LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 2002/95-96
Ref : CB1/PL/EA
LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs
Minutes of the Special Meeting
held on Thursday, 25 April 1996 at 8:30 a.m.
in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building
Members Present :
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai (Chairman)
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
Hon IP Kwok-him
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Members Absent :
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Staff in Attendance :
- Ms Sarah YUEN
- SAS(1) 1
- Ms Connie SZE-TO
- SAS(1) 5
I. Internal Discussion on the Third Review of Progress on the 1989 White Paper and Waste Reduction Study
(LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1222/95-96 and LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1277/95-96)
Members were invited to deliberate on the issues outlined in the discussion paper prepared by the Chairman which highlighted the salient points in the Third Review Report with particular reference to the Waste Reduction Study. Members agreed that the major areas of concern had been highlighted in the paper, and added the following points:
- The Administration should provide a total picture of its waste reduction targets and implementation timetable, and perform a co-ordinating role in bringing about better co-operation among government departments and key public bodies, such as the two Municipal Councils and the Housing Authority, in the handling of wastes;
- The Government should take the lead in promoting waste recovery as a means to reduce waste, e.g. by urging the Housing Authority to incorporate waste recovery facilities in the design of its housing estates and encouraging government departments to adopt waste paper recovery practices;
- It might be more effective to adopt a two-pronged approach in waste reduction encompassing both voluntary and compulsory measures; and
- It would be necessary to provide a longer grace period to allow sufficient time for small to medium-sized businesses to comply with waste reduction requirements.
2. Referring to the Waste Reduction Study Report, members made the following comments:
- The recommendations in the Report were not specific or practical enough to implement. The Consultants should also look at the whole spectrum of waste treatment instead of just focusing on waste reduction.
- The Report should contain some specific proposals on waste separation so as to bring about more efficient waste management.
- The Consultants should take into account Hong Kongs specific conditions and actively study the development of multi-purpose incineration facilities as a more preferable alternative to landfilling, which took up too much space. This study should commence as soon as possible to provide a timely solution to the waste disposal problem before Hong Kongs landfill sites were exhausted.
- Consideration should be given to constructing incinerators next to the landfill sites so that the methane produced by the landfills could be used to power the incinerators. Consideration should also be given to introducing the newest type of incineration facility that created no environmental nuisance.
- Hong Kongs waste growth rates should also be compared with big cities of the United States as well.
3. Members considered that the Third Review Report should provide a detailed update on the targets and timetable in implementing the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme (SSDS). The Administration should also be asked to explain why the use of sink grinders, which could help reduce household organic waste, was not encouraged so that household waste could be flushed away, and advise the Panel if the high organic loading of this kind of household waste water could be coped with under the SSDS.
4. Members were concerned about the progress of extending the Diesel to Petrol Scheme to vehicles over 4 tonnes. Members considered it necessary to seek information on the timetable of the Administrations review of the subject and the up-to-date position regarding the consultancy study on indoor air pollution and Governments measures to alleviate the air pollution problem in tunnels and indoor carparks in the interim. The Administration should confirm if pollution from cigarette smoke had been included as part of the consultancy study.
5. Members noted that the LegCo Panel on Planning, Lands and Works was going to discuss the provision of noise mitigation measures in the design of public roads, and members of this Panel would be invited to take part in the deliberations. Members considered that the Administration should provide an update on the enforcement of the legislative measures on the control of construction noise together with statistics on the number of complaints. Information on complaints against nuisances caused by restaurants, such as noise generated by the heavy air-conditioning facilities should also be provided.
6. A member pointed out that not enough efforts had been made in preserving Hong Kongs cultural heritage. Members also opined that sustainable developments which involved a comprehensive policy on aspects such as town planning, civil education, was instrumental to the long-term effect of conservation. On energy saving, members considered it useful to arrange a briefing by the Administration on its study on the feasibility of electric vehicles.
7. Members considered that school education was as important as public education in enhancing environmental awareness, and suggested that a meeting with the Education Department should be scheduled to look into the matter.
8. Members suggested that it should be made a practice for the Panel to be provided with a report on every international environmental conference which Hong Kong attended.
9. Members voiced their support for the adoption of sustainable development as the future direction, and considered that more specific action plans should be mapped out. There was a need for the Environmental Protection Department to improve its image. It should introduce more incentive schemes instead of just relying on punitive measures.
10. Members considered that there should be careful planning in the treatment of clinical waste. A centralised incineration facility might not be the best option. It might be more cost-effective to make use of the existing incineration facilities in individual hospitals.
11. Members also considered it important for the Third Review Report to be as impartial as possible, avoiding highlighting any particular green groups in the Report.
12. The Chairman asked the Secretariat to relay members comments made at the meeting to the Administration so that it could respond at the Panel meeting scheduled for 1 May 1996. Since members had been able to come to a collective view on major issues in the Third Review Report and the Waste Reduction Study Report at this meeting, it was agreed that the special meeting scheduled for 26 April 1996 for the same purpose should be cancelled.)
(Post-meeting note: A summary of the points raised was sent to the Administration on 26 April 1996)
13. The meeting ended at 10:10 a.m.
29 August 1996
Last Updated on 18 Aug, 1998