Advisory Council on the Environment

Confirmed Minutes of the 97th Meeting of the Advisory Council on the Environment held on 17 June 2002 at 2:30 p.m.


Mr. Peter H. Y. WONG, GBS, JP (Chairman)
Mr. Daniel M. C. CHENG  
Prof. Anthony HEDLEY, BBS, JP  
Prof. Peter HILLS  
Dr. HO Kin-chung  
Mr. Edward S. T. HO, SBS, JP  
Mr. KWOK Kwok-chuen, BBS  
Mr. Peter Y. C. LEE  
Dr. NG Cho-nam  
Mrs. Mei NG  
Mr. PAO Ping-wing, JP  
Mr. Otto L. T. POON The Chairman of Waste Reduction Committee
Ms. Iris TAM  
Miss Alex YAU  
Ms. Jessie WONG (Secretary)  

Absent with Apologies:
Mr. Barrie COOK
Prof. LAM Kin-che
Prof. Dennis S. C. LAM
Dr. LEONG Che-hung, GBS, JP
Mr. LIN Chaan-ming
Mr. LOH Ah Tuan
Mr. Michael J. D. RUSHWORTH
Prof. WONG Yuk-shan, JP


In Attendance:

Mrs. Lily YAM, JP Secretary for the Environment and Food
Mr. Thomas CHOW Deputy Secretary (C), Environment and Food Bureau (EFB)
Mr. Donald TONG Deputy Secretary (B), EFB
Mr. Rob LAW, JP Director of Environmental Protection
Mr. C C LAY Assistant Director (Conservation), Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)
Mr. T K LEE Assistant Director (Technical Services), Planning Department (Plan D)
Dr. Constance CHAN Assistant Director, Department of Health
Mrs. Pauline LING Chief Information Officer, EFB
Ms. Polly LEUNG Principal Information Officer, Environmental Protection Officer (EPD)
Miss Petula POON Chief Executive Officer (C), EFB
Ms. Cora SO Executive Officer (C), EFB

In Attendance for Agenda Item 4

Ms. Annie CHOI Principal Assistant Secretary (B)2, EFB
Dr. Ellen CHAN Assistant Director (Waste Facilities), EPD
Miss Harriet LEE Assistant Environmental Protection Officer, EPD

In Attendance for Agenda Item 5

Mr. Raistlin LAU Principal Assistant Secretary (B)1, EFB
Dr. Malcolm BROOM Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Water Policy & Planning), EPD
Mr. Paul CHUNG Project Director, Camp Dresser & McKee International Inc. (CDM)
Mr. James CHAN Technical Director, CDM

In Attendance for Agenda Item 6

Dr. Ellen CHAN Assistant Director (Waste Facilities), EPD
Mr. Michael PANG Acting Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Special Waste Facilities), EPD
Mr. Joe ZORN General Manager, Enviropace Ltd. / Managing Director, PWM Environmental Services Ltd.


Mrs. Lily Yam thanked all Members, in particular, the Chairman and Prof. Lam Kin-che, Chairman of the EIA Subcommittee, for their support and devotion to the work of the Council in the past years. She also expressed appreciation for the work of her colleagues in Government in striving to improve the environment. She hoped the Council would keep up its commendable work in the future. The Chairman wished Mrs. Yam years of enjoyment ahead after finishing her term of service in the Government.


2. In reply to the Chairman's enquiry, Ms. Jessie Wong said that Mr. Loh Ah Tuan had indicated that, subject to further confirmation, he might attend the next meeting scheduled for 29 July. The Secretariat would confirm whether he would make any presentation at the meeting.

Agenda Item 1 : Confirmation of Minutes of the 96th Meeting held on 21 May 2002

3. A Member proposed to amend para. 51 to read "...a Member, as the Vice Chairman of the Green Council, another Member...". The minutes were confirmed subject to that Member's proposed amendment.

