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September, 2014:

Ljubljana; first EU capital to adopt a Zero Waste strategy

The Slovenian capital and three other municipalities, Vrhnika, Borovnica and Log Dragomer join the European network of Zero Waste municipalities

September 8, 2014

The mayor of Ljubljana, Mr. Zoran Janković announced today the commitment of his city to move towards Zero Waste.

In a press conference which took place in the Town Hall of the Slovenian capital the mayor of Ljubljana together with the mayor of Vrhnika, Stojan Jakin, the president of Zero Waste Europe, Rossano Ercolini and the chair of the Scientific Committee of ZWE, Enzo Favoino, confirmed the adhesion of Ljubljana and three other municipalities to the European network of Zero Waste communities. With this move Ljubljana becomes the first capital in the EU to adopt the Zero Waste goal.

Currently, Ljubljana is already the EU capital with best performance regarding waste separation and waste avoidance; it separately collects 60 % of municipal waste and generates less than 150kg of residual waste –what is not recycled or composted- per person yearly. Until 2025 they commit to increase separate collection to 78 % and decrease the amount of residual waste to 60 kg per person per year. With this commitment for zero waste, Ljubljana officially rules out building any incinerator in order to have the flexibility to continue reducing the non-recyclable waste and push for prevention and recycling.

Mr Janković, Mayor of Ljubljana said “In August residents of Ljubljana separately collected over 60% of their waste. They adopted responsible waste management as their own project. I am therefore specially proud that today Ljubljana became the first European Zero Waste capital.”

The other Slovenian towns to join the network of Zero Waste municipalities are Vrhnika, Borovnica and Log Dragomer. Today they collect and recycle over 76 % of its waste and on the average each resident creates 80 kg of residuals per year. By 2020, those municipalities will increase separate collection to 80 % and decrease residuals to 70 kg per person per year. To read the case study of Vhrnika click here.

Erika Oblak, coordinator of Zero Waste Slovenia said “No reuse or recycling system will be successful without the participation of the residents. Today we celebrate with all who separately collect our waste and those who support sharing our resources with future generations”.

On September 9, a conference will take place in the National Council of Slovenia –low chamber of the national parliament- to present the best practices from Zero Waste Europe and discuss the plans for zero waste implementation in Slovenia.

Waste plans limited to incineration

Saturday, 30 August, 2014

Waste plans limited to incineration

I refer to the letter by Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection (“Government serious about tackling waste”, August 18) replying to my letter (“Sustainable disposal solution needed to tackle mounting waste”, July 26).

He used well-worn bureaucratese talking about “blueprints” and “initiatives” to manage Hong Kong’s waste “in the coming decade”.

He says nothing about what is being done now to encourage territory-wide waste separation and recycling. Where is the public education campaign on sorting waste at source? Why is only 0.02 per cent per year of Hong Kong’s rubbish collected in the so-called recycling bins? Why are most of the recyclables collected in the 26,000 bins still dumped in landfills? Why does Au have no accurate figures on the amount of waste recycled? Where is the cooperation among the Environmental Protection, Food and Environmental Hygiene and Housing departments to collect and sort domestic waste? To refute my “unsubstantiated assertions”, he fails to substantiate his own with statistics.

Instead, Au proclaims “strategies, targets and plans” for comprehensive waste management in the future. Similar “strategies, targets and plans”, declared by a previous environment secretary, have yet to be implemented.

Au trumpets the “Blueprint on sustainable use of resources 2013-2022”. It’s largely a rehash of a blueprint issued in 2005, “A policy framework for the management of municipal solid waste 2005-2014”, with strategies and targets for community-wide reuse, recovery and recycling of waste. Nine years later, we’re still waiting.

The Environment Bureau’s only major plan is the mega-incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau, from which toxic ash residue must be shipped across the busy harbour to be dumped in expanded landfills. The bureau has pro-incinerator roadshows and TV ads, instead of a media campaign to educate people on how to properly sort their refuse.

Since 2010, Au has championed this incinerator, paying lip service to waste separation and recycling. The “green community stations” are more window dressing.

After nearly a decade of failure to push anything other than incineration, how can we believe Au’s current “strategies, targets and plans” will lead to comprehensive waste management, especially if the incinerator gets funding? All our waste will then go into this plant, and there will be no incentive to reduce or recycle.

