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LCQ8: Designation of the South East New Territories Landfill for receiving only construction waste

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council today (January 27):


     In view of the growing residential developments in Tseung Kwan O district and local residents' concern over the odour arising from the South East New Territories Landfill (SENT Landfill), the Government has amended the legislation to require that the Landfill (and its extension) be designated for receiving only construction waste, and that municipal solid waste (i.e. domestic waste and commercial and industrial waste) and other waste be diverted to other waste management facilities. The diversion plan has been implemented since January 6. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the numbers of housing estates and buildings from which the domestic waste delivered to SENT Landfill for disposal in the past three years came, and the geographical distribution of such housing estates and buildings;

(2) given that some of the waste collection routes have to be changed as a result of the implementation of the diversion plan, and that a longer travelling distance will incur more expenses, such as fuel cost, and reduce the number of times a refuse collection vehicle can transport waste each day, whether the authorities have estimated the additional expenditures arising from the diversion plan on the part of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), its outsourced waste collection contractors as well as private waste collectors; if they have, of the details, and the average amount of additional waste collection service charges to be borne by each residential unit; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether the FEHD has received requests from its outsourced waste collection contractors for adjusting contract service charges for the reason that the operating costs have increased as a result of the diversion plan; if the FEHD has, of the additional amount of expenditure involved each year; if not, the reasons for that; and
(4) whether there are objective data showing that the air quality of Tseung Kwan O district has improved upon implementation of the diversion plan?  



     The Government made an amendment regulation on January 22, 2014 to change the use of the South East New Territories (SENT) Landfill to receive only construction waste. The amendment regulation has become effective since January 6, 2016, with all non-construction waste including municipal solid waste (MSW) (that is, domestic waste and general industrial and commercial waste) and special waste not allowed for disposal at the SENT Landfill. Instead, this waste would need to be delivered to refuse transfer stations (RTSs) or the other landfills for disposal. Accordingly, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has implemented a waste diversion plan with the aim of redistributing the waste being delivered to refuse transfer stations and landfills based on the available spare capacity of these waste management facilities. To facilitate the above arrangement, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has adjusted some of its refuse collection routes by which waste is diverted away from the areas affected by the waste diversion to other RTSs and landfills as assigned by the EPD, so as to make available sufficient handling capacity for the waste diverted from the SENT Landfill.  

     Our reply to the question raised by Hon Ip Kwok-him is as follows:

(1) Based on the 2013-2015 data, the SENT Landfill received an average of about 1,700 tonnes of MSW per day, among which 640 tonnes were domestic waste. Among the domestic waste, 44 per cent was from Kowloon, 17 per cent from Hong Kong Island and the remaining 39 per cent from the New Territories and Outlying Islands. Regarding the number of estates/buildings involved, the EPD does not have such information;

(2) and (3) In support of the waste diversion plan, the FEHD's re-routing of its own and its contractors' refuse collection service at individual districts incurs in total extra annual expenditure of about $40.3 million. Currently, more than 80 per cent of the domestic waste arising in Hong Kong is collected through the free service provided by the FEHD and its contractors. Hence no extra refuse collection fee is incurred by the residents of those estates/buildings covered by the service. For private waste collectors, they would adjust and optimise their collection routes and operation mode and consolidate their clients to cope with the new waste diversion arrangement, so as to achieve maximum cost-effectiveness. If such adjustment could not fully offset the increase in operating cost, they would negotiate for service fee adjustment based on their commercial considerations and the situation of individual clients. The EPD does not have data on the extra operating costs incurred by private waste collectors and the amount of extra service fees to be shared by each flat of those estates/buildings engaging private waste collectors; and

(4) The EPD has commenced by stages since December last year the testing of the new general air quality monitoring station at Tseung Kwan O, with a view to fully commissioning the operation of the station in March this year. Due to similarity in geographical locations and land use, the data obtained during the testing period indicated that the air quality in Tseung Kwan O has remained broadly similar to that in the Eastern District and Sha Tin. There has not been any change in the air quality since the new arrangement of the SENT Landfill accepting only construction waste. On the other hand, since the implementation of the new arrangement, the EPD has not received any odour complaints again.

Ends/Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:43


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