Agenda Item 2 : Matters Arising

4. There were no matters arising from the last meeting.

Agenda Item 3 : Report on 70th and 71st meetings of the Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee
(ACE Paper 22/2002)

EIA Report on Fill Bank at Tseung Kwan O Area 137

5. The Subcommittee Deputy Chairman reported that having studied the EIA report on Fill Bank at Tseung Kwan O Area 137, the Subcommittee considered that a presentation by the project proponent was not necessary and agreed to recommend the report to the Council for endorsement without conditions. The Chairman and Members endorsed the EIA report without conditions.

EIA Report on Improvement to Tung Chung Road between Lung Tseng Tau and Cheung Sha

6. The Subcommittee Deputy Chairman reported the deliberations and recommendations of the Subcommittee on the EIA report on Improvement to Tung Chung Road between Lung Tseng Tau and Cheung Sha. The Subcommittee recommended endorsing the report with the two conditions set out in para. 25 of ACE Paper 22/2002.

7. A Member considered that to a large extent, whether the project was environmentally acceptable would depend on the alignment and the design of the improved road, for example, whether cutting of slopes was required. He asked whether the Subcommittee was satisfied that the proposed alignment and the design had the minimum impacts on the environment.

8. The Subcommittee Deputy Chairman and a Member said that the Subcommittee was convinced that the project proponent had taken all necessary precautions and due diligence to minimize the site footprint. However, the ultimate design would rest with the contractors. Another Member supplemented that she was invited by the project proponent about two years ago to walk through the proposed alignment and accepted that the proposed alignment was an option of lesser environmental impacts.

9. A Member referred to the letter from Green Lantau Association (GLA) that was sent to the Council after the Subcommittee meeting was held. One of the suggestions in the letter was to require the contractor to pay a HK$10 million bond which would be withheld if as a result of the project serious and irreversible damage were done to the flora, fauna or the landscape. She asked whether it was possible for Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) to consider incorporating that suggestion as a permit condition.


10. In response, Mr. Rob Law said that as far as he was aware, the project proponent was considering the feasibility of the suggestion. Though he had reservation on his authority to include it as a permit condition under the EIA Ordinance, he could further examine the feasibility.

11. The Chairman said that GLA's comments came in after the Subcommittee meeting. It was impractical for the Subcommittee to meet and discuss all comments whenever they were received. It would be more appropriate for DEP to consider those comments and the project proponent's response which was circulated to Members together with GLS's letter before deciding on the EIA report.

12. A Member drew Members' attention to the point that about 5,000 tonnes of materials resulting from the clearance of vegetation would be disposed of in landfills. The relevant authority should consider and advise the Council whether such materials could be handled in a more environmentally friendly manner.


13. Mr. Law said that EPD would review the situation with other relevant departments in connection with landfill planning. Mr. C C Lay supplemented that AFCD had been proactively using certain vegetation waste as raw materials for recreation facilities in Country Parks but that the supply was much greater than the demand. The storage of excessive wooden logs in Country Parks would create fire hazards and hence was not desirable. The Chairman asked Mr. Law to keep Members informed of the outcome of the review.

14. The Chairman proposed and Members agreed to endorse the EIA report with conditions recommended by the Subcommittee.

South East Kowloon Development at Kai Tak Airport - Final soil quality report of the previously contaminated areas

15. The Subcommittee Deputy Chairman reported that the Subcommittee had considered the report and had no objection to the Housing Department proceeding with housing development at sites 1A and 1B where land contamination was not detected. The Subcommittee would consider the finalized soil quality report when it becomes available.

16. The Chairman proposed and Members agreed with the Subcommittee's recommendation.

Informal dialogue with project proponents

17. A Member reported that the Subcommittee had considered the item of having informal dialogue with proponents of designated projects before the formal submission of EIA reports to DEP. As directed by the Council, the Subcommittee also examined whether it should keep a record of such informal dialogue with project proponents. After detailed discussion, the Subcommittee considered it useful to have early dialogue with project proponents on major issues such as possible alignment and alternative options. However, since comprehensive information would not be available at the time of informal dialogue, Members' comments on the projects should not be taken as final. Therefore, the Secretariat would only keep brief notes on issues raised for Members' internal reference and would not circulate the notes to project proponents. Members endorsed the Subcommittee's decision.

