Pui O Wetlands JR will challenge the Government on four points of law

i Aug 9th 2 Comments by

A date has now been fixed for the High Court hearing of the Judicial Review (JR) that challenges and seeks to put an end to the constant plundering of South Lantau’s unique wetlands and natural environment.

Please join us in the public gallery at the High Court to show your support:
Date: 27 September 2016
Place: High Court, Queensway, Admiralty. (Court Number issued on the day)
Time: 10:00am 

The JR will challenge the Government on four points of law.

  • First that the wetlands are zoned as a ‘Coastal Protection Area’ and that the appendix to the zoning clearly states landfilling is not allowed.
  • Second, that the Waste Disposal Ordinance gives the Director of Environmental Protection the necessary discretion to prevent landfilling on the grounds that it would damage an area of high ecological and biodiversity value.
  • Third, that on one particular lot the Director of Environmental Protection has allowed and condoned landfilling on top of an area which has previously been fly-tipped upon, in breach of the Waste Disposal Ordinance.
  • Fourth, that the Director of Environmental Protection has allowed landfilling that could only have been achieved by construction of illegal vehicle access ramps, themselves violations of the Waste Disposal Ordinance.

The potential consequences of the applicant winning the Judicial Review would be that the Government would likely not allow landfilling in this area in future. The consequences of losing are that over 40 additional lots of land would be filled within the next 12 months and that the wetlands and all contained within them would likely disappear within 10 years.

LIM response to offshore LNG Terminal proposed for next to Soko Islands

i May 20th No Comments by

Offshore LNG Terminal proposed for next to Soko Islands.13173243_976686972448834_7041170181981622181_o

 

Inspection Period: 7 May 2016 – 20 May 2016
http://www.epd.gov.hk/eia/index.html

Read full proposal via
http://www.epd.gov.hk/…/re…/profile/latest/esb292/esb292.pdf

 

Here is the submission that LIM made on the Offshore LNG Terminal proposed for next to Soko Islands which we also posted at https://www.facebook.com/LivingIslandsMovement/posts/976686972448834:0

It was disappointing to hear this project being released only a few days after the consultation on Lantau Development closed. It is unfortunate that the Government departments that CLP and their consultants have discussed the project with did not advise the Lantau Development Advisory Committee and have it incorporated in the Lantau Development Proposal. This plan indicates that the water south and west of Lantau Island were to be for creation and not industrial facilities like ship berthing facilities.

We are certainly supportive of Hong Kong’s need to improve air quality so see the potential health and environmental benefits which this project many be able to deliver to Hong Kong through more power being generated from gas instead of coal.

It is pleasing to hear that the proposed LNG project if it proceeds, will be taking into account the proposed though yet to be announced location of the over 700 ha marine park required as part of the EIA requirements for the Integrated Waste Management Facilities (IWMF) near Shek Kwu Chau, and the Soko Marine park which is going through the gazette get process. We hope that marine park will not be designed around the proposed LNG offshore facilities berthing area though rather the marine park boundaries be proposed and gazetted before the LNG facilities are confirmed.

Here are some further comments in no particular order:
– Why could the location for the LNG Berthing and Jetty Facilities not be to the west of the Soko Islands?
– What would be the normal shipping approach taken for the LNG ships coming to and from the facility from international waters? A map showing the routes would be helpful.
– Will the LNG receiving facilities have a exclusion zone for all vessels including recreational fishing boats?
– Could the Double Berth Jetty of the LNG receiving facilities be design to incorporate an artificial reef
– Could some form of closed loop heat exchanging system be used rather than pumping sea water directly through pipes for the re-gasification at the LNG receiving facilities? This would reduce the volume of chemicals required to be added to the sea water.
– While the use of the earlier EIA report undertaken by CLP for the previously proposed land based LNG terminal at the Soko Islands reduces the financial burden on CLP, we are concerned that there have been a significant reduction in the population of the Chinese White dolphin since this time and therefore are concerned that assumptions used in that earlier EIA report my no longer be valid, especially for the dredging for the pipelines.
– Why is there no information provided showing what exists or is planned in the Chinese waters and islands near the proposed project? Surely while outside the direct control of HK authorities it is a very important part of planning the construction and on going operation of the proposed project. Please include similar information like that in Figure 4.1 for a 30-50 km radius around the proposed project site.

Overall our concerns are around the sea portions of this project like the pipelines, berthing facilities and LNG ships. We have less concern with the facilities located at the two power plants.

