Mar 16, 2012|
The rally has been organized by Living Islands Movement (LIM), which argues that the plans for the incinerator are poorly thought-out. Namely, they use the wrong technology, the wrong approach, and the wrong location.
The incinerator will be equipped with the so-called “latest” moving grate technology, which was inspired by a study of Germany’s incinerators six years ago. However, most of these incinerators have since been shut down due to the high levels of dioxins that were emitted. These dioxins were blamed for air, water and food contamination, as well as birth defect.
LIM says that moving grate technology is outdated and dangerous, and demands that the government consider alternative incineration technologies, such as plasma arc, which converts waste into reusable energy.
In fact, the rest of the world is moving against moving grate technology. Earlier this week, Michael Bloomberg rejected moving grate incineration in for New York City, and requested that different incineration technology proposals be put forward.
“75 percent of the year, the winds blow east, from Lantau into Hong Kong and Kowloon,” said Julia Brown, LIM member. “Much of Hong Kong gets its food and water supply from Lantau farms and reservoirs, all of which would be contaminated [by emissions from the incinerator],” she adds. In addition to this, nearby beaches would be greatly affected. Cheung Chau and Lantau’s Cheung Sha beach would no longer be pleasant spots for Hongkongers relax and hang out.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has declared the Soko Islands, which sits in a marine park, an area designated for environmental protection. So why has the EPD also approved the nearby Shek Kuw Chau as a suitable site for the incinerator?
“It [the incinerator] would remove a critical “green lung” [an area of green land within a city which is considered for the environmental benefits it offers] for western Hong Kong,” adds Rosa Ma, Lantau resident and convener for the South Lantau Education Concern Group. “I moved down here for the clean air because I have serious allergies and my daughter suffers from asthma. Being on Lantau has helped us, along with many other families in a similar position. It is crucial for Hong Kong to keep this green lung,” she adds.
LIM argues that a more appropriate area for the incinerator would be the Tsuen Mun waste recovery park, which would cost just HKD $3 billion, whereas building it on the Soko Islands would cost an estimated $13 billion to Hong Kong taxpayers.
LIM argues that there has been gross mal-administration over the incinerator plans, and a lack of public consultation that has deprived Hong Kong citizens a fair opportunity to object.
“This protest rally is the result of deep-felt frustration with the EPD,” says Louise Preston, Chairman of Living Island Movement. “After repeated refusals to answer our questions or hold public consultation meetings, they are plowing ahead with their plans regardless of public opinion.”
“The EPD have consistently lied about their plans, they won’t admit to the costs, they won’t explain about what will happen to other 7,000 tons of waste that Hong Kong produces every day,” adds Mark Parlett, secretary of the LIM.
“This is a typical example of Hong Kong’s high-handed approach to government from the Chief Executive downwards,” he adds.
To join the rally, head to Pier 6, Central, at 3:30pm. Free placards and banners will be provided. Organizers are expecting 1,000 people to attend.
The protest will proceed through Central and conclude at the new Legislative Council headquarters in Tamar where a petition of signatures will be submitted. If possible, the organizers would like for protesters to wear black and/or white.