Throw refuse in black plastic bags, dump it in the incinerator and landfills; build more incinerators and expand landfills as needed. That is the bureau’s real waste-management plan, past, present and future.

Kim Chai, Lantau

Bandung govt urged to scrap waste incinerator technology plans

Arya Dipa, The Jakarta Post, Bandung | Archipelago | Mon, September 01 2014

The Bandung administratioon should review a tender awarded to a private-sector firm to develop a waste-based power plant (PLTSA), as the planned use of waste incineration technology to generate electricity is incommensurate with the character of waste in Bandung, says a conservationist.

Global Alliance on Incinerator Alternatives member Yuyun Ismawati said that like other cities in Indonesia, waste in Bandung was predominantly “wet.” This wetness” made incineration an inappropriate means of generating electricity — especially through boilers — since it would require extreme heat.

“This would mean burning water by using diesel fuel and coal, such that it’s not the waste that is being burned,” Yuyun said in Bandung on Friday.

The Bandung administration, meanwhile, has been resolute about plans to construct a PLTSA in Gedebage, which lies to the east of the city. The decision was based on a meeting between Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil and the Bandung municipal consultative board in July this year.

Bandung Environmental Management Agency head Eric M. Atthauriq said the government should begin preparing the tipping fee value — also known waste as waste management costs — or the power plant.

Currently, the tipping fee amounts to Rp 37,000 per ton, or around Rp 66 billion annually. Daily production is estimated production to be 700 tons.

“Apart from the tipping fee, in accordance with the mayor’s directives, we must be able to collaborate with the tender winner. A negotiation with the tender winner is necessary. Everything must be completed in two months, after which construction will commence,” Eric said.

Together with the Chinese investor, Hangzhou Boiler Co. Ltd. the Bandung administration awarded the waste management tender to PT Bandung Raya Indah Lestari (BRIL). The decision was announced on July 23, 2013 through the national Development Planning Board (Bappenas). The tender winner was announced during the tenure of former mayor Dada Rosada. Dada is currently imprisoned at the Sukamiskin penitentiary for bribing a judge in a Bandung city-funds assistance scam.

Bandung produces somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 tons of garbage each day. Currently, 1,200 tons of the waste is dumped at the Sarimukti landfill.

“The rest, which is strewn everywhere, would be sent to the Gedebage PLTSA,” said Eric, adding that the tipping fee at Sarimukti landfill stood at Rp 33.500 per ton, or Rp 13 billion annually.

Yuyun emphasized that the tender agreement had taken place during the former mayor’s term and as such, suspicions that the agreement was laden with corruption were justified. “It should be revised by annulling the last decision,” she said.

According to her, suspicions of foul play were also why she opposed current Mayor Ridwan’s plan to select PT BRIL to manage waste by applying the PLTSA technology.

“The duty of the government is to protect, not poison the community […] we should apply the anaerobic digester technology, which is more appropriate with the character of waste in Bandung, which is wet and could still be converted into energy,” said Yuyun.

Another solution, added Yuyun, was managing waste from the source. Based on a study of community-based waste management systems in seven cities in Indonesia, waste sorting and composting reduced waste production by up to 50 percent.

“For compost that is left idle, the administration could buy it back to fertilize city parks. Such a mechanism should be introduced so that the volume of waste brought to the landfill can be reduced, thus prolonging its operational lifespan,” added Yuyun.

Responding to the criticism, Ridwan Kamil said his administration would not hastily green-light the incinerator technology.

“It’s better to take a step backwards [if it means we can] get an optimal result,” Ridwan said on Sunday.

Clear the Air says: HKG food impregnated waste is wetter than Indonesia’s !!

Villagers in northern Lantau destroy mangrove in protest over potential restrictions

Monday, 25 August, 2014

Ernest Kao

Dozens of villagers in northern Lantau chopped down a mangrove near an ecologically sensitive bay yesterday to protest against a government move to zone areas on the fringes of their villages as protected land.

Excavators were brought in to raze trees, while machete- and hoe-wielding villagers chopped down shrubs on the coast of Tai Ho Wan, which is known for its oyster-rich mudflats and horseshoe crabs.

