Reply To: Hong Kong people vs Shek Kwu Chau Mega-Incinerator


Letter from today's Sunday Morning Post:

I actually agree with the concept of using incinerators to dispose of waste, but not in the manner being proposed by the government for a super-incinerator to be located on Shek Kwu Chau.

I have as number of reasons for being opposed to it.

The technology is 10 years out of date, it produces dangerous emissions, and for every 3,000 tonnes of waste burnt, 800 tonnes of toxic waste are produced, that will have to be shipped back to a landfill, and will poison that landfill and the groundwater.

Plasma arc waste incineration technology, which is the much newer alternative, produces a fraction of the waste, and no dangerous emissions, as everything burns up at a much higher temperature.

For the cost of one super-incinerator, 10 smaller plasma arc incinerators could be built, burning the same amount of rubbish, and because they are much smaller they could be spread around Hong Kong, thus cutting down on the pollution caused by shipping all the waste to one location. And 10 plasma arc incinerators could be built and put into operation quicker than one super-incinerator.

To deal with the immediate problem of Hong Kong's waste, several plasma arc incinerators could be built very quickly, relieving the current pressure on landfills, and giving the government a chance to implement policies that cut down waste at source – as currently Hong Kong has the highest per-capita waste output in the world – about which something needs to be done.

Shek Kwu Chau is the wrong location, in one of the few completely unspoilt green oases of Hong Kong, which should be preserved for future generations, whereas the Tsang Tsui ash lagoons are already a mess. Also, it will be much cheaper to build it there.

In addition shipping all the waste from Hong Kong to Shek Kwu Chau will produce a huge amount of pollution from the slow-moving diesel-powered barges that will inevitably be used.

There is a lack of due process. Why has the go-ahead been given to begin dredging for the services that are necessary to build the incinerator, when the actual final permission to build it has not been given?

Peter Millward, Chai Wan