Reply To: Plan for incinerator island by Shek Kwu Chau environmentally unacceptable


Attn:     Secretary for the Environment

        Mr. Edward Yau Tang-wah

Re:        Meetings organised by the EPD on 25 November 2011 at Pui O Public School, Lantau, and on 28 Nov on Cheung Chau, regarding the  dredging and reclamation to the South-western coast of         Shek Kwu Chau for the Integrated Waste management Facilities Phase 1

Dear Mr. Yau:

My name is Martin Williams, a conservationist living on Cheung Chau.

I met you, briefly, a couple of years ago, as you opened a Geopark centre on Kat O. I was impressed at your readily talking with villagers; and you told me that you needed public support for environmental protection.

Sounded good that you need public support; seemed heartfelt. And yet, now the government is forging full steam ahead with the wrong-headed plans to build Mega-Incinerator Island beside Shek Kwu Chau.

There are so many severe issues with this project, it is hard to know where to begin or which to cite here:

– Will kill finless porpoises, a species globally Vulnerable to extinction (never mind the EIA says whatever deaths etc happen will be "acceptable");

– WIll severely impact other marine life, and affect the rich, unique biodiversity of Shek Kwu Chau;

– Will create a monstrosity in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. An area the government has earlier designated for leisure tourism and conservation;

– WIll increase air pollution in relatively clean area of Hong Kong;

– Will be immensely expensive, perhaps by far the world's costliest mega-incinerator;

– Will fail to solve Hong Kong's waste problems – this is not "integrated", and Hong Kong will be putting most of its waste efforts into one bonfire (or later two bonfires, then three – and how many more do you envisage?);

– Will provide minimal job opportunities; and as for boosting tourism – well, here on Cheung Chau, we laugh at the idea.

The project is an utter disgrace.

You know there are alternatives; yet it would appear you are allowing politics – not science or commonsense – to drive the Mega-Incinerator Island scheme.

Here, you do not deserve any support whatsoever; your job is environmental protection, not environmental destruction.

I believe you should you seek more modern, more holistic, more enlightened alternatives, with scientific backing.

Though you talked cheerily enough with Kat O villagers, it has seemed that lately you have stayed well out of the limelight regarding the incinerators issue. Perhaps in part as you are a changed man since two years ago; can't be easy in your role, with political pressures, and CE Donald Tsang apparently so enamoured with projects involving concrete.

Yet I write in hope that within you there is still a man who wants to work on positive projects for Hong Kong. We certainly need this!

Anyway, I hope there is time for a change of course. Though I'm not optimistic.

Best regards,

Dr Martin Williams

Founder, Hong Kong Outdoors