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.
Dr Martin Williams
Founder, Hong Kong Outdoors