Verbal Submission Notes to EA Panel on 22 Mar 2014

On Sat 22 March 2014, the Panel on Environmental Affairs held a special meeting to hear submissions from the community on the “3+1 Proposal” which is seeking funding to expand 3 landfills and build an incinerator near Shek Kwu Chau.

Below is the submission by IWMAG at this meeting (PDF Version: Verbal Submission Notes – EA Panel 2014 03 22)

You can watch a replay of the 22 Mar 2014 meeting via
The full list of submissions can be downloaded in Word (0.1Mb) or PDF (5.5Mb) format

Madam Chair,

Our written submission is Paper 24 The Group is concerned that the Administration’s proposal is inadequate, will be too-little too-late, and relies on a big incinerator which is not a solution to the waste problems.

The Administration’s plan – call it Plan A – will not work. Therefore, Plan B based on large capacity waste sorting facilities is proposed and explained in our submission. The Group cannot understand why there is no industrial scale sorting and recycling in the Blueprint. This is used extensively elsewhere in the world. A holistic approach is necessary.

Industrial scale sorting machines can handle up to 700 tpd of MSW and reduce it by 80%. 5 of these machines will handle the same amount of waste as the proposed incinerator. It is simple technology and has no significant environmental concerns. The waste is delivered to one end and a series of conveyor belts moves it through sorting stations which mechanically, or manual, remove recyclable materials. It creates jobs directly and in the recycling industry.

There is no guarantee that Governments proposals for waste sorting at source will work. Under Plan B waste must be mechanically sorted before it is dumped in the landfill. The two landfill sites at NENT and WENT are large enough to include these sorting machines, recycling facilities, and composting plants.

Govt does not have sites for their proposals in the Blueprint but they have huge landfill sites of 150 to 200 ha they are not using efficiently. These must be used for a full range of integrated waste management activities rather than just dumps for rubbish. The poor use of landfill sites results in the unnecessary need to expand them. Waste sorting and recycling plants could be operating on these sites within 3 years and they don’t require reclamation – well before the incinerator.

5 waste-sorting lines would cost between $2 to 4 billion dollars and reduce waste as much as the incinerator, but much cheaper. Implementation of sorting will reduce the need to expand the landfills – maybe no need to expand at all.

The full Plan B of 9 sorting machines would leave about one thousand two hundred tpd of material to be landfilled, or heat treated in 2 small incinerators or gasification plants – one at WENT and one at NENT landfill. The big incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau is not needed.

Waste-sorting and recycling needs to be done on an industrial scale to deal with the large amount of waste generated. It is technologically easy, cheap, is a sustainable use of resources, and creates jobs.

The administration’s proposal is outdated and should not be supported.

The Administration is proposing a Strategic Study in paragraph 9(1) of the paper. The incinerator at SKC should not be funded until after that study is completed.

Thank you.