Regards
Living Islands Movement

Submissions on the “Space for All” Consultation Document by LanDAC

i Apr 30th No Comments by

Summary

Read LIM’s two Submissions on the “Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest“,
One is a Lantau Wide Response (in PDF or Text Version) and
the other is focused on Mui Wo (in PDF or Text Version).

Lantau Wide Response

Lantau Wide Response

Mui Wo Focused Response

Mui Wo Focused Response

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were many other well considered submissions made by others including:

plus articles in the SCMP including:

Here is some background on the topic.  The Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) was formed in January 2014 to be:

“mainly responsible for advising the Government on opportunities brought by the planning and major infrastructure in Lantau and on various aspects of sustainable development and conservation of the island, with a view to fully capitalising on its locational advantages and seizing development opportunities to foster the long term socio-economic development of Hong Kong. “
(according to http://www.landac.hk/en/about-us)

In January 2016 LanDAC released the “Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest” which was open for comments until 30 April 2016.

Living Islands Movement (LIM) consulted with its members and reviewed the LanDAC website and associated documents, plus attended a number of forums and hosted Ching-min CHAN from the Development Bureau at our AGM on 9 April.

 

Full Text version of Lantau Wide Response

The Secretariat,
Lantau Development Advisory Committee
17/F., East Wing, Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong

By e-mail: landac@devb.gov.hk

29 April 2016

Public response to
Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest “Space for All”
Lantau Wide Response

The Living Islands Movement (LIM) is an organisation dedicated to creating a liveable Lantau for all and has members across Hong Kong, with a significant number living on Lantau Island. LIM has consulted with its members and reviewed the LanDAC website and associated documents.

We conclude that the consultation document and process to date has not been well planned and certainly does not represent a visionary document fitting for “Asia’s World City”. The digest is very disappointing as it does not deliver in terms of “Balancing and enhancing development and conservation, with a view to developing Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study”.

There have been many concerns expressed and interesting proposals suggested during the preparation of this submission. However, we have chosen to highlight 10 key items only, on the assumption that there will be many other meaningful opportunities for the community to work with Government on the overall planning and detailed design of development on and near Lantau Island. Our 10 key items are:

  1.  The ‘Space for All’ plan was devised by LanDAC, an advisory Committee appointed by the Development Secretary and constituted of an overwhelming majority of developers.  Only one member of LanDAC is recognisable as a conservationist.  The remit of LanDAC was to produce a plan which balanced the need for development with the need for conservation.  This did not happen.  The Government now needs to appoint expert conservationists to sit in equal numbers with developers on this Committee if they are to stand any chance of gaining credibility with the public about their intentions on conservation.
  2.  Public consultation has been too quick and too thin.  No public consultation has been held in Mui Wo, one of the key areas that will potentially be impacted most by the plans.
  3.  No needs-based study has been conducted or presented to support the Government’s claims about the need to build housing for a million people.  No needs-based study has been conducted or presented concerning making Lantau a logistics hub for the PRD.
  4.  No Strategic Environmental Study has been conducted for the plans, to ascertain what cumulative environmental and conservation consequences may result from implementation of its various elements.
  5.  The ‘Space for All’ plan is not compliant with Hong Kong’s obligations under the International Biodiversity Convention.  Hong Kong should be committed to protecting areas of high biodiversity value, such as Lantau Island, not causing significant damage to valuable eco-systems and habitats, which this plan will inevitably do.
  6.  The plan has NO suggestions about enhancing conservation as it claims.  The only suggestions it has about conservation are to increase access, including for large tourist numbers, which will require building more infrastructure and which will significantly diminish conservation.
  7.  The Government’s own concept plan from 2007 suggested the South of Lantau would be largely untouched and reserved for recreation and leisure.  Yet, ‘Space for All’ is littered with suggestions for ‘medium’ sized projects on the south of Lantau to attract large numbers of tourists to ‘theme park’ type attractions.
  8.  Despite claiming that the South of Lantau would be protected, the Government has not ensured any statutory protection for the ‘Coastal Protection Areas’ along the South Lantau coast.  This has resulted in significant illegal landfilling and fly-tipping.  The Government needs to ensure that statutory protection is applied and enforced forthwith.
  9.  The majority of Hong Kong’s public enjoy Lantau as a green lung, somewhere to escape the fumes and congestion of high density housing and urban living.  The current peace and tranquility of Lantau is exactly why people like to go there.  If this is destroyed then Lantau becomes like anywhere else in Hong Kong.
  10.  We implore the Government not to proceed with a funicular railway up Sunset Peak.  There is already a cable car to Ngong Ping, close to the summit of Lantau Peak, we should leave the other major peak untouched.  It already has good accessibility by way of the Lantau Trail and is enjoyed by many for its peace, tranquility and unspoilt views.

