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postgraduate thesis: Environmental justice in Hong Kong : a case study on the west New Territories (WENT) landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen

TitleEnvironmental justice in Hong Kong : a case study on the west New Territories (WENT) landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Cho, K. [曹健]. (2015). Environmental justice in Hong Kong : a case study on the west New Territories (WENT) landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5673710
AbstractA fair and just system is the cornerstone of a civilised society. Although landfill siting and operation are contentious, treating and involving the affected communities in a fair and meaningful manner are indispensable to achieving our shared goal of sustainability. In Hong Kong, landfills have been constructed and managed by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of the Government. Environmental impacts of these landfills on their adjacent communities have been extensively reported by the mass media. Yet, literature on environmental justice in Hong Kong has been very limited. This dissertation aimed to fill this research gap and extend previous studies by conducting an environmental justice analysis for Hong Kong, with a case study on the West New Territories (WENT) Landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen that reflected our progress towards environmental justice. This dissertation adopted a qualitative and case study methodology: (1) to evaluate the distribution of benefits and burdens derived from the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill to Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers; (2) to scrutinise the contextual and structural processes that have impacted the distribution of benefits and burdens; and (3) to examine the degree that Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers have been treated with dignity and respect regarding the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill. A total of nine Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers were purposively sampled for the semi-structured personal interviews of this study. With reference to the qualitative data collected from these villagers; the EPD, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Yuen Long District Council and SITA Waste Services Limited were purposively sampled for the internet interviews of this study. This study revealed an inequitable and unfair distribution of benefits and burdens derived from the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill to Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers. These villagers were exposed to air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution and pests caused by the inappropriate siting and unsatisfactory operation of the WENT Landfill, but they received few benefits in return. This study also revealed that the villagers were not informed, consulted, involved or responded to by the EPD regarding the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill. The incomplete and ineffective civic engagement process, the inefficient and indirect communication channel between Government departments and citizens, and the lack of satisfactory response from Government departments to citizens were the negative structural processes identified. This study lastly revealed a lack of respect for an already degraded farming and fishing village with few, old and non-indigenous villagers by the EPD. A lack of trust was also caused by the broken promises by the Government to the villagers. This study concluded that there was a great difference between the ideal of environmental justice and the reality of the impacts of establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill on the villagers. This study recommends the EPD to implement environmental monitoring and audit programmes, to facilitate public participation, and to establish a compensation mechanism for communities affected by the establishment and operation of waste facilities in Hong Kong.
DegreeMaster of Science in Environmental Management
SubjectFills (Earthwork) - Environmental aspects - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramEnvironmental Management
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221839

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorCho, Kin-
dc.contributor.author曹健-
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-14T23:14:43Z-
dc.date.available2015-12-14T23:14:43Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationCho, K. [曹健]. (2015). Environmental justice in Hong Kong : a case study on the west New Territories (WENT) landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5673710-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221839-
dc.description.abstractA fair and just system is the cornerstone of a civilised society. Although landfill siting and operation are contentious, treating and involving the affected communities in a fair and meaningful manner are indispensable to achieving our shared goal of sustainability. In Hong Kong, landfills have been constructed and managed by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of the Government. Environmental impacts of these landfills on their adjacent communities have been extensively reported by the mass media. Yet, literature on environmental justice in Hong Kong has been very limited. This dissertation aimed to fill this research gap and extend previous studies by conducting an environmental justice analysis for Hong Kong, with a case study on the West New Territories (WENT) Landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen that reflected our progress towards environmental justice. This dissertation adopted a qualitative and case study methodology: (1) to evaluate the distribution of benefits and burdens derived from the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill to Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers; (2) to scrutinise the contextual and structural processes that have impacted the distribution of benefits and burdens; and (3) to examine the degree that Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers have been treated with dignity and respect regarding the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill. A total of nine Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers were purposively sampled for the semi-structured personal interviews of this study. With reference to the qualitative data collected from these villagers; the EPD, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Yuen Long District Council and SITA Waste Services Limited were purposively sampled for the internet interviews of this study. This study revealed an inequitable and unfair distribution of benefits and burdens derived from the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill to Ha Pak Nai Tsuen villagers. These villagers were exposed to air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution and pests caused by the inappropriate siting and unsatisfactory operation of the WENT Landfill, but they received few benefits in return. This study also revealed that the villagers were not informed, consulted, involved or responded to by the EPD regarding the establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill. The incomplete and ineffective civic engagement process, the inefficient and indirect communication channel between Government departments and citizens, and the lack of satisfactory response from Government departments to citizens were the negative structural processes identified. This study lastly revealed a lack of respect for an already degraded farming and fishing village with few, old and non-indigenous villagers by the EPD. A lack of trust was also caused by the broken promises by the Government to the villagers. This study concluded that there was a great difference between the ideal of environmental justice and the reality of the impacts of establishment and operation of the WENT Landfill on the villagers. This study recommends the EPD to implement environmental monitoring and audit programmes, to facilitate public participation, and to establish a compensation mechanism for communities affected by the establishment and operation of waste facilities in Hong Kong.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshFills (Earthwork) - Environmental aspects - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleEnvironmental justice in Hong Kong : a case study on the west New Territories (WENT) landfill and Ha Pak Nai Tsuen-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5673710-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Science in Environmental Management-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnvironmental Management-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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