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August 27th, 2013:

Hong Kong evidence crucial to first US e-waste conviction

Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

City handed over evidence about intercepted loads, leading to first success against recycler

Hong Kong played a key role in the United States’ first successful conviction in December of a recycling company for smuggling hazardous electronic waste, the environment watchdog says. Environmental Protection Department said it supplied evidence to the US authorities after the interception of seven containers loaded with hundreds of cathode ray tubes in Hong Kong in 2008, which helped to convict Executive Recycling and its executives.

Acting principal environmental protection officer Kelly Yung Kin-ki said the evidence included invoices, photos and cargo inspection reports.

The information was handed over last year after a request from the US.

In an unprecedented move, a department officer also testified before a Hong Kong judge in the presence of US officers, with the evidence broadcast live in the US court.

Colorado-based firm Executive Recycling was found to have falsely claimed the electronic waste from businesses and the government would be handled locally. Instead, it shipped the waste overseas, with some of it ending up on the mainland.

“Executive Recycling appeared as the exporter of record in over 300 exports from the United States between 2005 and 2008,” the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado said.

“Approximately 160 of these exported cargo containers contained more than 100,000 CRTs.”

The company and executives were convicted in December but sentences were handed down only last month.

The firm was fined US$4.5 million and its owner and chief executive, Brandon Richter, was jailed for 2-1/2 years.

In Hong Kong, six consignees of the waste were fined up to HK$54,000 by local courts in 2008.

A report by a research arm of the United Nations said in April that China was believed to be the world’s largest importer of e-waste.

In the Guangdong town of Guiyu – sometimes dubbed the world’s electronic waste dump – it was estimated in early 2000 that more than one million tonnes of such waste was smuggled in for dismantling by the most primitive means, causing major health and environmental problems.

Yung said that since the high-profile case, the number of intercepted illegal shipments from the US had slid from 62 in 2008 to three last year.

“We won’t speculate on the reasons behind the drastic fall but we believe that the stringent enforcement, as in this case, has conveyed to the others a clear deterrent message,” he said.

Yung did not reveal how the department got the information to intercept the shipments but admitted it had noted reports from a TV programme in the US and from a green group about the company’s malpractices.

Scotland’s dirtiest waste incinerator to be barred from operating

27 August 2013

The operating licence for Scotland’s dirtiest waste incinerator is to be revoked on 23 September, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has announced.

Scotgen’s ailing energy-from-waste plant in Dumfries, which has breached pollution limits hundreds of times and recently suffered a major fire, is now almost certain to close. The company recently told the Court of Session that it was planning to go into administration.

Sepa’s highly unusual move follows Scotgen’s failure to comply with an legal enforcement notice requiring 800 tonnes of partially burnt waste to be removed from the plant so that it didn’t stink and attract rats.

According to Sepa, the waste plant was guilty of “persistent non-compliance with the requirements of the permit.” It had also failed to maintain enough resources to pay for cleaning up the mess it had made, and had failed in its main aim of recovering energy efficiently.

Ian Conroy, Sepa’s technical support manager in the southwest, pointed out that the Scotgen plant had not been able to demonstrate that it could abide by the rules meant to protect the environment.

“The facility started operations more than four years ago, and in that time has never achieved a level of compliance which would give Sepa any degree of confidence that future operation would be any different,” he said.

“The facility has consistently failed to meet any reasonable expectation of environmental performance and the predicted level of energy recovery at approximately 3% is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory. Sepa has taken this serious and unusual action of revoking the permit following careful consideration and assessment of the regulatory options available.”

The revocation notice was issued on 23 August, but couldn’t be disclosed until Sepa was certain that it had been received by Scotgen. The company is entitled to appeal to Scottish ministers, which could delay closure.

This story was also run by the BBC.

