....... Divertimento: Hong Kong’s landfill crisis (part 1)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hong Kong’s landfill crisis (part 1)

On June 7th, I wrote about world hunger and wasted food and alluded to Hong Kong’s landfill problem.

There are 3 strategic landfill sites in Hong Kong – in Ta Kwu Ling, Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O. It has cost nearly $6 billion to build our three strategic landfills, and the operating cost of the three landfills is around $400 million per year. Some 4.9 million tonnes of waste were landfilled in 2008. A government study in 2003 forecast that the “existing landfills will be filled up, one by one, in mid to late 2010s if waste levels continue to increase at current levels.” Unless solutions are identified immediately, we will have nowhere to put the thousands of tonnes of waste thrown away each day. So, needless to say, the problem is here and now.

One of the solutions proposed is extending the existing landfill sites. But with the continued population growth and urban development, there is also a resistance amongst the existing and potential residents in the vicinity of these landfill sites. For example, the government’s plan to extend the Tseung Kwan O landfill site into 5 hectares of Clear Water Bay Country Park was scuppered in October 2010 when Tseung Kwan O residents and district councilors protested against the plan. The 5 hectare expansion was part of a proposed 50 hectares expansion encompassing 30 hectares to be piggy-backed over the existing landfill and 15 hectares from the nearby Tseung Kwan O Area 137. The 50 hectare expansion, the area of six Victoria Parks, would have extended its lifespan by another six years to 2019. In fact the residents are lobbying for a permanent closure of the Tseung Kwan O landfill site. They cite persistent bad odor, mosquitoes and flies as justification. Also, residents point out the inconsistency in government policy. When the landfill was first established, Tseung Kwan O was sparsely populated. Now Tseung Kwan O has become a new town with 400,000 residents with 60,000 in the newly established Lohas Park alone. Lohas Park is a mere 800 meters from the landfill site.

"If you want to expand such a large landfill, then don't develop such a large new town," said Andy Ni Bing-wen, Chairman of the Owners Sub-Committee rightly pointed out.

In January this year, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau announced a "After two months of thorough consideration, the Government has decided to amend the original proposal of expanding Tseung Kwan O landfill by 20.6 hectares. Firstly, the Administration will not seek to utilise the five hectares of land inside Clear Water Bay Country Park for landfill extension. Secondly, the Administration will reduce the area of landfill extension in Tseung Kwan O Area 137 to around 13 hectares. Thirdly, in response to the concern of the Sai Kung District Council, we have decided under the landfill extension project that only odourless waste (such as construction waste) will be sent to the Tseung Kwan O landfill with a view to further relieving the odour problem of Tseung Kwan O landfill," he said.

Smells good!

What about Hong Kong’s garbage disposal problem though?………..more tomorrow.

1 comment:

Land Source Container Service Inc. said...

Hopefully the landfill problems won't continue within the decade, its getting pretty bad as of right now already and with growing population theres going to be more garbage, and filling up quicker too, naturally.

-Land Source Container Service, Inc.
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