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Proposed Tuen Mun Incinerator

Tuen Mun incinerator would put us at risk, say Shenzhen residents

Fiona Tam in Shenzhen and Cheung Chi-fai

Updated on Feb 27, 2008 – SCMP

A proposed incinerator in Tuen Mun to turn waste into energy is facing opposition from Shenzhen over concerns that it will aggravate air pollution and put residents’ health at risk.

Dozens of Shenzhen residents and activists plan to send a proposal to the municipal people’s congress, urging its environmental protection bureau to meet Hong Kong authorities over the HK$4 billion project.

The opposition came after Hong Kong last month announced two potential sites for a 3,000-tonne capacity incinerator; at Tsang Tsui in Tuen Mun or Shek Kwu Chau off southern Lantau. Both sites have been criticised as unsuitable by local residents.

Nanshan district party chief Ye Minhui said yesterday the project would have a huge impact on the environment and residents’ concerns should be conveyed to the Hong Kong authorities.

Ao Jiannan , an environmental activist from the Nanshan district people’s congress, said yesterday the proposed incinerator was 5km from a densely populated area in Nantou, home to tens of thousands of people.

“Pollutants and carcinogens are likely to affect the peninsula north of Tuen Mun all year, especially with southerly winds in summer. It would be a huge health risk for local residents,” Mr Ao said.

“Hong Kong, as an international metropolis with a strong sense of social responsibility, should always have the health of neighbouring Shenzhen residents in mind.

“Hongkongers always complain about pollutants from the Pearl River Delta aggravating the heavy smog in Hong Kong and air pollution plaguing their sky. Now, it’s their turn to set the example for cleaning the sky.”

Mr Ao called on Shenzhen and Hong Kong environmental watchdogs to conduct further environmental impact assessments.

An Environmental Protection Department spokesman said the department would conduct a study to determine the most appropriate site and gauge the potential impact on the neighbouring environment and population.

Ng Cho-nam, of the environmental impact assessment subcommittee of Hong Kong’s Advisory Council on the Environment, said the project would have little impact on Shenzhen as it was likely to use the latest technology to limit toxic emissions.

“If the project passes the assessment in Hong Kong, it means it would be acceptable to the nearest population. So it should be fine for the Shenzhen residents too,” he said.

Dr Ng said Shenzhen residents could still submit their comments when the report was completed but by law the review could only consider the impact within Hong Kong.

But Shenzhen resident Xu Weiping , who lives in Moon Bay Garden, said: “We have complained about air pollution caused by nearby power plants for 15 years but polluters have never been relocated. Now I don’t know where to complain about an incinerator in Hong Kong.”

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