Urgent action needed to combat Hong Kong’s killer air

dynamco Aug 24th 2013 11:15pm

the current ENB was handed a bucket of airborne shxt by Edward Yau and Bowtie & are trying to pick up the shambles they inherited
New laws on waste were promised in nice reports, producer responsibility laws by 2006, waste charging laws by 2007 but, no action talk only. Thankyou Edward Yau – hope you enjoyed your 59 overseas trips in 60 months’ employment.
Pollution kills. Check the Hedley index. Our major polluter is shipping. Yau did nothing about this.
This is the worst form of Misconduct in Public Office when they had a magic wand to do as they wished & backroom gophers who would change to the right tack at a whim.
They could have banned the import of bunker fuel with high sulphur content, they could have moved PRD to form a shipping Emissions Control Zone in our waters.
They did SFA,
Yau was awarded for his dereliction of office with a Gong & a mayoral office manager job at ten times the normal business rate.
Interesting watching Yau and the CE in New York recently – I wonder if they asked Mayor Bloomberg why his current waste disposal tender specifically excludes Mass Burn incineration which Yau promoted here, when he was not jet-setting first class overseas.


John Adams Aug 24th 2013

I agree completely with you, Sir.
Apart from sir ( “I’ll get the job done” = “I will do nothing to rock the boat” ) bowtie, edward yau is the single one person from the past administration who has the most to answer for in the afterlife, with 3,200 avoidable deaths per year hanging on his head.
As someone technically qualified in the environmental field (and especially air pollution) I can vouch for yau’s total ineptitude and lack of action, not to mention irresponsibility in public office . Unless ,as I begin to suspect, it was donald who actually told yau to do nothing during his time ( “I will NOT get the job done” ) .
BTW: Full marks to Mr Winn for consistently pushing this vital matter in his column. He is the only SCMP columnist who consistently brings up this matter on every possible occasion even at the risk of boring his readers. (The same goes for what Mr Winn writes today about ILAS)


dynamco Aug 25th 2013

I suppose it was hard for Bowtie to clamp down on the bus pollution when his brother was and still is running NWFB / Citybus (paid at $.9.5m per year) & Yau’s last act in office was renewing the bus franchises & an over generous Scheme of Control agreement
At least Rafael H stepped down from the board of KMB before running Bowtie’s campaign, but it seems he has missed his connection


John Adams Aug 25th 2013

Bowtie, Yau, Raffy. So who is the other member of the gang of four ?
Tang or Tsang?


Tomboy11 Aug 24th 2013

A couple I know had a baby less than two weeks ago. Three days ago that child was put in intensive care with bronchitis, not coincidentally when the recent batch of air pollution from the north was reaching its worst. He is still in the ICU. I am sick of our government telling us it is alright to expose our lungs to this toxic mess.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Urgent action needed to combat Hong Kong’s killer air

Urgent action needed to combat Hong Kong’s killer air

Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

The ghastly air pollution which has descended over Hong Kong this week is a reminder of what remains a pressing problem for the city.

Every year we enjoy a period when the prevailing wind switches from the northeast to the southwest, and if it is strong enough keeps the foul toxic air at bay. This year we have mercifully enjoyed a more extended period of clear skies. It started in late May rather than the normal early to mid-June and this has been accompanied by winds that have been sufficiently strong to keep the atmospheric pollution at bay. We have now reached the time of year when that will change. The clearer skies we have enjoyed have masked, at least to the naked eye, our continuing problem of unacceptably high levels of roadside pollution.

The government to its credit, after years of neglect by previous administrations, intends to introduce proposals to eliminate vehicles with old diesel engines and measure and control emissions from other vehicles. But these proposals have yet to be introduced into the Legislative Council.

Meanwhile, large numbers of people are dying unnecessarily as a result of the toxic conditions in which we live. According to the Hedley Environmental Index, there have been 1,875 avoidable deaths so far this year because of air pollution. The index shows that over the past five years there have been an average of 3,200 avoidable deaths a year as a result of Hong Kong’s filthy air. As we have remarked before, if we were told that bird flu would cause 3,200 deaths over the next 12 months there would be panic and the government would move a lot faster to implement solutions. This is an urgent problem.


