Urgent: Super-Incinerator

i Oct 22nd No Comments by

We are anticipating that the Environment Impact Assessment for siting Hong Kong’s super incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau could be re-issued any day. From that moment, there will be a very short time frame in which to make objections.

We therefore encourage all members and friends to send letters to the press and government voicing their objections immediately. The more letters received, the greater the impact.

To aid your effort, we have produced:

1. A set of the issues that led to the decision to build an incinerator and the selection

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of Shek Kwu Chau for its site. Please adapt any of these points as you wish.

2. A list of appropriate government officials and media contacts, along with their addresses. Please also send letters to any other contacts that you may have – media or government.


Issues – MS Word Issues – Text file Contacts – MS Word Contacts – Text file


Many thanks for your support in maintaining the pressure on the Government to reconsider their ill-advised decision on the Super Incinerator.

— The LIM Committee




Super-Incinerator: Public Meeting

i Sep 9th No Comments by

Around 120 residents turned out to a public meeting called by LIM on August 27 to oppose the construction of a “super-incinerator” on unspoilt Shek Kwu Chau.

LIM, which led the successful campaign against a decision to build a super-prison on Hei Ling Chau in 2004, argued its case against the super-incinerator.

In particular, it opposes locating it on Shek Kwu Chau, an island

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occupied primarily by the drug rehab charity, SARDA, and within view of Cheung Chau and the beaches and coastline of South Lantau.

LIM urged residents to join the “no” campaign on the grounds that:

1. Hong Kong needs to improve its pitiful general waste management methods before resorting to widespread incineration which won’t address the underlying waste problem.

2. The Ash Lagoons at the already degraded site in Tsang Tsui, over a hilly range from Tsuen Mun, are a cheaper, more efficient and logical choice.

There is already infrastructure with Black Point power station plus road access.

No land reclamation would be required and therefore it would be much quicker and cheaper to build there than at Shek Kwu Chau.

3. The Tsang Tsui choice would have an impact on fewer people — the lagoons are shielded by three mountain ranges and are more than six km from the nearest population cluster, Tsuen Mun.

4. Shek Kwu Chau is only three km away across open seas from densely populated Cheung Chau.

Ominously, government documents refer to the proposed incinerator as “the first” incinerator which implies the Hong Kong government expects to burn its way out of its waste management problem rather than addressing the root cause of the problem.

Despite citing the obvious advantages of selecting Tsang Tsui over Shek Kwu Chau, government documentation and plans plumped for Shek Kwu Chau at the earliest stage, suggesting a done deal.

August 27, 2011. Mui Wo Sports Centre. Photo by Steve Knipp. Click to enlarge.

Reproduced with permission from

Super-Incinerator: Politics

i Aug 27th No Comments by

The Strange Workings of the Hong Kong Government

By Mark Parlett

In this day and age how could a government decide that the only solution to its escalating waste problems is not to recycle but to despoil one of its few areas of natural beauty by building a mammoth waste incinerator right in the middle of it?

This is not even because, despite Hong Kong’s legendary lack of space, there are no alternatives.  There is an alternative site in an already denuded area that would be quicker and probably cheaper (we will come to that later) to build.

It is also next to an existing facility to process the residual ash and a power station for connecting the power generated into the grid.

The two sites in question are Tsang Tsui Ash lagoons, an industrial site to the north of Tsuen Mun and Shek Kwu Chau an unspoilt island lying between Lantau and Cheung Chau facing Lantau’s beautiful holiday beaches.

So what is their reasoning? The corner stone of their argument is the unique concept of “geographical balance” as proposed by the secretary for the environment Mr. Edward Yau Tang-wah.

This unusual idea is that having despoiled large parts of the territory already it is only “fair” to go and despoil the rest of it so that everybody in Hong Kong suffers equally.

By the same logic Tokyo municipal authorities, who the Hong Kong officials have visited, would have built their incinerator in the Kamakura resort area rather than on the already denuded industrial sight in Tokyo bay they did choose.

Then the second argument is that SKC is slightly closer to the refuse transfer stations in Kowloon and Hong Kong even claiming this will reduce the carbon foot print of the scheme.

