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Transcript of SEN's remarks

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at a media standup session on the Environmental Impact Assessment reports on the Integrated Waste Management Facilities at the Central Government Offices today (February 17):

Reporter: Mr Yau, could you explain why Shek Kwu Chau, even though it involves reclamation, was actually chosen? Secondly, does it actually have to do with this year being the election year, so the Government is convinced that it can't actually make the Tuen Mun councillors accept the proposal?

Secretary for the Environment: The site selection process is a very detailed and elaborate one which involved more than 20 sites to start with. It boils down to two very important sites, one in Tuen Mun and the other near Shek Kwu Chau.  The major considerations of Government's preferred option of building this Integrated Waste Management Facility in Shek Kwu Chau involve four factors. The first one is the total distance for all these waste to be transported from the refuse transfer stations to the centre (as these stations) are currently mainly located on Hong Kong Island and West Kowloon.  The total distance involved between the two sites highlights the route to Shek Kwu Chau as a much shorter one, at least one third or one quarter shorter than the journey taken to Tuen Mun.  Secondly, we have also considered the proximity of major population clusters around the centres. Clearly, while both sites are relatively remote from major population clusters, Shek Kwu Chau's site is further away from the major population centres. So the accumulative environmental effect will be less. The third factor that we have considered is that whether there will be positive economic synergy or economic activities to be brought about by this new centre. For instance, with the establishment of the centre, whether it could bring people, visitors which may also bring benefits to the neighbourhood. Last but not the least is the overall balanced distribution of all these facilities throughout the territory. So we have taken a global look at the distribution of all these facilities.

Reporter: How can you address concerns about reclamation? It actually affects the habitats near Southern Lantau coastal areas. And with this year as the election year, is this a factor or not at all in the Government consideration?

Secretary for the Environment: The Government has made it very clear that we need to take a multi-pronged approach in addressing the waste management issue.  We have to reduce waste at source by increasing waste separation and recycling. We have to bring in modern facilities and technology which are a proven answer in tackling municipal waste.  We also need to expand suitably the landfills, which is one of the measures we tackle waste that cannot be recycled. Of course, in addressing different locations and in coming up with the environmental impact assessment, that also included mitigation measures that might be related to different aspects including ecological areas. These are areas that are being covered in the consultancy report.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

Ends/Thursday, February 17, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:49


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