LIM supports the following comment made by Ruy Barretto in his submission:

“LanDAC should not assume that their proposals are in the overall interest of Hong Kong when they are not. The Plan is focused on private interests which will commercialize the countryside. The Digest is based on a series of assumptions and subjective opinion. This is not a valid basis for spending billions of dollars of public money and destroying the environment.”

LIM strongly urges the Government and LanDAC to publish clear steps to show how any Blueprint will be developed. Those steps should include meetings and workshops with environmental, business, tourist, cultural and social interest groups so that individuals and professional bodies can work together with the Government to facilitate “Balancing and enhancing development and conservation, with a view to developing Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study”.

Regards
Living Islands Movement

 

Full Text version of Mui Wo Focused Response

The Secretariat,
Lantau Development Advisory Committee
17/F., East Wing, Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong

By e-mail: landac@devb.gov.hk

29 April 2016

Public response to
Lantau Development Public Engagement Digest “Space for All”
Mui Wo Response (see separate Lantau Wide Response)

The Living Islands Movement (LIM) is an organisation dedicated to creating a liveable Lantau for all and has members across Hong Kong, with a significant number living on Lantau Island. LIM has consulted with its members and reviewed the LanDAC website and associated documents.

This submission focuses on the Planning Issues for Mui Wo and can be read separately to LIM’s other submission titled “Lantau Wide Response”.

Mui Wo is pivotal to the Lantau Development plan since it is the historic gateway to South Lantau and the crossroads between the South Lantau, ELM and North Lantau sectors of LANDAC’s schema.

Space for All mentions numerous ideas under different categories:

  1. General – Utilizing abandoned agricultural land, fish ponds and under-utilized land (page 9) [1]
  2. Tourism – “Mui Wo historic rural area”, one of four scenic areas with unique characteristics (page 8)
  3. Recreation – “an adventure park (e.g. zip-line, hillside slide, paintball/war games, etc.), an aqua park (e.g. Wibit, fly-boarding), mountain biking, Segway riding etc.” (page 19)
  4. Transport Infrastructure – “possible road and Rail Links from/to the ELM and to the north Lantau shore” (pages 16 and 17)
  5. Conservation: No specific mention, but clearly 2 implies conservation of most of the Mui Wo basin to the West of the Ferry Pier and Old Town areas. Also, LIM’s vision for Mui Wo includes a wetland park in the valuable area in the South West of the basin.

Unfortunately, no overview is provided on how these diverse ideas might fit together to form a viable, holistic plan for the area. Many of them are potentially in conflict, and there are no specifics on location, land requirements and sequencing.

Recent experience is that government has found it difficult to implement even a small part of the “Mui Wo Facelift Plan” first launched in 2007. Reasons are:

  • It has proved difficult to reconcile conflicting land use interests and coordinate efficiently among the many government departments involved. For example free parking on Mui Wo waterfront near Ferry Pier for large commercial vehicles, versus pubic demand for recreation space, waterfront cafes and restaurants etc.
  • Slow progress on implementing the Mui Wo Sewage Improvement Scheme. For example, Phase II has been in planning since 2009 but has still not received final approval. Phase I commenced later than expected and had the knock-on effect of delaying the start of Stage I of the Mui Wo Face Lift by some 18 months.
  • Unwillingness to include conservation and recreation objectives under Land Resumption for “public purposes”. For example, heritage trails and cycling trails in Mui Wo basin area, first proposed in 2007/2008, have been postponed indefinitely because in all cases “private land” is involved.

LIM believes that a new approach is needed to Mui Wo development. The main objectives are to:

  • Accelerate the Mui Wo Face Lift through to completion of phase III in a 5 year time-frame.
  • Roll out the sewage scheme to the whole of the Mui Wo basin more urgently, to facilitate upgrading of the village environments and to avoid impeding other developments.
  • Undertake a new planning exercise to see what else can be done without destroying the essential rural character of the area. This may include updating the existing Mui Wo Fringe Outline Zoning Plan and extending it to include un-zoned areas such as Silvermine Beach, Wang Tong Village and Tung Wan Tau villages and environs.