However in order to make this appear significant they had to include an unsubstantiated amount of extra land transportation for Tsang Tsui.

Other arguments include proximity to “major” population clusters.  Apparently the people of Chung Chau and Southern Lantau do not constitute a “major” population cluster where as the people of Tsuen Mun do.

But then in the same paragraph the EPD is quick to point out that there won’t be any harmful emissions anyway.

So if the second point is true then it should not matter if the incinerator was placed in central Hong Kong?

In short if the incinerator does generate hazardous emissions then it does not matter if it endangers the health of ten or ten thousand people both are equally un-acceptable. And if it is not hazardous then it doesn’t matter how close it is, to however many people.

While denying that there will be any emissions they point out that the prevailing wind for most of the year blows out to sea at SKC this in fact is true for both sites.

However for three months of the year this is reversed (Hong Kong observatory data) then the non- existent emissions will be blown directly in to the houses of the pore residents of Cheung Chau.

In the case TTAL however there is one of Hong Kong’s highest peaks between the site and the nearest downwind population centre of Tsuen Mun.

The final argument is one of “economic synergy” in the sense that the building and operation of the incinerator will provide some economic benefit to the residence of Cheung Chau.

Naturally the residents of Tsang Tsui would receive the same benefits so this argument could favour either site. Oddly neither the residents of Cheung Chua nor Tsang Tsui appear to be rushing to receive this huge economic windfall.

This is the extent of the governments published reasoning, there are however quite a few omissions from this.

The first of these is that all of the above was carried out without any knowledge or consideration of cost.

A spokesman for the EPD said that full costs for SKC will be available by the end of this year. But when pushed over would the full costs for the alternative TTAL site also be available he could not categorically confirm they would.

So the decision has been made in complete disregard of the relevant costs. I guess something only a government with bulging coffers such as ours can do.

Independent estimates vary between 33% and 300% more expensive to use SKC rather TTAL.

Another factor that did not apparently merit consideration is that according to the EPDs own estimates building at SKC will take at least 2 years longer to build which is two years after the capacity of all existing landfill will be exhausted.

Despite being the environmental protection agency they admit that the reclamation needed for the SKC site will cause loss of habitat and endanger the lives of the finless Porpoises that inhabit the area but deem this as acceptable without mentioning there would be no loss of habitat or damage to rare species if they chose TTAL instead.

Nor is there any mention of the negative economic impact on the tourist industry as the facility would be clearly visible from all the beaches of South Lantau.

So why has the government done such a shabby job of managing the waste issues in the first place and then if it is inevitable that Hong Kong has to have an incinerator choosing such a inappropriate site for it?

The first is a much bigger question requiring a lot more space than available here. For the second, one clue may lie in the wording of some of the documents regarding the super incinerator (Integrated waste management facility).

In many documents but by no means all the EPD refer to this as Hong Kong’s first Integrated Waste Management Facility. Normally if the need was so urgent one would have thought you would build the first one in fastest most economical site in order to avoid the issue of two years of overflowing landfill.

That would be unless you considered the demography of the two proposed sites.

The nearest village to TTAL is Lung Kwu Tan a small and insignificant place apart from it is the home village of one Lau Wong-Fat head of the Heung Yee Kuk and head of the Tsuen Mun rural committee.

In other words they already know that they will have to build on both sites and rather than tackle such a powerful political opponent to start with they prefer to attack what they believe to be an easier target, the less well represented outlying islanders.

Then when they have got that past, present the second incinerator as an inevitable fait a complete to the residents of Tsuen Mun.

Funny how governments work.

Aug 27: Public Meeting

i Jul 12th No Comments by

The Living Islands Movement (LIM) has called a public meeting for Saturday, August 27 to put the case against building a super-incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau.

  • Date: Saturday 27 August 2011
  • Time: 3.30 pm
  • Venue: Squash Courts, 1/F Mui Wo Sports Centre (above the wet market)

Background: The Hong Kong Government proposes to build a super-incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau, preferring this site to the Tsang Tsui ash lagoons near Tuen Mun which were also assessed for this purpose.

