Landfill extension a must
Updated: 2013-07-17 06:20
Landfill extension has become a highly contentious issue since the funding request for the Tseung Kwan O (TKO) landfill expansion was blocked by the Legislative Council (LegCo) due to fierce opposition by nearby residents. The setback is hardly surprising given the size of the residential estate next to the landfill, but its effect on the other two extension plans threatens to delay the pressing projects indefinitely.
As soon as the LegCo Public Works Subcommittee passed the funding request for preliminary studies of Tuen Mun landfill expansion and the funding request for Ta Kwu Ling landfill extension last week, some local residents accused the government of bullying local residents in those two areas by treating them differently than it does those in TKO.
The truth is landfills are annoying facilities that nobody wants in their backyard. The question is how many people does a landfill affect? The TKO landfill expansion plan has been shot down because the previous SAR government made a huge urban planning blunder by allowing a large residential estate to be built nearby. Lohas Park is a new residential development and still growing. The current-term government has no intention of relocating some of the residents there to accommodate the landfill expansion project and therefore had to withdraw the funding request as many people expected.
The expansion of the landfills in Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling, on the other hand, must go ahead and rightly so because they are located in undeveloped areas of the New Territories, where far fewer residents will be affected. If it ever comes to relocation and compensation the government will be glad to discuss the details with the residents concerned. It is widely believed these two landfill expansion plans should be able to win approval through consultation and negotiation.
The author is a current affairs commentator. This an excerpted translation of his article published in Hong Kong Commercial Daily on July 16.
(HK Edition 07/17/2013 page9)