Excellent that the Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs refused to support the plans for Shek Kwu Chau incinerator, and extensions to landfills.
Thanks to all who helped!
Yet like some monster movie, where the beast falls to its knees after an attack, the incinerator plans are not finished. Much has gone into them - much planning etc; who knows how many contracts are signed or nearly signed; HK$23 billion [incinerator plus landfill extensions - the true cost of incinerator project] is a huge amount of money that many must feel they can get a share of.
Plus Edward Yau may feel he has nowhere else to go, but to try and push it through.
I see comments from some, such as Tanya Chan, saying still believe there's need for incineration.
So, good that the three attempts at Judicial Review aim to proceed, to counter plans for incinerator by SKC, where sea is unfortunately zoned for use like this.
Jim Middleton, of Clear the Air, believes we should call for Edward Yau's resignation. What do you think?
To my mind, the way forward with waste under CY Leung would be more like New York: instead of deciding exactly what to do, call for proposals. [NYC has asked for waste to energy proposals that specifically exclude mass burn incineration; HK might simply call for proposals to help solve our waste issue.]
- this would seem a lot to ask, given all the planing etc already; but sadly the planning process to date came out with an answer that seems crazy and irresponsible. Must be something worthwhile in there, though.
With such international proposals, how to then have a committee that can really judge based on merits?
Such a process would allow, say, Green Island Cement to participate (it would not be only potential company, as would be the case if govt requesting only its eco co-combustion process).
Other alternatives can and surely should be advanced, to help show Edward Yau is wrong to claim that without incinerator we might have streets full of waste. [as below]
Only Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Clearly popular, but I haven't seen too much by way of detail. Should this be by a company, maybe one from overseas with experience, which could help struggling operators at the Eco Park, and work with small scale collectors of cardboard etc?
Plasma arc as substitute for incineration, but with real action on 3Rs. At least one company is willing to build a pilot plant.
Other options? Should there be any?
Anaerobic digestion seems a good way; but HK taking just baby steps. Prof Jonathan Wong, "waste expert" who seems ready to say whatever EPD wants, has done some research in this but hasn't been pushing for it, which seems curious.
Here are excerpts from a S China Morning Post news item re the panel decision:
The Environment Bureau has abandoned its HK$23 billion funding request for what it says is an urgently needed waste incinerator and landfill expansion after failing to gain the support of lawmakers from across the political spectrum yesterday.
The controversial waste plans, which included building a waste incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau off the south coast of Lantau, will face uncertain delays when they are left to the next government to decide as requested by lawmakers at an environment panel meeting.
Despite the government's warnings, one waste expert said Hong Kong would not immediately plunge into a waste crisis, but it would be wise for the city to start at least one landfill expansion to ease pressure.
Panel members refused to support the bureau in filing its funding request to the public works subcommittee and Finance Committee.
"Without the support of the panel, the current administration is unable to file the funding requests within this term and complete all the relevant processes," the bureau said.
It said it was unfortunate that the plans, including the HK$15 billion waste incinerator and HK$8 billion for expanding landfills in Tseung Kwan O, North District and Tuen Mun, had not been backed by the panel despite intensive discussions.
Bureau ditches HK$15b incinerator funding bid
Request for financing abandoned after failure to gain support from lawmakers across political spectrum
There have been some calls for Edward Yau to resign; a couple of days ago media reported on chief executive elect CY Leung critising him for doing little.
In SCM Post yesterday, Lau appeared to have no understanding of opposition to incinerator, and even rather childishly angry that legislators weren't supporting it. Interview included:
Yau said those politicians who delayed or disapproved of his plans should explain to the public why they would need to put up with more landfilling of waste equivalent to seven Exchange Square towers a year.
"Will waiting a few more months solve the problem?" he asked. "Why do we have to wait? Is it just because of a single remark by the chief executive-elect? Is it because of the election? Or is it due to the fact Hong Kong has not achieved the highest recycling rate in the world … society deserves a reason why we have to wait."
Yau said the city could not afford any further delay, as the quest for waste solutions had started more than a decade ago and there had been intensive discussion already.
He warned that further delays might put Hong Kong in a similar situation to the Italian city of Naples, where insufficient waste facilities resulted in rubbish being dumped in the streets.
"The longer we put it off, the longer we have to ask what method will we adopt, the more likely we will be of living the example of what Naples faced," he said.
Yau admitted he had no contingency plan if the funding request for the HK$15 billion incineration project at Shek Kwu Chau was blocked. "Do we really have a plan B, when there is already a three-pronged strategy? Perhaps the plan B is just waiting to see the landfill becoming full. Everyone opposing our plan should ask themselves what is their plan B."
- several people and groups have indeed submitted alternative plans, but Yau deaf to these: seems he's blinkered, unable to listen to people despite giving lip service to consultations.
Note, too, that according to Wikipedia some of Naples' troubles with trash were blamed on mafia involvement in the city's waste collection. Surely Yau is not implying that HK has strong triad involvement in the business?