A bit belated, here are some images from the rally against the “super” incinerator off Lantau. It was an interesting march, and according to police, 1,500 people participated. That means… there were double that? The Hong Kong police, as indeed police in other places, are known to be not very enthusiastic about counting correctly the number of demonstrators. But as so many of them were filming the rally, I’m sure they got the numbers right this time.
With recent upheavals in Central, the route from Pier 6 to government’s charming and, architecturally, astonishingly cutting-edge (if we lived in 1950) edifice is not exactly cut and dried, and the procession wound through Central in a most circuitous way; fighting through the crowds of Pedder street, going up and down stairs and escalators and through shopping centers, notably Pacific Place.
I’m afraid we lost quite a few activists in that particular place, what with sales and all. “Wah! Prada! Here, hold my banner, see you next week!”
Then it was off to Intimidation Court (govt. HQ) with its shiny black windows and black everything, to hand over petitions and signatures to the smirking Elvis Au (second in command over at the Environmental Destruction Department.) Unlike the demonstrators, some of whom idiotically wore Guy Fawkes masks now that we needed to be taken seriously, he at least had the good grace to wear a suit. That’s the only good thing I’ll probably ever say about Elvis again. This man is on a mission: He is after your view, your air and your seawater and he won’t stop before the pollution is evenly distributed.
This incinerator is the most impossible-to-understand scheme the government has come up with. There is not a single good thing about this plan. The practice of burning waste in incinerators was discontinued in this very town in 1997 over “pollution concerns”. But now, according to Elvis, we should start doing it again, because 1. There will be no emissions and 2. All the pollution will blow away because the wind always blows in one direction here in Hong Kong. I’m sure the people in the Philippines are glad to hear that. And also, as was his final reassurance at the Islands Council meeting last month: “It shouldn’t be a problem”. That’s the kind of discussion-ending, reassuring argument we want to hear from a government official.
But no one can accuse the government of not being open and accountable, because despite saying earlier that it would reveal the price of this project only after the funding had gone through Legco, it has now openly said that it will cost 15 billion of taxpayers’ money to ruin South Lantau and Cheung Chau, not the paltry HK$13 billion first calculated.
Think big, eh! When I look out my living room windows and see the grey pall hanging over the South China sea all year round, I will be greatly comforted in knowing that I now have the same amount of pollution as other Hong Kong people. If not more! Hooray!