Agenda Item 4: 2001 Implementation Report of the Waste Reduction Framework Plan
(ACE Paper 14/2002)

18. The Chairman welcomed Ms. Annie Choi, Dr. Ellen Chan and Miss Harriet Lee to the meeting. The Chairman of the Waste Reduction Committee (WRC) briefed Members on the annual implementation report of the Waste Reduction Framework Plan (WRFP).

19. The Chairman expressed concerns that the younger generation seemed to have an impression that the recyclables collected would end up at landfills. That might discourage young people from actively supporting waste recycling.

20. In response, the Chairman of the WRC clarified that all recyclables collected had been put to beneficial use. The Task Force on Recycling Industry set up under the WRC had been working closely with the Administration on better waste sorting and collecting systems and possible outlets for the recyclables. Dr. Ellen Chan supplemented that the Administration was making a lot of efforts to get the right message across to the younger generation, for example, by exhibiting products made of recycled materials during publicity and education campaigns. Ms. Annie Choi reassured the meeting that none of the collected recyclables would be disposed of at landfills. A stringent monitoring system had been put in place to ensure that the recyclables collected by Government contractors were delivered to proper outlets for recycling.

21. A Member said that apart from education, financial incentives for the waste collectors and recycling industry would achieve better results in waste recovery. The Government might consider assisting the recycling industry by trading in recyclables at a price and providing land for recycling operators.

22. The Chairman of the WRC thanked that Member for his suggestions. He said that the Government had spent a lot of resources in assisting waste recovery and recycling initiatives. For example, an amount of HK$100 million had recently been injected into the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF). Apart from encouraging the sorting of recyclables, education was essential in raising awareness in reducing wastes in the first place. Ms. Choi added that instead of providing direct financial subsidies, the Government had been assisting the recycling industry through supporting the collection of recyclable materials, providing short-term tenancy sites for waste recycling operations, and developing a Recovery Park at Tuen Mun.

23. A Member commended the Administration's efforts in waste recovery programmes in the past few years. However, he agreed with a previous Member that there would be better results if the demand for recyclables increased. In certain overseas countries, construction and demolition (C&D) materials could be used in paving 20% to 30% of the upper layer of roads. However, according to the Highways Department's advice, such materials could only be used in about 15% of the deeper layer of roads in Hong Kong. The Administration should be more open-minded and consider greater use of C&D materials in that aspect.

24. In response, Dr. Chan said that the Waste Reduction Task Force for the Construction Industry was studying the use of recycled asphalt on roads, and also the use of recycled aggregates as road sub-base and drainage beds. Ms. Choi added that the Works Bureau had agreed to make it mandatory for public works projects to use recycled aggregates for such purpose.

25. The Chairman noticed that in Hong Kong bricks had gradually replaced concrete pavements. He asked whether the bricks were imported or produced locally. In reply, a Member said that they were imported from Australia.

26. The Chairman asked whether the Administration would give financial incentives to local manufacturers if they could produce bricks with recycled aggregates, thereby saving landfill capacity and related costs. Ms. Choi responded that the use of recycled aggregates as in paving blocks in Hong Kong was being studied by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

27. A Member noted that the waste recovery figures in ACE Paper 24/2002 only covered those from projects organized by the Environmental Campaign Committee but not those organized by green groups. The figures of the latter should be included as well. On waste recovery programme, the Friends of the Earth (FoE)'s experience in adopting the barter system indicated that the provision of incentives was useful. In addition, FoE had received complaints about the lack of channels to collect materials such as computers, furniture and clothes. Also, supermarkets were often quoted as the greatest waste producers and yet there were inadequate emphasis on reduction of waste at source. Hence, something should be done on that front. Construction contractors also complained about the lack of temporary storage spaces for metal hoardings despite their wish to help reduce construction wastes.

28. The Chairman of the WRC said the WRC would consider that Member's comments on the recovery figures. Dr. Chan supplemented that EPD was well aware of the efforts of green groups and there were many occasions in which both parties co-operated in community projects. As regard the collection of other kinds of waste such as old clothes, property management companies and a green group had organized successful recovery programmes in housing estates. The Government would continue to promote that among the parties concerned.