Together with the three rivers that feed it, Tai Ho Wan is now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), but not yet zoned as such. Statutory planning rules would ensure government departments give due consideration to conservation if the proposal was approved later this year.

But indigenous villagers of the San Heung community, which includes Pak Mong, Ngau Kwu Long and Tai Ho villages, fear their rights to farm and build small houses will be restricted if the restrictive development plans are agreed to.

“Step by step, the government has been depriving us land owners of our rightful use of land, which was originally designated for agricultural use,” the community said in a declaration in which they also demanded to meet the development and environment ministers.

They blamed construction of the North Lantau Highway in the 1990s for blocking discharge from the river and flooding coastal farmland. The indigenous villagers said in their declaration that the government had “bullied” them again in 1999 with the SSSI designation.

“All we want is to return our farmland to agricultural use without any prior conditions,” said Ngau Kwu Long village spokesman Lam Chu. “You can’t just take away our land without our consent or compensation.”

Heung Yee Kuk vice-chairman Daniel Lam Wai-keung showed up to support the villagers’ protest yesterday.

Green groups were outraged at the destruction of the mangrove. “I’m furious. This is disrespectful,” said Eddie Tse Sai-kit of the Save Lantau Alliance. “If they really cared for the land and wanted to farm it, then they would not do such as thing.”

Tse said most of the private land in the enclave had been sold to developers in the 1990s.

“It is worth questioning whether they’re really doing this for the right to build small houses,” he said.

Under an interim development plan covering 230 hectares, gazetted in March, the villages’ development zones are limited to 1.27 hectares, which the villagers say constrains their right to build small houses.

“It’s a lie … Most villagers just want to transfer their small-house rights for a profit,” said Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong. “If they wanted to farm they would have done so long ago.”

Clear the Air says:

This just in:

附上大蠔、白芒、牛牯塱一帶的land search,未100%完成,不過餘下未做的大多是原居民持有。除了置地外,幾乎所有公司都未能直接與發展商連上關係,但經調查後公司的關係應如下:
Jet Channel Development Company Limited – 新鴻基

Tongking International Limited

Tong Mu International Limited

Lucky Pearl Investments Limited – 太古地產

Corona Land Company Limited – 置地

Greenmatch Company Limited – 俊文地產(即俊文珠寶家族)

Monat Investment Limited

Wrencrest Estates Limited – 永常集團胡永輝家族

Union Key Investment Limited 由律師行代持,未知幕後老闆

New Century Device Company Limited 為 BVI,未知幕後老闆
另再覆查後, 張建東已於2009年辭去新鴻基的非執行董事職位,

Department failing to stop pollution of pristine Hoi Ha Wan

Monday, 25 August, 2014

I refer to the report (“Tai Po beach clears court hurdle [1]”, August 13). Why does the government rush ahead with this project when water quality in existing beaches is deteriorating?

I refer specifically to Hoi Ha Wan. I have been swimming there regularly since 2006 and the water has always been crystal clear. Since 2014, its shallow waters have turned markedly murky and foamy.

Most of the farmland in Pak Sha O village, adjacent to a stream that feeds into Hoi Ha Wan, has been bought by developers.

The Lands Department is more agreeable to approving village house applications on cultivated farmland. Therefore, land at Pak Sha O is being farmed for vegetables. I suspect there is massive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which is now finding its way to Hoi Ha Wan via the stream. This may have caused a rapid deterioration of seawater quality.

A high standard of water quality in Hoi Ha Wan must be maintained for at least two reasons.

First, about 100,000 people use it and its beaches for recreation annually. The government should have the health of these people at heart.

Second, the biggest and prettiest coral colonies in Hong Kong are found there and the surrounding seas. This is one of Hong Kong’s irreplaceable treasures. Corals are extremely sensitive to chemicals. Adding more toxic chemicals and waste products to Hoi Ha Wan waters will impact on marine life negatively.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department declined to have the near-shore water quality checked, because it has subcontracted the work of monitoring Hoi Ha Wan water quality, until March 2015, to a third party.

The department should have located the monitoring station closer to shore and corals where it matters, but it was located one kilometre away.