We look forward to participating in workshops and forums held in Mui Wo, with a wide representation of stakeholders and Government departments, to position Mui Wo as a pilot showcasing how in reality Hong Kong can achieve “Balancing and enhancing development and conservation, with a view to developing Lantau into a smart and low-carbon community for living, work, business, leisure and study”.

Regards
Living Islands Movement

[1] We don’t understand this statement. The reality is that Mui Wo basin has only about 100 hectares of flat land. Most is already taken with Village (“Small House”) development and agriculture (eco-farming). There is however a wetland of high ecological value to the South West.

Successful Application for Judicial Review of dumping in Pui O Wetland

i Feb 14th No Comments by

We just realised that we forgot to let you know about some potentially good news for the Wetland in Pui O (and also potentially other wetlands in HK).

The Judicial Review application, challenging the Government’s decision to allow dumping of construction waste on the pristine wetlands of Pui O has been accepted.

LIM is delighted that stage one of a Judicial Review, challenging the Government’s decision to allow dumping of construction waste on the pristine wetlands of Pui O, was won at the High Court on January 20. The Department of Justice, representing the Government, fought hard to have the application for Judicial Review dismissed on four grounds. Presiding judge, Justice Au, ruled that the Government’s argument, that the Director for Environmental Protection, does not have any discretion when giving ‘acknowledgements’ for dumping to occur, had not been successfully made. He further dismissed the Government’s contention that the Judicial Review had been applied for outside of the prescribed time limits and that a judicial review was not necessary because the ‘acknowledgements’ for dumping had either run out or were just about to.

This means the application for Judicial Review was successful and a full hearing at the High Court will now be held on September 27th at 10am to resolve the issue. You can join the hearing so make the date in your calendar. We’ll keep you updated on further developments and how to register to attend the hearing.

Here is one of the newspaper reports on the application – http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1903493/hong-kong-green-activist-given-court-go-ahead

Letter to Public Accounts Committee asking to rescind funding for incinerator

i Jan 10th 1 Comment by

Living Islands Movement (LIM) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), in relation to the recent report from the Director of Audit, Report 65 (www.aud.gov.hk/eng/pubpr_arpt/rpt_65.htm) which highlights that the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has been misleading HK on the true situation with our landfills and that EPD have been promoting waste management strategies that are extremely overpriced and not fitting for a modern global city.

In short LIM strongly urge the Public Accounts Committee to recommend that funding for the landfill extensions and incinerator projects are rescinded or at least frozen until a full review is undertaken and the need for all components is reassessed based on correct information.

Read a copy of the LIM letter to PAC.

Public Accounts Committee - Hon Abraham SHEK 20160107

Government audit of Hong Kong’s waste reduction efforts makes clear who is to blame for our growing mountain of rubbish

i Dec 3rd No Comments by

An informative piece by Tom Yam published by the SCMP (1 Dec 2015) that builds on the Audit Commission report titled “Government’s efforts in managing municipal solid waste“.

Hong Kong’s waste problem: a stinking trail of missed targets, data errors and misdirected efforts

Tom Yam says a government audit of Hong Kong’s waste reduction efforts makes clear who is to blame for our growing mountain of rubbish.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 5.58.14 PM

If an organisation misses targets, mangles statistics, mismanages capital assets, underestimates costs, undertakes trifling projects and underperforms in a critical task year after year, will it survive?

The answer is a resounding “yes” if it is the Environmental Protection Department.

The department’s data, used to manage ongoing programmes, is rubbish (pun intended)

The Audit Commission recently issued a report on the government’s management of the garbage, officially known as municipal solid waste, which Hong Kong produced over the decade to 2015. The Environmental Protection Department is responsible for waste management and has an annual budget of HK$2.05 billion to do the job.

By every measure, including the department’s own as set out in its Policy Framework for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste (2005-2014), and the Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources (2013-2022), it fell short.

Key performance indicators for waste management have all deteriorated. Per capita waste disposed daily increased from 1.27kg in 2011 to 1.35kg in 2014. Waste recovered and recycled dropped from 49 per cent in 2009 to 37 per cent in 2013. Food waste increased from 3,227 tonnes per day in 2004 to 3,648 tonnes in 2013.

READ MORE: What a waste: Hong Kong government ‘set to miss targets’ as people dump more rubbish

The landfill in Tseung Kwan O. As of 2013, 63 per cent of Hong Kong’s waste was still dumped in landfills. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The policy framework set a target of disposing of 25 per cent of waste in landfills by 2014. As of 2013, 63 per cent was still dumped in landfills.

