Comments on Proposal for Relaxation of Traffic Restrictions on South Lantau

i Jul 21st 1 Comment by

The Living Islands Movement has received a number of comments on the “Proposal for Relaxation of Traffic Restrictions on South Lantau” as mentioned in http://www.livingislands.org.hk/2015/07/10/proposal-for-relaxation-of-traffic-restrictions-on-south-lantau/. See the link for how to make your submission on or before 22 July.

Here is a selection of those comments:


 

It all depends on what relaxations are envisaged. If we are talking about a modest increase in the number of permits, e.g. allowing private bus companies to bring people over to South Lantau, allowing delivery of goods, allowing more than one permit per household, then ok, but a general free for all where anyone can apply for and obtain a permit will be a disaster. Parking in Mui Wo is getting difficult, the South Lantau Road is a nightmare already (due to appalling driving habits) and the whole of South Lantau is already getting much busier.

What is behind the TD initiative? What do they have in mind. It’s all a bit vague.


 

Dear Sir / Madam

As a resident of South Lantau, I do not believe that it makes any sense to allow general vehicle access to South Lantau road.

The roads are too narrow and winding to allow more traffic – especially:

  1. from the circle at the bottom of Tung Chung Road to Mui Wo, and
  2. from Shek Pik to Tai O.

This is just inviting calamity and danger.

And for drivers who do not know to look out for feral cows and water buffalo, this will be a real hazard. Any accident causes major delays are there are no alternate routes.

I believe that a far better solution is:

– more frequent fast ferries on the weekends

– more frequent busses on the weekends.

– a park and ride parking area in Tung Chung that connects drivers with busses

There is insufficient parking to accommodate additional drivers – especially at the beaches and other “tourist” destinations.

Please do not proceed with this plan.


 

If I read the TD’s proposal correctly, they seem to think that there’s plenty of parking during the weekdays. This shows they haven’t tried hard to understand the situation. There’s parking (well, ILLEGAL parking) available in villages during weekdays, but that’s because many cars have been moved to Mui Wo. TD needs to know (because obviously they haven’t bothered to look) that Mui Wo is absolutely overwhelmed with cars during day. There’s no longer any room on the pavements even, least of all on the streets (all of which is illegal parking, of course). There’s just nowhere to park. So, unless their weirdly assume that all 50 cars and busses will NOT go to Mui Wo, you might ask them whether they plan to build a parking garage there before this new policy goes into effect. And could they at least get agreement from the parking wardens not to do sweeps every few months? Those just make people angry; there’s no option but to park illegally. The same will apply to the 50 new cars.

Also, who will take responsibility for the inevitable accidents? It’s already hazardous enough driving on the S Lantau Road — hazardous to cars, to be sure, but also hazardous to pedestrians, dogs, buffalo and so forth. It’s scary to think that, ON TOP OF ALL THE NEW CARS DRIVEN BY NEW RESIDENTS (just a few new houses finishing up in Shap Long will result in about 20 new cars — because each house is being made into three flats), there will be 50 virgin drivers of cars plus more speedy bus drivers. It’s just not a good idea.

While you talk to them, maybe you could ask why Anthony Cheung cannot use his supposed expertise in public administration to get Housing (which approves the village houses, I think) and Transport (which approves the road permits) too talk to each other. The former should know that the latter will approve up to three permits per house. Where will all these cars park when they go to Mui Wo to catch the ferry, shop, etc.?

In short, I hope you muster all the arguments you can to oppose this plan. But they’ll do it anyway, I’m sure…


 

Dear Sir / Madam

Proposals for Relaxation of Traffic Restrictions to promote Tourism and other Development in South Lantau – Your Ref L/M to TD NR 146/169-4

With regards to your letter, dated 3 July 2015, regarding proposals to relax the current traffic restrictions and closed road permit arrangements for South Lantau Island, I am writing to submit my commentary, as a resident of Mui Wo, South Lantau Island, N.T.

