district councillor affiliated with the DAB, urged his colleagues to vote in support of the plan for the city’s overall interest. But another DAB councillor, Chan Kwok-kai, wanted the government to offer more before he would back it.

Meanwhile, environment minister Wong Kam-sing yesterday sought to correct what he called misperceptions about the impact of the Tseung Kwan O landfill in an open letter to Tseung Kwan O residents.

It was posted on the Environment Bureau’s website after 13 people staged a hunger strike over the landfill extension plan.

Cheung Chi-tung, from a concern group of local residents, said he was unimpressed by the letter. “There is nothing new in it, and Wong still fails to address the fundamental problem – that the landfill is too close to our homes.”