Hong Kong should waste less and help save planet earth

Online comment

1/2 our daily household MSW is food waste (3,300 cubic meters) which is now co-mixed with viable recyclable dry waste – it could be collected separately, ground at transfer stations into a puree and emptied into the existing sewage system for treatment at Stonecutters plant which by 2016 can handle 1,700 cubic meters of waste water per MINUTE. The local food waste is 90% water content versus Europe’s average 30% water content, 50% Japan and 55% Korea.
The resultant dry MSW could create a far larger recycling industry and jobs than now exists.
Our landfills can be reverse-mined using plasma gasification plants adjoining the landfills – the resumed land could be used for public housing.
Construction waste can also be processed by plasma gasification creating an inert vitrified molten lava like slag that can be ground and used for road aggregate or building sand.
Someone tell the ENB that the date is 2013 not 1913.

South China Morning Post

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Hong Kong should waste less and help save planet earth

Hong Kong should waste less and help save planet earth

Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am

CommentInsight & Opinion


SCMP Editorial

There was a time when our government struggled to tackle budget deficits during financial crises. It imposed both massive public spending cuts and unpopular tax increases. Unpopular as these measures were, they were necessary to restore the city’s fiscal health and pave the way for sustainable development.

The same concept applies to our environment. When we take away more than the earth can sustain, we run into a so-called ecological deficit. Hong Kong, being such a wasteful city, not surprisingly has outstripped many other places on this front. According to conservation groups WWF and Global Footprint Network, the city’s deficit is the second worst in Asia, and ranked ninth among 150 countries.

That Hong Kong and Singapore are the worst in this part of the world is understandable. The study takes into account the demand and supply of resources such as crops, seafood and forest products in a place, along with its carbon emission. With millions of inhabitants but with limited land and natural resources, both places have no choice but to import and consume more than they produce. Deficits are inevitable.

However, that is no excuse for a wasteful lifestyle. According to a survey in the report, Hongkongers buy one to five clothing items a month, but they throw away on average six pieces a year. Together with other municipal waste, this contributes to the 9,100 tonnes of trash dumped into our near-saturated landfills every day.

Our wastefulness is not just limited to rubbish. Signboards and shops brightly lit overnight, freezing cold shopping malls, the list goes on. As green groups have warned, if everyone in the world lived like Hongkongers, we would need nearly three planet earths to satisfy our needs.

But there is only one earth. And unlike budget deficits, which can be tackled through income and spending adjustments, new sustainable resources are difficult to come by. That makes cutting down consumption all the more important in the crusade to reduce our ecological deficit.

Hong Kong’s advanced economy and limited resources mean it may be unable to turn from a debtor into a creditor. But just like digging into one’s bank savings, recklessly spending today is indeed creating an overdraft for tomorrow. As a responsible global citizen, we can do a lot more to help save the planet. A less wasteful lifestyle is a good way to begin.

Put people before cars in Hong Kong development, says designer

Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am

NewsHong Kong


Olga Wong

Hong Kong’s development has been driven by cars instead of people, and a change of mindset by the government is vital to improve the city’s quality of life.

So says Vincent Ng Wing-shun, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design and a member of the Harbourfront Commission.

“In Hong Kong, transport and planning fall under different bureaus. Planning officials do not have much room to manoeuvre. They plan according to roads and highways that are already laid down by the transport officials,” said Ng.

Ng cited a recent example: plans for the Central Kowloon Route – a 4.7-kilometre dual three-lane trunk road linking Yau Ma Tei and the planned Kai Tak development.

The plan, submitted to the Harbourfront Commission for endorsement in May, has the public walking below three-lane elevated highways to get to the Kai Tak waterfront from Kowloon Bay.

“And this is the improved version after taking into account the members’ views,” Ng added. “The spaghetti [of roadways] was put on the ground in the original plan – blocking the way to the waterfront.”

Ng asked: “Can’t we have more greenery and allow small dining facilities and other activities under the bridge?

“Leaving the infrastructure projects to transport and engineering departments will see only limited vibrancy and creativity,” he said.

“The pedestrian environment should be planned as early as other infrastructure.”

Asked how to improve the district for pedestrians, the development bureau said the area would have 25 connecting points with neighbouring districts, and two footbridges would be built to connect to private estates.

According to the Development Bureau, every development will be required to provide at least 30 per cent of green space, including on the ground and rooftops.

The 100 hectares of open space in Kai Tak, including the large Metro Park, would also be interconnected, the bureau said.

But while the timetable for the roads has been determined, there is no schedule for the construction of the parks.