The road network in South Lantau is predominantly of a single carriage way nature, with significant ‘bends’, steep inclines / declines, and limited road distance visibility, in a substantially rural and remote country-park area. For example, Tung Chung Road involves a climb and descent of up to 1000 feet for vehicles.

Given the current physical limitations of car parking availability and the limited capacity and questionable safety record of the roads in South Lantau (notably South Lantau Road, Tai O Road, and Tung Chung Road), at present, it would be inappropriate to relax the current traffic restrictions and Lantau closed road permit arrangements, until extensive further capacity expansion and safety improvements have been made to these roads.

I therefore strongly recommend to the Commissioner for Transport that the Transport Department instead considers, as a matter of urgency, increasing the number of Lantau Island (Blue) Taxi permits from the current 50 licences to 250 licences, as a means of providing increased transport capacity within Lantau Island to support any efforts in increasing tourism and other development in South Lantau.

Furthermore, I would strongly advise the Transport Department to work closely with the New Lantau Bus Co., (1973) Ltd and New World First Ferry Services Limited, in increasing the capacity and frequency of Lantau Island bus and Lantau Island ferry services (Central – Mui Wo), respectively, to support the aforementioned increased tourism efforts. Where appropriate, the Transport Department may be able to provide financial incentives and subsidies to both firms, in order for them to assistant them in providing increased capacity.

Thank you for the consultation and I look forward to hearing from you.


 

Hi Lims,

Comments are as follows:

Relaxation can’t be done without infrastructure improvements. Including parking spaces and widening of the road with more pull over passing places.

With respect to parking the survey done by the transport department says 75% free during the week. But fails to mention that it was an observed snap shot of parking during the day light hours. The reality is the parking is over subscribed as soon as it hits 7 or 8 pm and remains so until about 8 am the next morning. With respect to Pui O you also have big busses occupying non-designated parking spots further compounding the lack of parking especially at night. Therefore the extra private vehicles will put pressure on the over subscribed parking spots from 6 pm to 8 am. Also parking in Mui Wo is packed after 8 am and remains so near the business district and ferry pier until the early evening.

For villages like Pui O car parking spots both illegal and designated are over subscribed. Some locals have taken it on them selves to impose self claimed parking bays with violence or vandalism being the result if you unwittingly park in those bays. The vandalism serves as a reminder to not park there again. These social ills are a result of the lack of parking infrastructure. This is also bringing about illegal activities of controlling parking spots on government land and in some cases charging to park in these illegally controlled spots . Some people own the land and charge for parking but will only take cash with no transfer or bank records so one assumes it’s not an income being claimed to the IRD. relaxing the restrictions will only encourage more vandalism aggression and illegal charging of parking.  People do not park in the designated bays with meters as they occasionally get fines, the preference is for parking illegally in non designated bays and further puts pressure on the pedestrian access areas as cars frequently partially obstruct these pedestrian zones. I doubt the relaxation will see an improvement to the lack of infrastructure that is described above and will only make it worse. Sure at 11am during the week it looks like 100 more cars and busses can be supported but the reality when residents return back to their homes in an evening that is when the capacity available is at its worst.

Villages like Pui O are so restricted in parking that some villagers are deciding to park in Ham Tin village and walk across the Buffaloes field. This inconvenience to them is a Small price to pay to avoid the vandalism and illegal charging. But it is just merely spreading the problem to Ham tin that never before had parking issues but is now gripped by similar problems big villages of Pui O face where parking is not available in the evenings and residents are required to squeeze their cars into awkward spots that would hider access to emergency vehicles should a fire break out etc. this is a big safety concern and one that can not be afforded with the current level of infrastructure.

Therefore if additional permits were to be granted it would have to be only daylight permits from say 9 am to 6 pm for private cars. They would need an electric auto toll system to record those cars with permits and to fine those that are outside these requirements rather than rely on police random yet irregular checks. This would enforce compliance and prevent the many illegal road runners that currently drive without permits.