29. In response to that Member's point about reduction of waste at source, the Chairman of the WRC said that discussion with supermarkets and convenience stores on how to reduce waste had started. Dr. Chan added that the liaison with supermarkets was a recent initiative and hence had not been covered in the report.

30. In response to a Member's enquiry, Mr. T K Lee informed the meeting that construction companies could store their metal hoardings at sites zoned for open storage purposes. Companies concerned could also apply to Town Planning Board for temporary planning approval for storage purposes. Planning Department would render assistance to applicants in explaining the application process if required. He undertook to liaise with that Member after the meeting to look into the case concerned.

31. Ms. Choi informed the meeting that the HK$100 million injected to the ECF had been largely for community waste recovery projects. Applicants could apply for funding support to organize activities on waste recovery and recycling. For instance, a green group had used ECF funds to organize a waste recovery project in which recyclables were exchanged for small household items, and the project was well received.

32. Mr. Donald Tong welcomed Members' comments and suggestions with regard to waste reduction and recovery. He explained that the ACE paper was an annual report of WRC and there were more measures in the pipeline. The availability of outlets for the recyclables collected was a key success factor for waste recovery schemes. The Government had been funding the collection of plastics because its profit margin was less than that of paper and aluminum cans. The Government was also exploring other means of assistance such as land. So far, about 6 ha of short-term tenancy sites had been leased to operators of recycling business. Another 2.7 ha of land at short-term tenancy would be available in the coming months. The Government would also continue to identify ways to maximize the use of recycled aggregates.

33. A Member pointed out that the waste recovery programmes in public housing estates were quite successful. However, private housing estates might experience a shortage of temporary storage spaces for recyclables collected. She asked whether the Administration could provide any assistance in that aspect. In response, Ms. Choi said that the Administration had been working closely with the Hong Kong Property Management Association on ways to encourage and facilitate recycling in private housing developments. In addition, the ECF could support community waste recovery projects. Applications from private housing estates for organizing waste recovery programmes were welcome.


34. A Member asked whether there was a Government procurement policy to require all departments to take into account environmental considerations during each purchase. In response, Ms. Choi said that the Government Supplies Department (GSD) had already issued a guideline regarding the inclusion of environmental elements in preparing product specifications for tenders. The Chairman suggested inviting GSD to brief Members on those guidelines at a future meeting.

35. In response to that Member's question, Ms. Choi said that the Government had been using recycled paper since 1999 and at present over 30% of photocopying papers were recycled papers. Dr. Chan supplemented that all papers used in EPD were recycled papers.

36. The Chairman of the WRC thanked Members for their comments and said that the WRC would take them into account in planning programmes ahead.

Agenda Item 5: Environmental and Engineering Feasibility Study for the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme - Proposed Water Quality Criteria (WQC)
(ACE Paper 23/2002)

37. The Chairman welcomed Mr. Raistlin Lau, Dr. Malcolm Broom, Mr. Paul Chung and Mr. James Chan to the meeting. Dr. Broom introduced the background of the Study and Mr. Chung briefed Members on the details of the proposed WQC.

38. The Chairman noted that a Member had declared interest as his company was involved in the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS).

Proposed water criteria vs water quality objectives

39. A Member asked whether the proposed WQC would be used in evaluating the options recommended by the International Review Panel (IRP) or in reviewing the Water Quality Objectives (WQOs). Mr. Chung replied that the proposed WQC would only be used for the former. Another Member wondered why WQOs could not be adopted in evaluating the IRP options. In response, Dr. Broom explained that WQOs were viewed as goals which reflected the long-term health and well being of HK's waters. They were not necessarily used as benchmarks for specific projects such as HATS. To assess project specific impacts, WQCs would be developed and applied to assess the relative impacts of alternatives. For the proposed WQCs, all except the Total Inorganic Nitrogen (TIN) criteria for the southern waters were more stringent than the corresponding WQOs. The exception was due to the fact that the background TIN level attributable to the flow of Pearl River Estuary had rendered the relevant WQOs unattainable in reality.