The department’s data, used to manage ongoing programmes, is rubbish (pun intended). The Audit Commission cites a litany of statistical errors. The amount of waste recovered for recycling was inflated because the department included waste imported for processing. Its forecast of a 50 per cent drop in food waste from school lunches was overstated because only 12 per cent of students ate lunch in school. It could produce no quantifiable data to explain its changing assumptions about the serviceable life of the landfills. It now claims that all landfills will be full by 2018. The Audit Commission believes they should last some years beyond 2018.

The department priced phrase 1 of the Organic Waste Treatment Facilities, to recycle mainly food waste, at HK$489 million in 2010. But because it omitted or significantly underestimated the cost of some components, the cost surged to HK$1.589 billion in 2014.

READ MORE: Waste not, want not: The ‘food angels’ collecting goodies we’re about to throw out to cook for Hong Kong’s underprivileged

The producer responsibility scheme for plastic bags has been rolled out, albeit behind schedule. But the scheme has yet to be implemented for five other products, including glass bottles. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Target dates for rolling out the producer responsibility scheme for six products, based on the “polluter pays” principle, have not been met. Only the first two phases of the plastic shopping bag levy have been implemented, in 2009 and 2015, six to eight years behind target. The scheme has yet to be implemented for the other five products – waste electrical and electronic equipment, vehicle tyres, glass bottles, packaging materials and rechargeable batteries.

Only four of the 12 government departments have signed up to the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign, which promotes reduction of food waste, two years after its launch.

With great fanfare, the department did launch a series of waste reduction, recovery and recycling initiatives. Their impact, however, has been inconsequential. Net reduction of plastic shopping bags disposed of in landfills in 2009-2013 was 11,544 tonnes, or an infinitesimal amount of total waste disposed.

READ MORE: Cycle of waste: City’s recycling industry needs must be addressed by Hong Kong government

… Article Continues though

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE visit SCMP

… Summary of Article …

The audit report describes a mismanaged organisation that lacks coordination with other government departments, produces inaccurate information and statistics, and engages in inconsequential efforts to tackle waste reduction and recycling. It cannot effectively manage ongoing programmes, resulting in missed targets and deteriorating performance.

In the private sector, a chief executive accountable for such rotten results would have been fired. Yet the previous environment secretary, Edward Yau Tang-wah, is now director of the Chief Executive’s Office. The current one, Wong Kam-sing, is this week attending the UN climate change conference in Paris. The Environmental Protection Department’s director, Anissa Wong Sean-yee, has been in her job since 2006. Despite the audit report, all three are likely to keep their highly paid jobs in Hong Kong’s non-accountable government.

Tom Yam is a Hong Kong-based management consultant. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Disappointed the Court of Final Appeal dismissed the technical case against the incinerator

i Nov 26th No Comments by

Living Islands Movement (LIM) was very disappointed in the decision of the Court of Final Appeal in dismissing the case against the incinerator earlier today.  We now await the judge’s written decision.

This week’s Audit Commission report (http://www.aud.gov.hk/eng/pubpr_arpt/rpt_65.htm) which shows the Government have provided misleading information to the public about waste management and recycling is relevant to today’s decision because it was partly this misinformation that provided the basis upon which the EPD (Environmental Protection Department) sought to justify the need for an incinerator in the first place. LIM will work with other interested parties to further examine the Audit Commission’s findings and explore options for further legal or other challenges.

We continue to urge that the Government pause, review and then move forward with measures which would see Hong Kong adopt waste management practices fit for the 21st century in line with their goals to make Hong Kong Asia’s first city. One such example is that put to the Town Planning Board in 2013 (http://wastehk.org/our-plan/)

Responses by District Council Candidates to 8 questions asked by LIM

i Nov 18th No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends

With the District Council Election taking place on Sunday 22nd November between 7:30am till 10:30pm, the LIM Committee felt it would be useful to ask the candidates for their opinions and intentions regarding some of the key concerns of the residents of South Lantau.  

We sent a questionnaire to all candidates, focusing our questions on key near-term and long-term issues facing Lantau that have previously been expressed by many of you: car permits in South Lantau, protection of wetland, parking space in Mui Wo, transparency in district council proceedings, East Lantau Metropolis and future development of Lantau.

Table Summarising Candidate Responses.

Most candidates responded, including two from Discovery Bay. All of the original responses (English or Chinese) are on the LIM website (www.livingislands.org.hk) with links in the below table.