Additionally Lims should push both the lands department and the transport department for allocation in all key villages for increased free parking for residents. With the public transport system being inadequate for these remote villages it would be advisable to look at the change in demographics and the fact that before it was usually locals that lived and worked within South Lantau. With housing affordability driving more city workers out to Lantau Island this brings with it a required reliance on vehicles for mobility. Now it seems 80% of residential dwellings seem to have at least one car. Before that average seemed to be about 50%. With the significant amount of building that has also taken up areas that used to park numerous cars being utilised for housing the infrastructure for parking has been exhausted. No more housing should be granted until this issue has been solved. Just take a look at Mui Wo where cars are parked all over the place. This is not acceptable in any other part of the world and Hong Kong should stop taking such a short sighted view and attitude that it’s not this departments job to consider such things. Everything needs to be coordinated if we are to avoid big problems in the future. It’s time to sort this out now rather than be another Sai Kung where it’s physically impossible to drive on a Sunday afternoon as the road becomes a giant 3 km/ hr slow moving car park from the hours of 3 pm to 8 pm.


 

I have the following points to make

Road System

That of South Lantau are the basics to meet the requirement of villagers/residents and the essential services.  I doubt if it is ever intended for urban-like volume of traffic.  Thus we have dual carriageways only on arteries, in essence, South Lantau Rd and its extensions (Tai O Rd, Keung Shan Rd etc.).  Access to the plentiful of villages, monasteries and beaches, are mostly, if not all, single-lane two-way, a challenge to average urban drivers.  But these remote spots will be precisely where visitors/tourists are flocking and I doubt if the current system can cope. A mishap on a village path can clog up the whole vicinity which may unwittingly cause local resentment.

Parking

There are only limited on street parking on the South.  Situation in Mui Wo is at present already getting out of hand whilst Pui O, Tong Fuk and Shui Hau are struggling, with nearly all open wasteland improvised and squeezed up.  An increase in the number of vehicles allowed in would certainly further exacerbate this problem.  Would-be permit holders would have problems stopping over for a relief, let alone parking.

Tung Chung Road

A superbly designed roadway with bus-bays and passing places.  It has a panoramic view all way through but unfortunately no vantage points are provided for, say, photo breaks or rest out.  Visiting drivers will naturally be tempted to make use of bus/passing bays and that would have an adverse effect on smooth traffic flow.

Unless and until a revamp of these areas, South Lantau is far from ready for opening up.

Proposal for Relaxation of Traffic Restrictions on South Lantau

i Jul 10th 2 Comments by

The Transport Department (TD) is conducting a review of the traffic situation on South Lantau and is proposing a relaxation on the number of permits for vehicles entering South Lantau.  These are referred to as the Lantau Closed Road Permits (LCRP)

LCRP Relaxation_Consultation_Others_Letter

 

They have asked LIM, along with other Green Groups, for comments before 22 July 2015.  It does not seem like they will be asking the public for comments so we are sharing the TD information incase the public would like to make a submission, which can be made by emailing STO-IS-TONTD@td.gov.hk

There is a cover letter and then the TD proposal which has already been submitted to the Islands District Council (Eng and Chi).

In June 2013 LIM posted about the road safety on South Lantau roads – http://www.livingislands.org.hk/2013/06/16/road-safety-on-south-lantau/

AGM and social gathering on Fri 27 Feb

i Feb 23rd No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends,

We warmly invite and encourage you to attend Living Islands Movement AGM:

Date:  Friday 27 February
Time:  Networking from 6pm, with the formal meeting starting at 6.30 pm
Place:  Cafe 8, Roof Level, Maritime Museum, Pier 8, Central (take lift from ground level)

The current development plans for South Lantau are wide-ranging and potentially even more damaging than the proposed siting of the incinerator near Shek Kwu Chau.

We would like to hear your views on how LIM should position itself for future development on South Lantau.  We will also discuss the wetland crisis in Pui O (and beyond); local waste management; and the constant traffic and bovine issues.