40. The Chairman asked whether the proposed WQC were for the evaluation of the quality of effluent discharge or the quality of the water bodies after effluent discharge. In reply, Mr. Chung clarified that they used the proposed WQC to evaluate the water quality of the dilution zones of the outfalls.

Criteria for Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

41. In response to the Chairman's enquiry, Dr. Broom said that a water column of average DO of > 4 mg/L at 90% of time was adequate to sustain marine life. In general, most marine life would die if they were exposed to an average DO of < 2 mg/L for a substantial period of time.

42. The Chairman enquired about the difference between an "average DO at 90% of time" and "monthly average DO at all times". In response, Mr. Chung explained that the former was less stringent than the latter because marine culture zones and sensitive areas in the southern and eastern waters of Hong Kong required more protection against pollution.

43. The Chairman commented that it would seem more appropriate for the criteria for all water bodies to be based on monthly average at all times. Dr. Broom undertook to consider the Chairman's comments.

45. A Member asked why the proposed criteria for water bodies with Fish Culture Zones were considerably more lenient than the WQO for DO which was > 5 mg/L at 90% of time. In response, Dr. Broom pointed out that there was an omission in the report and clarified that the criteria for Fish Culture Zones would be equivalent to the existing WQO.

Criteria for nitrogen and phosphorus

46. A Member said that the TIN criteria shown in para. 4.1 of the Technical Annex did not appear to tally with the proposed WQCs. In response, Mr. James Chan explained that para. 4.1 was referring to history and aimed to help readers understand the background leading to the development of the previous set of TIN criteria proposed for the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme (SSDS). The proposed TIN criteria for evaluating the IRP options were actually set out in para. 4.2. The consultant would recast the paragraphs to avoid confusion. In the light of the confusion caused, another Member suggested that the EPD/CDM should provide a clear comparison showing the previous set of WQCs and the newly proposed set of WQCs.

Microbiological water quality criteria

47. A Member said that according to a speaker who attended the Urban City Wastewater Treatment Seminar, the number of bacteria present might not necessarily have a direct relationship with the E. coli density. He therefore had doubts on the effectiveness of using E. coli to measure the level of bacteria. In response, Mr. Chung said that the speaker in question had also approached them and provided some views on the proposed WQCs. CDM would take the views into account when refining the proposed WQCs.

48. A Member said that the use of E. coli density as an indicator of the presence of bacteria was established from studies conducted some 15 years ago and might be out of date. Over the years there were other forms of illnesses caused by contact of seawater, for example, Hepatitis A. The relationship between minor illnesses and water quality should be studied in more detail. In response, Dr. Constance Chan said that the Department of Health had not yet received the proposed WQCs from CDM. Nevertheless, her department would provide inputs through their representative in the study management group in due course.

49. A Member said that there was rising aspiration on the water quality of HK's waters. The Administration should adopt more stringent WQCs in order to meet public expectations.


Longer outfalls

50. A Member asked why the Administration did not consider the option of a longer outfall so as to minimize the impact of effluent discharge at or near the Harbour. In response, Mr. Donald Tong said that due to insufficient land on Stonecutters Island for an enhanced sewage treatment plant to give a high level of treatment to all sewage from both sides of the Harbour, the original SSDS proposal was to build a long outfall at the south of Lamma Island to discharge the treated effluent at open waters. However, a number of academics, green groups and legislators had serious reservations on that proposal. Therefore in 2000, the Chief Executive commissioned the IRP to review the Government's plan for the remaining stages of the HATS. The IRP concluded that new developments in compact sewage treatment technologies over the past few years made it possible to construct an enhanced treatment plant within the existing lot of the Stonecutters Island and hence shorter outfalls could be used to discharge the highly treated effluent at or near the Harbour. As per the recommendations of the IRP, trials and studies are now underway to assess the feasibility of the options identified by the IRP. The Administration would conduct a full-scale public consultation around the end of 2003 to decide on the way forward for the remaining stages of HATS. Mr. Tong undertook to provide that Member with background information on the old SSDS for his reference, if necessary.