The future looks dire for Hoi Ha Wan and Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park. Recent outline zoning plans show more village houses will be located close to streams and shoreline.

These locations are much sought after by developers for their scenic value. Without central sewage treatment, chemicals and grey water from new houses will reach Hoi Ha Wan. In time, it could be renamed Hoi Ha sewage pit.

Village house development is lucrative. This creates pressure on government departments to “facilitate” by bending their own rules. We must remain vigilant to protect our country and marine parks.

Tom Hou, Sai Kung

Government accused of marine park pledge to take pressure off bid for third runway

Ernest Kao

Tuesday, 02 September, 2014

In the midst of environmental hearings on a proposed third runway, conservation authorities have made a surprise pledge to designate two new marine parks off Lantau Island by 2017.

The announcement was made as government advisers continued deliberation on the Airport Authority’s environmental report on the proposed additional runway at Chek Lap Kok.

[1]The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the announcement, which ends a 12-year impasse, was not related to the runway proposal.

It said it was a response to public concern and part of its own Chinese white dolphin conservation programme.

The proposed parks will cover 660 hectares off southwest Lantau and 1,270 hectares around the Soko Islands archipelago, in a bid to enhance protection for the endangered dolphin and finless porpoise.

But Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu suspected the move was made by the government to take pressure off the authority.

“The authority’s [report] and the long-delayed designation of the two marine parks cannot be grouped together.

“We never said this could be a compensation measure for the third runway and it cannot be one. Marine parks cannot mitigate the [650 hectares of] habitat loss,” he said.

He urged subcommittee members of the Advisory Council on the Environment, who will meet today, not to accept the new plans as justification for the airport expansion.

An authority spokesman said the government’s latest park plan was not part of its report but it would “complement” its own conservation measures to protect the dolphin population.

“We will launch another round of public engagement in 2015 and take other necessary steps and seek to complete the statutory procedure for the designation by early 2017,” a department spokesman said.

Proposals to designate the two marine parks span back to 2002 but never came to fruition due to opposition from the fisheries sector and Lantau residents.

Dr Michael Lau Wai-neng, a senior programme head at WWF Hong Kong, said the move was welcome, but was not enough. “There is a consensus among scientists that [dolphin] habitat can only be protected by linking up the parks along the Tai O fringe, to the existing Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park,” he said.

The authority’s proposal for a 2,400 hectare marine park connecting Sha Chau and another proposed park northeast of Lantau has been dismissed as ineffectual as it would be designated only after the runway’s completion in 2023.

Lawmaker Steven Ho Chun-yin, of the agriculture and fisheries sector, said the industry would likely oppose the park plan if it hurt fishermen’s livelihoods.

He said that on issue would be whether fishing permits for the marine parks would be allowed to be transferable.

“The government will have to consult the industry further,” Ho said.

The Country and Marine Parks Board will be consulted on the draft maps at a “suitable time” before it is published for public inspection, the department said.

Marine parks to shield white dolphins”

Plans to designate southwest Lantau and the Soko Islands as marine parks were announced yesterday, 12 years after they were first gazetted.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Plans to designate southwest Lantau and the Soko Islands as marine parks were announced yesterday, 12 years after they were first gazetted.

The marine parks will be part of efforts to protect important habitats of Chinese white dolphins and finless porpoises. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is hoping to complete the statutory procedures for the parks by early 2017. Plans were first gazetted in 2002.

Southwest Lantau and the Soko Islands are major habitats of these mammals. The conservation areas will cover about 660 hectares of water off Lantau and 1,270 hectares of water off the Sokos.

This is part of a program to enhance survival of the dolphin population in the Pearl River Estuary, a department spokesman said. KENNETH LAU

Demands of oversized incinerator will stifle the efforts to recycle more waste

Jul 30, 2014

EARLIER this month, the European Commission published a range of new recycling targets for waste which, if accepted by the European Parliament, will be embedded in a revised Waste Framework Directive.

It would mean that local councils would be expected to recycle 70 per cent of household waste by 2030, while the target for packaging waste would be 80 per cent. The Commission is also looking to prohibit the sending of recyclable waste to landfill by 2025.

The proposal has been broadly welcomed by environmental groups, who are working towards a more sustainable approach to waste management and are keen to maximise what we recycle and compost.