The current Committee Members consider the following items are likely to be the focus for the year ahead:

1. East Lantau Metropolis (ELM)
2. Road straightening / improvements
3. Driving Permits for South Lantau.
4. Mui Wo Face Lift (current and future phases)
5. Marine Park south of Lantau Island
6. Waste management (including Incinerator)
7. Wetlands degradation in Pui O and elsewhere

Please come along and share your views during the formal part of the meeting and over drinks afterwards!

Living Islands Movement thanks the Maritime Museum (Pier 8, Central) for its generous hospitality in hosting this event.  There will be a cash bar and the regular menu of snacks and light meals will be available.

We hope you are having a good Chinese New Year holiday and we look forward to seeing you at the AGM on Fri 27 Feb from 6pm.

The LIM Committee

No Planning Dept or EPD reps to be at Islands District Council

i Jan 26th No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends

Update about Monday’s meeting – unlikely that Planning Department or Environmental Bureau representatives will attend the meeting.

The District Councillors have received written responses to Amy Yung’s questions so it is unlikely that government

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officials will attend the meeting in person on:

  • Islands District Council – Monday 26 January 2015, 2.00 pm – 14/F Harbour Building, Pier Row, Central

Here are the official responses by:

Below are the details if you still plan to attend the meeting.

Islands District Council – Monday 26 January 2015, 2.00 pm – 14/F Harbour Building, Pier Row, Central

Amy Yung, the District Councillor for Discovery Bay, has requested the attendance of Environment Bureau, Environment Protection Department and Planning Department to explain the relevant consultation procedures that were undertaken to gain consent from nearby residents for the incinerator near Shek Kwu Chau.

Amy’s request will be enhanced by a strong show of support from South Lantau – so do please make every effort to attend. With District Council elections taking place later this year, it’s a good opportunity to indicate our views to District Councillors seeking re-election.

With other future devastating developments already slated for South Lantau, it’s also an opportunity for us to demonstrate the need for early public consultation and engagement with South Lantau residents.

Amy’s question is about the (lack of) public consultation on the incinerator.

It is on the meeting Agenda for Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries and Environmental Hygiene Committee:
http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/island/doc/common/committee_meetings_agenda/TAFEHC/2015/TAagd0115.pdf

Amy’s Question (Chinese):
http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/island/doc/common/committee_meetings_doc/TAFEHC/2015/26-1-2015/IS_TAFEHC_08_2015_TC.pdf

Amy’s Question (English):
http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/island/doc/common/committee_meetings_doc/TAFEHC/2015/26-1-2015/IS_TAFEHC_08_2015_EN.pdf

It is likely that Amy’s question will be raised to the appropriate government departments at about 2.30 pm. Simultaneous translation to English has been arranged.

Some members of the LIM Committee may still take the 12.50 ferry from Mui Wo, arriving at Pier 6 at 1.20 pm, along with our usual placards and banners (at Amy’s request).

The Islands District Council meeting takes place on 14/F, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Row, Central (about 10 minutes walk from Pier 6).

We strongly encourage your support!

Regards
The LIM Committee

Join EPD for site visit of the Pui O Wetland

i Jan 22nd No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends,

HELP – SAVE OUR WETLANDS !!!

Site visit with the EPD and other relevant departments set for this Friday 23rd (tomorrow) from 2:30pm to 3:30pm.

Meet at the all-weather football pitch Pui O.

As we mentioned in the first email of this year (on 10 Jan 2015) there is New Dumping on the Pui O Wetland which has been bought to the attention of a number of government departments, including EPD.

Their responses to date have been rather disappointing and as mentioned we continue to look at options, in conjunction with other locals and interest groups.

Having a good number of people turning up at the meeting tomorrow (Fri) will show the Government officials that protecting our wetlands is important.

The purpose of the site visit is to have a candid exchange of views between the concerned departments and the complainants.  The representatives of the departments will take the liberty to explain the actions that have been or will be taken in resolving the complaints; and answer any questions that the complainants may have.