Other stakeholders

51. A Member asked whether the Study had taken into account the impacts on other stakeholders such as floating and coastal seafood restaurants and boating community, and whether the possibility of reusing highly treated wastewater would be explored in the studies conducted by CDM. In response, Mr. James Chan said that if there were food catering or other activities in the vicinity of the recommended outfalls, assessment of impacts on them would be done. He also advised that the reuse of highly treated wastewater was not within the scope of the studies conducted by CDM. Recreational use of Victoria Harbour52. A Member noted in the document that recreation was not considered one of the uses of the Victoria Harbour. She asked whether the studies would look into the possibility of using the Victoria Harbour for some recreational purposes. In response, Dr. Broom said that the proposed WQCs were not yet finalized and views from Members and the public were welcome. However, given that the Harbour was a busy commercial port, it might not be suitable for recreational uses concurrently.

53. The Chairman enquired about the cost for bringing the water quality of the Harbour to a standard safe for swimming. In response, Dr. Broom said that it would largely be determined by the degree of disinfection required. A rough indication would be available at the end of the studies.

54. Having regard to the comments of two Members, the Chairman suggested the Administration consider adding seafood restaurant operators/owners, fishing associations, water sports associations and the boating community to the list of key stakeholders in Appendix II of the paper. Mr. Tong thanked the Chairman for the suggestion but pointed out that those groups might be more interested in providing inputs at a later stage rather than engaging in the technical discussion on the proposed WQCs.

Consultation in more general terms

55. The Chairman said that the proposed water criteria were difficult for a layman to understand without clear explanation on their implications. Mr. Rob Law admitted that the annex to the paper was indeed a technical document to seek the views of experts and key stakeholders. Owing to the public interest on the development of HATS, a transparent approach was considered useful in building a consensus among the community at large. At a later stage after the various trials and studies were completed, there would be a full-scale public consultation in which the general public could take part in a more meaningful manner.

56. A Member urged the Administration to state more clearly the results to be achieved by the HATS so that the general public would be able to relate them to their daily life and provide concrete responses in future consultation. In response, Mr. Tong reiterated that after completion of the trials and studies, the feasibility of the options and their price tags would be clearly set out in a consultation document for the community to consider.

57. A Member commended EPD and CDM in preparing a comprehensive and informative consultation document and urged the consultant to assess the health risks properly during the process.

58. A Member informed Members that another Member and he, as members of the Monitoring Group of HATS, had discussed with EPD officers on the proposed WQC and they were pleased to note that their inputs were largely taken on board.

59. Dr. Broom drew Members' attention to the view-sharing workshop on the proposed water criteria to be held on 22 June 2002 and said that Members' participation would be welcome.

60. The Chairman thanked Dr. Broom and his team for the briefing.

Agenda Item 6 : Chemical Waste Treatment Centre Environmental Monitoring
(ACE Paper 24/2002)

61. The Chairman welcomed Dr. Ellen Chan, Mr. Michael Pang and Mr. Joe Zorn to the meeting. Dr. Chan said that the report was prepared in response to Members' request arising from the April meeting. Mr. Zorn then briefed Members on the environmental monitoring of the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre (CWTC).

62. A Member enquired about the actions taken to rectify as well as to prevent exceedances in dioxin emission; whether the reported exceedances were due to human error or system error; the volume of solid waste to be disposed of in landfills; whether there was monitoring system in place at the landfill site, and whether the CWTC only handled chemical waste generated in Hong Kong.

63. In response to that Member's question on rectifications, Mr. Zorn said that on the monitoring front they had increased the frequency of testing at the nearby housing estate from once every six months to once a month. On the operating front, an additional carbon injection system had been installed as a backup if the first one malfunctioned as in the case of past exceedances. He further pointed out that although the reported exceedances were primarily due to mechanical error, the operating staff had been instructed to carry out more frequent manual inspections of the equipment ever since.