I certainly agree that it is ridiculous that thousands and thousands of tonnes of recyclable and biodegradable material is dumped in landfill or incinerated, when much better use could be made of such resources.

The response from the Government, however, has been quite frosty. It has indicated that its representatives will oppose the targets when they are debated, citing the “potential costs to business, householders and local authorities”.

Such a view is in stark contrast to the Wealth From Waste report from the Local Government Association, published a few years ago.

This stated: “The simple fact is that taxpayers would be better off, the economy will benefit, and more people will have jobs if we grow the domestic market for collecting, sorting and reprocessing recycling … recycling actually brings in cash for the taxpayer and we owe it to today’s hard-pressed taxpayers to get as much of their money back as possible.”

The commission’s new targets would certainly need to trigger a step-change in how the United Kingdom deals with waste. According to figures from DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), English local authorities recycle, on average, 43.2 per cent of residents’ waste, though in Wales the figure is over 50 per cent.

But here in Cornwall, the unitary authority is tied into a multimillion-pound “integrated waste management contract” for the controversial incinerator – with an annual capacity of 240,000 tonnes – being built near St Dennis. It will principally deal with Cornwall’s domestic waste.

We have a recycling rate of less than 40 per cent and are generating 180,000 tonnes of residual waste annually – significantly less than the capacity of the incinerator – and I do fear that efforts to almost double recycling efforts in our area will be stifled by the need to fill the over-sized incinerator in Mid-Cornwall.

Port Hope council denies garbage incinerator applications

Todd McEwen

PORT HOPE — Well, bring on the Ontario Municipal Board.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, council denied the applications for a proposed Wesleyville garbage incinerator.

Entech-REM previously applied to change the zoning bylaw and municipality’s official plan in order to build an energy-from-waste facility on a 23-acre site in Wesleyville.

Now, the ball is in Entech-REM’s court.

Council has predicted the company will file an appeal on the decision with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), considering the municipality’s director of planning recommended council approved the applications.

The OMB examines individual cases from a planning perspective, considering whether an application meets provincial land policies and the principles of good planning.

Northumberland News’s calls to Entech-REM for comment were not returned by press deadline.

“I feel very hopeful that REM will not pursue the OMB,” said Councillor Mary Lou Ellis, chairman of the planning committee. “I would hope they know this will not be a good fit for our community and they will try and find a more suitable location.”

“I like to remain hopeful on that,” she said, referring to them not appealing the OMB. “I’m hoping when the (health) studies that the Ministry of Environment are working on come forward, we’ll have a more complete picture and I’m sure (Entech-REM) will too.”

“I’m just happy this part’s done,” she said. “They now clearly know how this municipality and this council stand on that issue.”

“I just want to thank all of you for making this decision tonight,” resident Sarah Sculthorpe told council. “As an individual, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a farmer, as a business owner and as a resident of this amazing municipality, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Many residents were singing a different tune at a public meeting the previous Thursday.

The meeting attracted about 300 people, about 40 of whom blasted not only the four representatives of Entech-REM who attended, but the municipality’s council and staff, accused of not having the best interest of the residents in mind.

“We’re now in the middle of a billion-dollar (radioactive waste) cleanup, when the leaders of Port Hope simply were not aware of the dangers,” resident Terry Hickey said, referring to the historic low-level radioactive waste left behind by Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. “This council, our current leadership, cannot be unaware of the multiple dangers this project brings to Port Hope. To allow REM to proceed, flies in the face of the phrase once bitten, twice shy, or in this case, stunned.”

Throughout the night, many residents challenged the director of planning’s latest report on the matter, which supported the applications.

Ron Warne and the planning staff’s first recommendation was to defer the applications until the provincial environment screening review has been completed, with the second advising council to approve the applications and place a holding provision on the lands, which suspends any development until the health reports and Ministry of Environment studies are completed.

“Staff are of the opinion that the proposed development represents an appropriate use of the subject lands,” Mr. Warne wrote in the report.

At this point, the future of Wesleyville is still up in the air.

“Go to the OMB, I’m not afraid,” resident Siobahn Kenny said at the public meeting. “The only people who should be afraid of the OMB are the four men (of Entech-REM) sitting at that table.”