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Conflicts exist between the locals and the government. The local communities include the residents, particularly those living in Cheung Chau, and some environmental groups. The residents have their most concern in their quality of life, as incineration may bring air pollution and water pollution, or even odor pollution to the living environment, they are worry about these pollutions might affect their life. Serious air pollution would lead to various health problems such as lung cancer, asthma or other respiratory diseases, pollutants like dioxins are highly toxic which give great harm even under short exposure. And as a result jeopardize the health of people. Moreover, water pollution poses threat to the aquatic lives, the amount of marine animals around there may become smaller as they may die in polluted water. This not only cause complications to fishermen due to the decrease in amount of fish, that they catch less fish and lower their income which they would lose their jobs, but also contentious to environmentalists. Since water pollution would be particularly dangerous for the endangered species like Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoises which is confronting the crisis of extinction. And gas emissions from incineration may cause air pollutions and worsen global warming, many environmental groups oppose building the incinerator. Dredging and reclamation will also damage one of best remaining areas for Hong Kong fisheries, dealing a severe blow to the livelihood of fishermen, as well as the biodiversity.
On the other hand, the government focuses mainly on the current landfill problem and wanting to tackle it by using an incinerator. Yau Teng-hua, former Secretary for the Environment, said that Hong Kong needed to build a modern incinerator to cope with the needs of disposal of municipal waste in Hong Kong. The government considers the incineration facility can meet the needs of landfills after saturation and can also bring economic benefits. The government believes that working with an incinerator to tackle the waste problem could be done with other recycling work as well as waste treatment work in order to reduce the amount of waste effectively. Based on the principle of sustainable development, the government insisted on the need to build “the three landfills and the incinerator”. Wong Kam-sing, the Secretary for the Environment said that, “While waste reduction is paramount, having the capacity for municipal solid waste incineration is nevertheless necessary.”
The government thinks an incinerator is an essential element to reduce the waste amount disposed to landfills in the future, as it can reduce the waste volume by over 90% and it is one of the widely used technologies for treating municipal solid waste prior to disposal at landfills. Thus the Hong Kong government shows its support in building an incinerator. As a result, value conflicts arose between the government and the local communities.
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