64. On the volume of solid waste to be disposed of in landfills, Mr. Zorn said that he did not have the figure at hand. The solid waste was subject to dioxin testing at a level below 1ppb before being disposed off at landfills. There was no separate testing at the landfill site but the operator would keep track of the exact location of the waste in the landfill.

(Post meeting note : The total quantity of stabilized solid waste disposed of at landfill in 2001 was approximately 15,000 tonnes. The approximate contribution was 10% from incinerator ash and 90% from physical-chemical treatment.)

Waste treated by CWTC which was generated outside Hong Kong

65. Mr. Zorn said that in 2001, about 30 tonnes out of a total of 62,000 tonnes of chemical waste treated by CWTC was generated in Shanghai where there was no suitable facility to handle that type of waste.

66. In response to that's follow up questions, Dr. Chan explained that the treatment of chemical waste from Shanghai was a special case and a one-off event. Future requests would be considered on a case-by-case basis. Mr. Pang said that waste producers using the CWTC were charged according to the fees specified in the Chemical Waste Charging Regulation and the fees were paid to the Treasury as Government revenue.

67. A Member referred to the special case and asked whether there were standard procedures in handling the transportation of chemical waste across the boundary. In response, Dr. Chan said that the procedures were governed by the Waste Disposal Ordinance and were in full compliance with the BASEL Convention requirements in which permits were required to be issued by the exporting and importing countries.

68. A Member asked whether the CWTC operator was charged for the disposal of solid waste in landfills. In response, Mr. Zorn said that at present the disposal was free of charge but it would be subject to landfill charging upon implementation of the scheme.

69. A Member enquired about the current rate for treating chemical waste and how regularly the rate was reviewed. In response, Dr. Chan said that under the present charges, the Government only recovered 31% of the variable operating cost of CWTC but not the capital cost nor the fixed operating cost. Mr. Pang said that the rate had not been reviewed since 1997 because of the economic climate. The operating cost of the CWTC in 2001 was about HK$420 million.

70. A Member asked whether there had been a reduction in the volume of chemical waste treated by CWTC since charging was in place. In response, Dr. Chan said that the volume of chemical waste treated would vary with a number of factors, for example, the overall local industrial pattern. Furthermore, some large organizations would prefer having their own in-house treatment facility. The volume of chemical waste treated by CWTC had decreased due to installation of in-house treatment facilities or manufacturing activities moving out of Hong Kong.

71. The Chairman asked whether the samples of dioxin-containing waste taken by the Hong Kong Productivity Council for monitoring purpose were taken on a fixed timing or on random dates and times. In response, Mr. Zorn said that the timing was fixed to tie in with the tests carried out by the Government Laboratory on the samples taken from the monitoring station of the housing estates. The Chairman suggested taking random samples to increase the credibility of the monitoring exercise.

72. A Member asked whether there was any possibility to further increase the frequency of monitoring. In response, Mr. Zorn said that there was no equipment capable of continuous dioxin monitoring. Since laboratory testing took four days to complete, it would be impractical to take a daily sample. Weekly monitoring was plausible but would be very costly. Besides, no other incineration facilities except the CWTC conducted monitoring of dioxin emission on a monthly basis. The common frequency was annually or semi-annually.

73. The Chairman thanked the presentation team for the briefing.

Agenda Item 7 : Any Other Business

Tentative items for discussion at the next meeting

74. The Chairman informed Members that due to the long agenda of the meeting, the item on the progress report of the Task Force (Black Spots) had to be deferred. The Task Force had advised the Secretariat that they preferred to present the report in September.

Visit to Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works - Compact Sewage Treatment Technology Pilot Plant Trials

75. The Chairman reported that he and three other Members had signed up for the July 23rd visit and encouraged more Members to join.

Informal meeting with the Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs

76. The Chairman informed Members that due to the tight meeting schedule of the LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs in June and July 2002, the Panel suggested postponing the informal meeting to September. The Secretariat would bring up the matter in due course.

Agenda Item 8 : Date of next meeting

77. The next meeting was scheduled for 29 July 2002.

ACE Secretariat
June 2002




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