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LIM letter to Public Works Sub-Committee

i Apr 14th No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends

Below is a copy of the LIM letter send to the members of the Public Works Sub-commitee.

Please write to the Legislators who sit on the Public Works Sub-Committee before Wed 16th April.   Just click on this link to start your email to them

Feel free to copy and use our letter if you find it easier.

LIM Committee Members

14 April 2014

Letter of representation to Public Works Subcommittee Members 

Dear Honourable Members of the Public Works Subcommittee,

Our organisation urges you to reject the current proposal by the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is supported by the Secretary for the Environment, to upgrade 177DR to Category A at an estimated cost of $18,245.7 million in money-of-the-day (MOD) prices for the design and construction of the integrated waste management facilities (IWMF) phase 1. [PWSC(2014-15)7]

While the Panel on Environmental Affairs has now approved (by 9 votes to 6) the same basic ENB proposal to “burn and bury” our waste that they rejected approximately 2 years ago, we urge you not to blindly follow their approval which is meant to have been based on environmental concerns.  We believe that the 9 members of the EA Panel who voted in favour have clearly shown their lack of concern for the natural environment of Hong Kong.

As members of the Public Works committee, where your expertise is more on project management and engineering solutions, you should see that the current proposal to extend 3 landfills and build a mega incinerator does not solve the problem we are facing with Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the most timely or financially responsible way.  We urge you to reject the current proposal based on the clear project management perspectives of:

–       Timing: building the incinerator next to Shek Kwu Chau (SKC) will take many more years than the alternative site of the Tsang Tsui Ash Lagoons.

–       Cost: selecting a site that does not require reclamation would significantly reduce the cost of the project.  The difference in costs has been estimated to be the equivalent of building a new hospital ($2.5 Billion for the recently opened Tung Chung Hospital)

–       Technology: the current proposal contains no practical proposal for mechanically sorting the majority of our waste before it is either sent to a landfill or incinerator.  The proposed SKC pilot sorting plant will only be able to handle about 2% of the total MSW

–       Performance Measure: There are no performance incentives within the proposal for the government to implement meaningful recycling services.  How can you trust the government to implement the recycling services once you have approved the “bury and burn” based proposal?

–       Inefficient Land Use: The land area of the existing landfills sites should be used as Integrated Waste Management Facilities (IWMF) rather than being only used for landfill.  An IWMF should include building multi-storey waste sorting facilities to separately identify recyclables, organics and hazardous materials.

–       Private Sector Competition: There have been numerous offers from the business sector over the years to help solve the waste issue from a commercial perspective.  These have included offers to take 1/3 of the current MSW to piloting of the very latest thermal treatment technology.

–       Risk Management: How can building one mega incinerator operated by one company out in the ocean provide contingency measures if this single plant has operational issues.  Surely multiple smaller IWMF’s located around HK can truly represent a balanced spatial distribution of Waste Management Facilities and provide superior operational risk management.

Dr Merrin Pearse
Living Islands Movement