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No technical feasibility and reliability issues in Green Island Cement’s waste plan

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No technical feasibility and reliability issues in Green Island Cement’s waste plan

Friday, 30 August, 2013, 12:00am


I refer to the letter by Elvis W. K. Au, assistant director of environmental protection (“Cement plan not yet viable refuse solution [1]“, August 16).

Mr Au says the government has refused to consider Green Island Cement’s Eco-Co-Combustion proposal for the treatment of municipal solid waste because the company must first deal with “technical feasibility and reliability, environmental acceptability and planning issues”. I wish to clarify some of the points he raised.

Regarding technical feasibility and reliability, our Eco-Co-Combustion waste treatment process uses proven conventional technology, which can be either kiln-based or moving-grate-based. It just means integrating conventional technology with a cement plant. There are no technical feasibility and reliability problems.

On environmental acceptability, over the last decade we have completed more than 100 separate technical studies, and have set up a pilot plant to demonstrate the feasibility, environmental impact, and public acceptability of the proposal. One of the main objectives of our study was to verify the air emission results which, when scaled up, yielded no discernible impact on nearby villages. Also, our Eco-Co-Combustion proposal uses heat energy very efficiently and it has a very low residue to be sent to landfills.

With regard to the environmental impact assessment study, when it became clear in 2008 that, no matter what we did, the government would not consider our proposal, we ceased expenditure on the project. If we were given the chance to participate, we would carry out such an assessment promptly. As there is virtually no adverse environmental impact, we are confident that our assessment would be successful.

On planning issues, according to studies conducted by law firm Mayer Brown JSM and international planning, design and environmental firm EDAW, since Tap Shek Kok is an existing industrial site and the cement plant is already in operation, our Eco-Co-Combustion System does not face any land-zoning/planning issues as it is a cement-related activity. In fact, we received a letter from the Lands Department stating that the operation of the Eco-Co-Combustion System would not change the land use.

We believe that the Eco-Co-Combustion System is a good option for solving Hong Kong’s imminent waste problem. We hope the Environmental Protection Department will reconsider the benefits of our proposal and let us participate in the municipal-solid-waste-management tender process.

Don Johnston, executive director, Green Island Cement (Holdings) Limited


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