3rd runway bad idea

(時事評論員 黎則奮)


· 適中字型

· 較大字型


凡事有利有弊,港式國企亦不例外。引入商業運作模式,按照經濟規律辦事,固然可以大大提高效率,但亦容易滋生既得利益階層。這些官僚機構公開宣稱的功能(manifest function),很多時都名不副實,實際功能(latent function)才始見真章。好大喜功是這些官僚機構領導層的通病,因為他們只有通過不斷擴大規模,形成壟斷格局,爭取更多公共資源,才可從中得益。




Apple Daily

Google Translation

The early 1980s, after the emergence of Hong Kong’s future, the British began to deploy retreat. Become a core policy of decolonization, including the privatization of the public sector, the introduction of commercial operation mode, self-contained independent management, is the trend, by the Hong Kong-style state-owned enterprises have emerged, AA, MTR, etc. are 箇中 exemplar.
Everything pros and cons, Hong Kong-style state-owned enterprises are no exception. Introduction of commercial mode of operation, in accordance with economic laws, of course, can greatly improve efficiency, but also easy to breed vested interests. These bureaucracies avowed functions (manifest function), has often a misnomer, the actual function (latent function) before the beginning of pinpointing. Grandiose bureaucratic leadership of these common problem, because they are only by expanding the scale, a monopolistic situation to attract more public resources, can benefit from it.
AA recently to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong International Airport , the proposed construction of a third runway is an excellent example.
On the surface, Hong Kong is the region’s most important aviation hub, the network throughout the world, air is still very leading edge of our industry, frequency and route other mainland cities are non-comparable, for commerce and trade, transport and logistics, finance, tourism as the main backbone of the economy of Hong Kong, can be described as decisive. AA threatened the capacity of the current two runways already saturated, to enhance competitiveness, it is necessary to build a third runway, increasing lift frequency, in order to avoid the loss of passenger and cargo volume, the neighborhood competitors replaced.
But the reality is it really?
Hong Kong International Airport at the beginning, has been designed hourly runway capacity of 75 movements, but now only up to 2015, to 68 movements, apparently did not take advantage of two runways proper capacity. 2010, Ms Cheng was hired foreign experts to assess, the conclusion is appropriate as long as the process improvement and increasing manpower, airport capacity can be increased to 72 real-time movements , but Civil Aviation’s Norman Lo, but in a safe, understaffed facilities and grounds, insist airport runway can only increase the annual capacity of two classes.
The so-called security issues, the initial reason for the Civil Aviation Department is congested airspace and subsequently been central departments to rectify the argument. In fact, 2004 has reached a consensus with the National Civil Aviation Air Traffic Control to allow airspace north of Hong Kong International Airport landing planes, but Mr Lo was overthrown agreement that the existing airport can only use the north runway for landing, south runway for takeoff. Visible frequency cannot be increased, all caused by people.
Civil Aviation Department and Youyi mountainous terrain near the airport, citing security concerns, which means that should increase the hourly lift frequency, to avoid accidents. But the terrain is an objective condition, after the construction of a third runway will not be more variable, how can they support the construction of a new runway could be a reasonable basis?
Manpower, the so-called shortage is caused by man. Hong Kong is only employ trained himself ATC talent, but needs nurturing, only to increase the volume and intensity of labor staff to cope with increasing frequency, which can easily lead to overwork the risk of accidental initiation reduced efficiency. Priority should be to inform the international recruitment of talent, but the Civil Aviation Department was legalistic, obviously not incapable real not do so.
Facilities, not the runway and the lack of capacity, but the apron inadequate local airport can not accommodate more aircraft parking, a direct impact on passengers and cargo load efficiency. Therefore, instead of building a third runway, it would be better to build a third passenger terminal, increasing downtime berth, so as to facilitate and enhance the efficiency of processing passengers and cargo carried.
Hong Kong, of course, need development, but grandiose messing around, not only costly, but also cause unnecessary damage to the environment, just adding to social disputes. Before the construction of a third runway should be fully utilized, by all means to increase the current capacity of the two runways; otherwise massive construction projects, will be in vain, a third runway is destined to become a white elephant project impractical.

Li Fen