Regards
The LIM Committee

Two events for your diary – Islands District Council and LIM AGM

i Jan 19th No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends

Please save two important dates at which your attendance would be strongly appreciated:

  • Islands District Council – Monday 26 January 2015, 2.00 pm – 14/F Harbour Building, Pier Row, Central
  • Living Islands Movement AGM – Friday 27 February, 6.00 pm, Maritime Museum

Below are the details.

1.  Islands District Council – Monday 26 January 2015, 2.00 pm – 14/F Harbour Building, Pier Row, Central

Amy Yung, the District Councillor for Discovery Bay, has requested the attendance of Environment Bureau, Environment Protection Department and Planning Department to explain the relevant consultation procedures that were undertaken to gain consent from nearby residents for the incinerator near Shek Kwu Chau.

Amy’s request will be enhanced by a strong show of support from South Lantau – so do please make every effort to attend.  With District Council elections taking place later this year, it’s a good opportunity to indicate our views to District Councillors seeking re-election.

With other future devastating developments already slated for South Lantau, it’s also an opportunity for us to demonstrate the need for early public consultation and engagement with South Lantau residents.

Amy’s question is about the (lack of) public consultation on the incinerator.

It is on the meeting Agenda for Tourism, Agriculture, Fisheries and Environmental Hygiene Committee:
http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/island/doc/common/committee_meetings_agenda/TAFEHC/2015/TAagd0115.pdf

Amy’s Question (Chinese):
http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/island/doc/common/committee_meetings_doc/TAFEHC/2015/26-1-2015/IS_TAFEHC_08_2015_TC.pdf

Amy’s Question (English):
http://www.districtcouncils.gov.hk/island/doc/common/committee_meetings_doc/TAFEHC/2015/26-1-2015/IS_TAFEHC_08_2015_EN.pdf

It is likely that Amy’s question will be raised to the appropriate government departments at about 2.30 pm.  Simultaneous translation to English has been arranged.

Members of the LIM Committee will take the 12.50 ferry from Mui Wo, arriving at Pier 6 at 1.20 pm, along with our usual placards and banners (at Amy’s request).

The Islands District Council meeting takes place on 14/F, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Row, Central (about 10 minutes walk from Pier 6).

We strongly encourage your support!

2.  Living Islands Movement AGM – Friday 27 February, 6.00 pm, Maritime Museum

We warmly encourage you to attend LIM’s AGM on Friday 27 February at 6.00 pm, at Cafe 8 in the Maritime Museum, Pier 8, Central.

In addition to providing an update on current issues, including:

  • new potential developments affecting South Lantau
  • the wetlands crisis
  • waste management issues

we also plan this to be a social occasion in a convivial environment for our members and friends.

More details will follow.

Regards
The LIM Committee

Happy New Year + updates on Funding for Incinerator

i Jan 13th No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends,

Happy New Year and all the best for 2015.

Two items to share with you:

  • Incinerator funding update
  • AGM on Fri 27 Feb

Incinerator

Well, our first newsletter for 2015 does not bring good news on the topic of the Shek Kwu Chau Incinerator.  The Finance Committee of LegCo approved the funding of it at its meeting on Friday 9 January.

Living Islands Movement (LIM) is very disappointed with the overall approach that the Government has taken to Waste Management, and will continue to campaign for radical improvements.

While the community has provided multiple options on how to reduce the volume of waste through better use of our:

  • existing waste collection facilities (rubbish and recycling),
  • landfill sites, and
  • the community recycling centres.
The Environment Bureau has continued to discount/ignore them along with suggestions of :
  • better separation of waste at source,
  • trialing of automated waste sorting, and
  • establishing trials for modern waste to energy technology

The costs for this project are incredibly high, and far exceed those for similar facilities in other parts of the world.

We believe that the major flaw in the Environment Bureau’s approach is its unwillingness to address and solve the fundamental problem of waste separation and recycling.  It continues to take the easy way out by just installing more waste disposal facilities like landfills and now an incinerator.

