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


Presentation to Legco Panel on Environmental Affairs, 26 March 2012

Dr Martin Williams, Director, Hong Kong Outdoors

I’m from HK Outdoors, a website; also drafted this joint statement against the incinerator, signed by groups across Hong Kong,

Hong Kong closed its waste incinerators in the early 1990s

In 1999, New York City closed its last waste incinerator.

Now, incineration back for HK

We hear of modern, improved technology, and beautiful looking incinerators.

I have a PhD in physical chemistry, was interested to see what’s so much better.

Can’t see all that much has changed.

Instead of science, we get propaganda.

You know of problems. Death to marine life including endangered porpoises. A monstrosity in a beautiful area. Poisonous emissions, and toxic ash.

Incinerator opponents living near Shek Kwu Chau have been called selfish (including by Emily Lau).

You will hear from incinerator advocates today.

Perhaps you can ask each of them: Do you receive support from EPD, or do you expect to benefit financially from the incinerator project?

So who is really being selfish here?

You will hear of alternatives, too.

Especially the 3Rs.

Our recycling figures look good.

The reality is terrible – includes old ladies pulling cardboard from lap sap bins; far more needs doing.

There are technologies, too; we take only baby steps with the excellent anaerobic digestion.

There’s also plasma arc treatment.

Unlike the incinerator, this is state of the art technology for waste treatment. With minimal emissions. Zero ash. No need to hide it away in a remote and lovely area. Lower cost and faster to build than incinerator on an island. Works well with recycling.

Worldwide, many plasma arc projects now planned or under construction, including for over 1000 tonnes of waste per day.

There’s anti-plasma propaganda in Hong Kong, based on secondhand information.

Here’s a quote on plasma arc technology:

"We believe that this technology is not only environmentally friendly, but ready for large-scale commercialisation."

– that’s from AECOM, in the US, from an expert working on a major project.

Perhaps Hong Kong should learn directly from plasma arc companies: several are willing to visit and talk to people including EPD and Panel members within days.

This month, New York City requested proposals for waste-to-energy projects, specifically excluding "mass burn" incineration.

Shouldn’t we also be open to ideas, in Asia’s World City?

It’s time for a rethink.

Don’t be misled by the propaganda. If you say no to the government’s plans, we won’t be overwhelmed by waste.

All alternatives look better than mass incineration.

Panel members: please vote no to the incinerator.