Code Name of Constituency Area Candidate
Number
Name
of Candidate
Response
from Candidate
T01 LANTAU 1  YU HON KWAN (RANDY)  Written (Chi)
2  LAU KING CHEUNG  Written (Chi)
3  YUEN YUK WAH  Verbal
4  TAM SAU NGOR  Written (Eng)
T06 DISCOVERY
BAY
1  CHIU TAK WAI (FRANCIS)  Written (Eng)
2  YUNG WING SHEUNG AMY (AMY YUNG)  Written (Eng)
3  HU ZILIANG (JIMMY)  No Contact

The below table summarises their responses.

We hope that this might help all of us to decide who to vote for to best represent the interests of all of us.  We hope that you will use your vote in this election!

Here are some links the Government Election information:
– Polling Stations – http://www.elections.gov.hk/dc2015/eng/poll_T.html 
– How to vote – http://www.elections.gov.hk/dc2015/eng/ebriefs.html

Regards
The LIM Committee

As it is, Hong Kong’s waste reduction plan is a waste of money

i Nov 9th No Comments by

LIM Member, Tom Yam, has done an analysis of the recently-released Hong Kong key waste statistics for 2014 and had a letter on the topic published in the SCMP.  The letter highlights that HK in 2014 has recorded the second most waste disposed of and the lowest waste recovered in the last ten years.  Tom suggests that the Environment Bureau’s program in waste recovery and recycle are inconsequential and a waste of tax payers’ money.

As it is, Hong Kong’s waste reduction plan is a waste of money

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 4 November, 2015

http://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/1875277/it-hong-kongs-waste-reduction-plan-waste-money

best_of_the_week_166870026_35287547The fact is that the bureau’s every measure to increase waste recovered and recycled has had negligible effect. Photo: Bloomberg

Your report, “Waste targets ‘set to be missed'” (October 31), on new data showing that more rubbish was dumped in Hong Kong’s landfills last year, came as no surprise. The latest figures from the Environmental Protection Department show per-capita waste disposed daily rose to 1.35kg last year from 1.33kg in 2013, while waste recovered remained at 37 per cent.

This is the second highest amount of waste disposed and the lowest proportion of waste recovered in the past 10 years.

This worsening trend – that is, more waste generated and less waste recovered – confirms my observation that the Environment Bureau’s target of reducing per-capita waste disposed daily by 40 per cent to 0.8kg, and increasing the waste recovery rate to 55 per cent by 2022, is pure fantasy (“Realm of fantasy”, May 19). With no mandatory separation of waste at source and no vibrant local industry making products from recyclable waste, the bureau fantasises about copying the success of South Korea and Taipei by simply imposing waste-charging. It can’t understand that it has to both decrease the waste generated (through waste-charging) and increase the waste recovered to achieve such success.

The fact is that the bureau’s every measure to increase waste recovered and recycled has had negligible effect. No trial waste-separation programme in public housing estates has ever led to city-wide implementation. The three-colour recycling bins, introduced in 1998, have never collected more than 900 tonnes of recyclable waste per year, a mere 0.02 per cent of waste generated.

Likewise, the HK$1 billion fund to support the recycling industry will not increase the waste recovered. Hong Kong’s waste recovery industry comprises small operators whose biggest costs are property rental and collecting/sorting/transporting recovered waste. Yet they can use the fund only to buy or upgrade capital equipment.

Moreover, their profitability, and hence incentive to increase waste recovery, depends on the international market price for recovered waste because 98 per cent of it is exported, mainly to mainland China. With the price of used paper falling by 20 per cent this year, and plastic and scrap metal by 50 per cent, no recycling fund will increase the amount of waste recovered.

The bureau’s efforts to recover and recycle waste are inconsequential, other than giving the impression of activity by its overpaid bureaucrats. With the unabated increase in waste generated and no increase in waste recovery, taxpayers’ money may as well be saved for the inevitable construction of a second incinerator.

Tom Yam, Mui Wo

Lantau is Hong Kong’s Most Beautiful Island and Deserves Protection 香港最美島嶼 — 大嶼山愛守護 勿摧

i Nov 9th No Comments by

Martin Williams (www.drmartinwilliams.com) has created and posted in youtube a very compelling video on the beauty of Lantau.

As part of the game plan to save Lantau from irresponsible and unsustainable development and to preserve its natural environment, this type of video should be widely distributed to raise Hong Kong citizens’ awareness on this unique green asset.

Please share the video with your friends and colleagues.