The choice of Shek Kwu Chau (the island between South Lantau and Cheung Chau) is wrong because it:

  • Establishes a highly visible industrial undertaking in a pristine scenic landscape, rather than on an industrial brown field site
  • Will double the construction time to four years from two, despite the government’s argument the facility is urgently needed in order to preserve landfill capacity
  • Will cost about three times more than a similar facility in Tsang Tsui

LIM strongly urges you, your family and friends and neighbours to attend our public meeting to discuss:

  • The government’s reasons for choosing to build an incinerator so close to South Lantau
  • LIM’s arguments against the choice of Shek Kwu Chau
  • How you can get involved in fighting this ill-conceived proposal that will have a very negative impact on the South Lantau environment

The Situation to Date: :

The now temporarily withdrawn Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the distorted conclusions drawn from it by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) were a travesty in our view.

Furthermore, the Government is clearly trying to use incineration as the centrepiece of its so-called integrated waste management strategy while failing to address the root causes of the problem.

Therefore LIM is strongly urging the Government to scrap this plan and introduce a genuinely integrated waste reduction, recycling and management programme instead.

Click to view as a Google doc

The situation so far is:

  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been temporarily withdrawn because of technical irregularities
  • A draft Outline Zoning Plan for the scheme, plus a notice for the dredging and land reclamation have already been issued, and many of you sent objection letters before last week’s deadline
  • The flyer (above right) gives a brief summary of the proposal and our objections.

The EIA will surely be reissued in due course and LIM is already planning its response and to take other actions to ensure this ill-conceived plan does not go through. If you would like to find out more about this proposal and our suggested approach, please contact LIM at

We will need everybody’s support to win this so please pass this message on to anyone else who you feel would like to know more about the issue.

Best wishes,
Louise Preston, Chairperson, Living Islands Movement

July 10: Cheung Chau Visit

i Jul 8th No Comments by

We have received advice that Cheung Chau will be holding a “Green Movement Day” on Sunday, July 10, as per the itinerary below.

This is part of Cheung Chau’s campaign against the super-incinerator on nearby Shek Kwu Chau, to which LIM is also strongly opposed.

A group of us will be taking the 10.10 am Inter Islands Ferry from Mui Wo to Cheung Chau to support the event, and of course we would welcome any and all LIM members and friends who would like to join us.

If possible, please let us know in advance ( via e-mail: ) if you intend to come along, so that we can reserve places on the boat trip to Shek Kwu Chau or if necessary organise an additional sampan, but last minute delegates also welcome!”

Cheung Chau Green Movement Day Itinerary: Sunday, July 10

Opening ceremony

9.00 am Chairman’s Declaration and Statement; Speeches by guests;

9.15 am Magic Show

9.45 am Awards grant(solid waste design contest and colouring competition among primary schools)

9.50 am Opening ceremony by heads of associations, school representatives, and officials’ representatives.

The Universal Declaration of Solid Waste Sorting activities begin.

10.00 am Opening ceremony ends

10.05 am Interviews with residents / students / businesses … etc.

11.00 am Site observation visit to the Shek Kwu Chau area (Notes: 1. Grand Canal can carry 50 people; or 2. boat trip which can carry seven per vessel; to be confirmed)

Noon Lunch

1.00 pm No glue (no plastic bags) on the streets — interview situation
2.00 pm Classification of solid waste
3.00 pm The programme is complete; participants are free for interviews

Closing ceremony

4.00 pm Convener’s Speech
4.05 pm Presentation of souvenirs to cooperating groups
4.10 pm Presentations to volunteers
4.20 pm Performances
4.30 pm Declaration of the

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programme of future activities
4.35 pm Ends





LIM Objection: Super-Incinerator

i Jun 28th No Comments by

LIM issues a letter of objection to the draft Outline Zoning Plan for the proposed Shek Kwu Chau Super-incinerator.

  • Deadline for objections: June 29, 2011. (more…)

Documentation: Super-Incinerator

i Mar 27th No Comments by
LIM’s Letter of Objection to the Draft Outline
Zoning Plan
(June 2011)
LIM Executive Committee

Draft Outline Zoning Plan (Notes)
Town Planning Board
HK Govt
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
(Spring 2011). Prepared by Aecom
Environmental Protection Department
(EPD) HK Govt.