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Climate Change and Human Health – Letter template for PWSc

i Apr 26th No Comments by

Below is an email template for people to express their concerns about the “Climate Change and Human Health” issues associated with the proposed Mega-Incinerator to the Legislators on the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSc). Send letters before Monday 5th May.

Just click on this link to start your email to them, then copy the below information into your email, personalise it with your name and address details (and HKID number), change any of the content that you want to and then email.


[Your address]

[Your HKID Number (optional, but adds credibility to your letter)]

[Date]

Dear Member of the Public Works Sub Committee

EPD Proposed Integrated Waste Management Facility

I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding the proposed Incinerator for which the Environmental Protection Department needs your approval before proceeding.

My main concerns are on the impacts on Climate Change and Human Health.

There are two levels of concern. Firstly, it is estimated that for every one tonne of waste that is incinerated, one tonne of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This means three thousand tonnes of CO2 will be released every day from the giant incinerator, according to EPD estimates of waste to be incinerated. Whilst not immediately threatening to human health, there is no doubt that this will have a negative effect on climate change. Should Hong Kong be endorsing this kind of approach when there are other less damaging options available?

My second concern is that the EPD proposal takes insufficient account of the Hong Kong AQO. Are there any statistics to prove scientifically exactly what toxins will be emitted from the Incinerator? Have the EPD compared the forecast emissions with the 2012 AQO’s? If so, will they be kind enough to share the figures with us all? It is a fact that moving grate incinerators do emit toxic elements into the atmosphere. It is interesting that the Government Medical Department have not so far expressed any opinion on this matter regarding the impacts of the Incinerator releasing dioxins and particulates into the atmosphere. One wonders how many premature deaths are “acceptable” to Hong Kong as a consequence of large scale moving-grate incineration.

On 16th April 2012, the EPD produced a Discussion Paper for the Panel on Environment Affairs Sub Committee on Improving Air Quality. The purpose of the Paper was to seek “the views of Members on the proposed new Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) and air quality improvement measures for achieving these new Objectives”. The Paper did not mention Incineration as a contributory cause of deteriorating air quality, but under the heading of Economic Implications, sections 11 and 12 discuss;

“The delivery of the proposed new AQOs and the air quality improvement measures would help combat air pollution, thereby improving quality of life, reducing medical cost and indirectly raising labour productivity. The consultant estimates that about 4,200 unnecessary hospital admissions and 7,400 statistical life years would be saved each year (or an improved average life expectancy of around one month for the entire population) upon attainment of the proposed new AQOs[2]. Other health benefits, such as less people contracting asthma or other respiratory diseases, would also be expected. In addition, better air quality and visibility would help attract more tourists and foreign investments, and are conducive to attracting talents to stay and work in Hong Kong. All these would contribute to reinforcing our position as a world city and leading international business hub. The proposal would also facilitate further collaborative efforts with Guangdong in improving regional air quality and the development of environmental industry in the region.

The impacts of individual proposed air quality improvement measures, which have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, would be felt differently by different sectors of the economy. In particular, the more stringent standards and requirements to comply with the proposed AQOs would incur implementation costs for various businesses and raise their operating costs. Moreover, the proposed AQOs would raise the standards required for obtaining the EIA approval for infrastructural projects, which may lead to higher mitigation costs in order to comply with the standards. The consultant nevertheless advises that, for indicative purpose, the annualized cost incurred by

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the public for implementing the proposed Phase I air quality improvement measures would be about HK$ 596 million. This is, however, significantly lower than the anticipated benefit of HK$ 1,228 million per year due to the improvement of public health.”

The EIA Report for Incineration was carried out before the AQO’s were revised. Does this mean that emissions from the Incinerator will not have to comply with the revised AQO’s?

With the greatest of respect, I would ask that you reject the EPD proposal for incineration and insist that they carry-out proper evaluation of the waste issues and come up with a strategy that does not cause more damage to Hong Kong and her residents.

Yours sincerely

[your name]

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