For at least the past 10 years, the EPD has never had a program to separate waste at source, the foundation of any effective recycling program.  It still does not have a meaningful waste separation program and we hope that is rectified long before an new incinerator may be in operation.

There have been many side promises made by Government during the process of planning an incinerator (what the Government calls an Integrated Waste Management Facility) on a new artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau.

It is time that the government delivered on promises such as:

  • Creating a Marine Park around the Soko Islands
  • Preparing a Strategic Waste Facilities Study
  • Piloting New Technology

There now seem to be few if any new avenues for us to pursue that might help stop the SKC Incinerator, but we continue to consult with other groups to see what might yet be done. We would love to hear any ideas that members may have.

AGM

Looking ahead, the AGM for LIM is going to be held on the evening of Fri 27 February at Café 8 next to the Maritime Museum at Pier 8.  We are trying a new approach to hosting the AGM and will send further details in a separate email.

To finish, two other quick updates:

  • we have been looking into what the committee would like to focus on during 2015 and are preparing to send a list out to members to get their feedback and further suggestions.
  • New Dumping on the Pui O Wetland has been bought to the attention of a number of government departments, including EPD.  Their response to date has been rather disappointing so we are looking at options that might require your help.

So 2015 is going to be a fun year again for promoting Sustainable Island Living and we look forward to having your support.

Regards
The LIM Committee

Dumping on Pui O Wetland

i Dec 31st No Comments by

We all know that there has been a long history of slowly filling in the wetlands around Pui O. Unfortunately a new round is underway and there is an active group of

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people trying to ensure EPD does the right thing – which is to protect this area by updating the planning rules. While we wait for EPD to do this we hope they will stop issuing permits to dump fill on farming/wetland areas.

Since early December one new area of dumping near the football pitch on the way to the beach has been reported to EPD. While EPD visited the day after the first report we are still waiting 3 weeks later for a meaningful response. So LIM has written a letter to EPD (LIM Letter to EPD about Pui O dumping – 20141230) and we have also been told that it will be another 15 working days before they will provide a substantive reply.

LIM Letter to EPD about Pui O dumping - 20141230 p1

Mui Wo Facelift Phase 1 begins

i Oct 27th No Comments by

aerial photo_phase 1 works

You may have noticed that the long-awaited Mui Wo Facelift is at last getting underway – http://www.cedd.gov.hk/eng/projects/major/nt/hki7414ro.html

Last week, LIM met with CEDD Senior Engineer C K Lam, who is in charge of the Phase I works, to find out more details. He presented us with a summary document which is loaded on the LIM Website.

Phase I will be in full swing by the end of the year and is scheduled to last until September 2016. It consists of:

  1. Waterfront Promenade. A cantilevered walkway and refurbished cycle track on the existing footpath.
  2. Bridge across River Silver. The existing bridge will be more than doubled in width and split into pedestrian and cycle lanes.
  3. Civic Square. A recreation precinct with children’s playground and facilities for the elderly, and a performance precinct
  4. Village amenity areas.

The village amenities and children’s playground are to be completed within one year, the rest of the works will proceed concurrently to the end of the project.

Unfortunately, there will be some inconvenience to pedestrians along the Waterfront as the existing promenade will have to be closed during construction of the cantilevered walkway. The planting out areas alongside will be temporarily paved over to provide a narrow 1.5m path for pedestrians in the meantime. However, none of the existing trees will be disturbed except for a small section near the cooked food market.  Cyclists will have to use the main road or the path on the other side of Ngan Kwong Wan Road that runs through the Chinese restaurants on the hill.

Incidentally, this sewage works on this section of the road are almost finished, but will continue in the section down to the Fire Station.

Finally, we were informed that Phase IIA should be gazetted in late 2015. This will consist mainly of re-provisioning and expansion of Car Parking facilities in the area around the back of the old Mui Wo Secondary School. This may help relieve some of the current parking issues in the Ferry Pier area, but not in the Old Town area.

If you have any additional questions or comments we would be glad to pass them on to CEDD.

