Campaigns

Joint Group Statement – Pui O Wetland Judicial Review on Tuesday from 10am

i Sep 26th 1 Comment by

Dear Media,

Press Release – 26 September 2016

Pui O Wetland Judicial Review on Tuesday from 10am
Joint Group Statement

On Tuesday 27 September at 10am, the High Court will hear what could be a ground-breaking Judicial Review probing the Government’s obligation to prevent the destruction of beautiful wetland habitat from the dumping of construction rubble by private landowners.

In this instance local people living close to the Pui O wetlands on Lantau Island have brought the action to try and prevent the destruction of precious wetland habitat, home to rare and semi-rare wetland plants, amphibians, butterflies, migratory birds and Hong Kong’s last feral herd of water buffalo.

Local people first noticed the construction of illegal vehicle access ramps, built from construction rubble, nearly 2 years ago. Next followed 20 tonne trucks that brought load after load of concrete, brick, tiles, containing amongst other things, corroded batteries, solvents and paints, and proceeded to dump them right in the middle of pristine wetland meadow, which hitherto, had been untouched for 40 years.

Both local people and visitors alike were incredulous and immediately called the Government hotline to report the dumping, fully expecting the relevant departments to react by removing the rubble and prosecuting those responsible.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. The Lands Department eventually removed the illegal vehicle access ramps, after continuing pressure from local concern groups but the Environmental Protection Department said that the dumping of rubble in the wetland meadows was legal. Even worse, the Director of Environmental Protection had been informed about it in advance and had given tacit permission through something called an ‘acknowledgement’ system, introduced as part of the amended Waste Disposal Ordinance in 2014. When pushed on this point the current Director of Environmental Protection said that he has absolutely no discretion to stop such dumping no matter how ecologically important the land is.

This appears to be yet another example of the Government giving precedence to the special interests of rural kingpins over the needs of all other Hong Kongers.

If the court upholds the Government’s position then it spells potential disaster for any piece of ecologically important land which is in private hands.

Green groups across the territory anxiously await the outcome of the case, heard before judge Thomas Au.

Signed by (in alphabetical order)

– Ark Eden
– Designing Hong Kong
– Friends of Hoi Ha
– Friends of the Earth (HK)
– Green Lantau Association
– Green Power
– Hong Kong Outdoors
– Lantau Buffalo Association
– Living Islands Movement
– Living Lamma
– Plastic Free Seas
– Protection of Animals Lantau South (P.A.L.S)
– Society of Hong Kong Nature Explorers
– Tai O Community Cattle Group
– The Conservancy Association
– The Green Earth
– The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
– WWF-Hong Kong

—- Press Release Ends —–

Any media queries please contact Living Islands Representatives (info@livingislands.org.hk):
– Martin Lerigo (6392 9432)
– Merrin Pearse (9156 9573)
– Roy Ng (9558 9350) for Chinese enquires

Further information on the 4 points of law that the Pui O Wetlands JR will challenge the Government on can be found at http://www.livingislands.org.hk/2016/08/09/pui-o-wetlands-jr-will-challenge-the-government-on-four-points-of-law/

Living Islands Movement (www.livingislands.org.hk/) is a non-affiliated, local group dedicated to the sustainable environment of Hong Kong’s outlying islands – with a focus on Lantau. LIM is made up entirely of volunteers. All money raised through donations and membership fees goes directly into funding campaigns.

Information on the Signature Project for Silvermine Beach

i Aug 26th No Comments by
Silvermine Bay Signature Project

Artists impression of upgraded facilities

From: belinda_yy_chong@had.gov.hk

Subject: RE: Information on the Signature Project for Silvermine Beach
Date: 26 August 2016 at 7:07:12 PM HKT
To: info@livingislands.org.hk
Cc: isdcadm@isdc.had.gov.hk

Dear Dr Pearse,

We refer to your enquiry dated 1 August 2016 requesting information related to the Signature Project in Mui Wo .

Background
The Chief Executive announced in his 2013 Policy Address that a one-off provision of $100 million would be earmarked for each district to initiate project(s) under the Signature Project Scheme (SPS).  The project(s) should address local needs or highlight the characteristics of the district, and have a visible and lasting impact in the community.  The Islands District Council (IsDC) has decided to implement two projects under the SPS, i.e.

  1. “Improvement Works at Silvermine Bay Beach,Mui Wo, Lantau Island” (the SMB Project); and
  2. “Yung Shue Wan Library cum Heritage and Cultural Showroom, Lamma Island”.

SMB Project
Mui Wo used to be a major tourist destination on Lantau Island and a transportation hub for visitors to other parts of Lantau Island.  Since the development of Tung Chung, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car system and the new Tung Chung Road, the number of visitors going to Mui Wo has significantly declined.  The local community in Mui Wo is keen to rejuvenate Mui Wo as a leisure rural township.

In this regard, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is implementing the “Improvement Works at Mui Wo” project by phases in the town centre area of Mui Wo, particularly in the area from the ferry pier leading to the Silvermine Bay (SMB) Beach.  Phase 1 of the improvement works has already started in July 2014 with a target completion date in end-2016.

Among the various scenic spots in Mui Wo, the SMB Beach is the most well-known tourist attraction.  Since the SMB Beach has become a gazetted beach in the 1960s, small-scale improvement or repair works have been carried out for the beach facilities.  However, the overall design and the facilities are dated and aged.  More importantly, the existing facilities on the beach are inadequate to serve the large number of visitors during the swimming seasons and major annual events such as the Mui Wo Dragon Boat Race and the SMB Music Festival.

Riding on CEDD’s “Improvement Works at Mui Wo” project which will enhance the environment and attractiveness of Mui Wo town centre, IsDC has decided to implement the SMB Project as one of the SPS projects of Islands District, with a view to rejuvenating the SMB Beach and achieving synergy with CEDD’s project in boosting the number of visitors to Mui Wo.

After formal endorsement at the IsDC meeting in April 2013, a public forum was held in October 2013 to introduce the background and the scope of the SMB Project which received very positive feedback.  In addition, a public briefing was held in November 2014 to brief the local community on the proposed layout and architectural designs of the project.  Apart from indicating their support, attendees of the two public consultation activities urged for early implementation of the project.  IsDC endorsed the layout and architectural designs for the project in December 2014.

The proposed scope of works under the SMB Project includes –

  1. demolition of the existing beach service buildings;
  2. construction of new beach buildings and associated beach facilities with an approximate construction floor area (CFA) of 938 square metres (m2);
  3. construction of new barbeque pit area and sitting-out area; and
  4. construction of a viewing deck near the entrance to the beach.

A site plan, floor plans and artist’s impression of the SMB Project are attached as Annexes 1 to 3 respectively.

The SMB Project will adopt a modern design for the beach facilities and buildings as well as the viewing deck, fostering the relaxing atmosphere of holiday resorts.  After completion of the SMB Project, the facilities on the beach, such as changing rooms, toilet cubicles and BBQ pits, will be significantly enhanced.  The proposed viewing deck near the seashore at the entrance to the beach will provide an excellent place for visitors to enjoy the scenery of the SMB and to watch the annual major event – Mui Wo Dragon Boat Race.

The proposed works are expected to commence in late 2016 for completion in 2018.

Here is a link to the Site Plan, Floor plans and artisit’s impression of the SMB Project

 

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/)

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.