Best wishes
LIM Committee

Open Letter to Mrs Carrie Lam

i Oct 9th No Comments by

Subject: New Inter-departmental co-operation in the planning and implementation of a comprehensive waste management policy urgently required
Date: 2014-10-08 23:39
From: info@livingislands.org.hk
To: cso@cso.gov.hk
Cc: ceo@ceo.gov.hkexco@ceo.gov.hkfso@fso.gov.hkdojinfo@doj.gov.hkscsoffice@csb.gov.hkcmabenq@cmab.gov.hk,edbcomp@edb.gov.hkenquiry@enb.gov.hkenquiry@fhb.gov.hkhab@hab.gov.hkenquiry@lwb.gov.hkenquiry@thb.gov.hk,plc@legco.gov.hkenquiry@aud.gov.hklandsd@landsd.gov.hk

Dear Mrs Lam

The Environment Bureau is proposing to expand landfills and build an incinerator to dispose of Hong Kong’s waste, and claims that these measures along with waste-charging will reduce the per capita waste generated by 40% by 2022. We understand that the Finance Committee will vote on the proposal in October. We would like to bring this critical matter to your attention as it will affect Hong Kong in the decades to come.

A comprehensive sustainable waste management policy must be based on an integrated programme of waste sorting, separating and recycling. Such a programme requires the co-operation and commitment of the three departments concerned: the Environmental Protection Department, Housing Department, and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

You already are aware of the dysfunction and inefficiency of civil service bureaucracy that hinders cross-departmental co-operation essential in the implementation of your policies and you made a personal commitment on this and chair an inter-departmental committee to address this issue. However, there is no evidence of any such inter-departmental co-operation in the planning and implementation of a comprehensive waste management policy based on waste sorting, separating and recycling.

As a result, the Environmental Bureau planning effort in the last ten years has been dedicated only to the expansion of landfills and the construction of an incinerator based on outdated polluting technology that will cost the Hong Kong taxpayer between 100% and 300% more than comparable installations elsewhere.

In municipalities around the world, every successful waste reduction effort has been accompanied by a comprehensive programme to separate and sort waste at or near source into recyclable and non-recyclable waste.  Without such a programme, expanding the landfills and constructing incinerators will not adequately deal with the increasing amount of waste. While waste-charging can help, as in Seoul and Taipei, the success of this strategy is based on having comprehensive measures in place to sort and separate waste so that recyclable and non-recyclable waste can be transported to their respective destinations.

In the past 10 years, no such comprehensive sorting and separation of waste has been seriously investigated for Hong Kong, nor is it in the Environment Bureau’s current plan. Without such a programme, waste management is confined to putting an increasing volume of waste in landfills and incinerator(s). This is not a sustainable strategy. While the Environment Bureau’s plan requires an 8-year lead time before the proposed incinerator is operational in 2022, comprehensive waste sorting and separation can be established in much less time and at far lower cost than the $18 billion needed for the incinerator and $9 billion for expanding the three landfills. As this waste sorting and separation infrastructure is developed, along with waste-charging, the goal of reducing Hong Kong’s per capita waste by 40% would be achievable.

In summary, our recommendation is:
1.   Withdraw the current proposals for landfills expansion and construction of an incinerator.
2.   Develop a comprehensive waste sorting and separation programme to be operational in 2018.
3.   Implement a waste-charging scheme in 2020.
4.   At each current landfill site, build facilities for waste sorting and recycling, along with appropriate thermal technology to dispose of residual waste.

With inter-departmental cooperation, these goals are achievable. This strategy will lead to a sustainable and holistic programme for waste management for Hong Kong, matching if not exceeding that in Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Europe. Proceeding along the current plan advocated by the Environmental Bureau is essentially a status quo approach in which the current waste crisis is postponed to the next administration when more landfills and incinerators will be needed.

Yours sincerely,
Dr Merrin Pearse

On behalf of the Committee and Members of the Living Islands Movement
http://www.livingislands.org.hk