Perspective

Hokkaido solar farm
May 24, 2013
A statement last month from Hokkaido Electric Power Co, which provides electricity to Japan’s northernmost island, that it won’t be able to accommodate more than 400-MW of utility-scale solar-powered generating capacity appears to be having a cooling effect on the industry. SB Energy, the renewable power arm of Softbank Corp, is reported by the Kyoto News agency to be re-evaluating the feasibility of three solar projects in the prefecture with a total planned capacity of 180-MW.
Hong Kong's looming landfill problem
May 21, 2013
The Hong Kong Government has a new, multi-prongeed solid waste management plan that maps out the city’s strategy for the next decade. It's aimed at slowing the rate at which rubbish is sent to the city’s three existing mega-dumps, which are projected to reach capacity in 2015, 2017 and 2019 unless something is done. Unveiled by Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing, Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022 repackages the familiar mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” as “Use Less, Waste Less” and envisages building of at least two organic waste treatment facilities together with a large waste-to-energy incineration plant.
Plasticity HK 2013
May 10, 2013
This multi-layered environmental question keeps on being asked, seemingly with few answers that translate into action. With the Center for Biological Diversity estimating that 40 per cent of the world’s ocean surface is now littered with plastic waste, this issue must be addressed and urgently. We need to focus on the issue in a new way, and in doing so create new opportunities. Plastic waste creates large, expensive and unnecessary impact on society because of its ecological impact. Ecosystems give us everything we need to live – air, water, energy and food.
Protestors outside Primak
May 09, 2013
With the death toll from last month’s collapse of Rana Plaza now past 900, the fall-out from Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster will be felt well beyond Dhaka’s slums and tenements. Karl Borgschulze of Consulting Services International, who has been working on CSR issues within the Bangladeshi garment and textile industry since 2005, shared his views with CleanBiz.Asia.
An Indian solar farm
May 08, 2013
India intends to level the playing field between solar photovoltaic (PV) power modules made from crystalline silicon and those using various thin-film technologies during the country’s next grid-connected solar PV power capacity auction due to start at the end of this month. During the first phase of the country’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) – under which solar PV and solar thermal were each allocated 500-MW of capacity – there was a mandate that 60 per cent of equipment by value was to be locally sourced for solar PV projects and 30 percent for solar thermal projects.
Hong Kong ivory seizure
April 30, 2013
Hong Kong customs have had some success of late in tackling the underground trade of illegal wildlife products, with large shipments of smuggled wildlife goods been intercepted through its ports. Between October 2012 and January 2013, three shipments of ivory tusks were seized by Hong Kong customs. The biggest consignment included 1,209 ivory tusks seized in two containers, arriving from Tanzania and Kenya, worth an estimated USD3.5 million. The line between legal and illegal wildlife products can be blurred and rather confusing in Hong Kong. Firstly, the sale of animal parts is ubiquitous. Crocodile skin, earthworms, seahorses and countless others, are synonymous with their use in traditional medicine.
Transparency with Beijing air pollution
April 22, 2013
Following the news on environmental issues here in China can be a grim business. The first months of 2013 alone brought coverage of January’s “airpocalypse,” when air pollution in Beijing reached historic levels; news of thousands of dead pigs floating in the Huangpu River, a primary source of Shanghai’s drinking water; and a new report indicating that China sees 1.2 million premature deaths each year due to outdoor air pollution – almost 40 percent of the world’s total of such deaths. Amid such bleak headlines, it can be easy to miss any kind of progress.
HK should learn from Singapore
April 10, 2013
Singapore and Hong Kong are traditional rivals but they also share many similarities. Both are former British colonies, have limited natural resources and are economic powerhouses. Both are also dependent on others for water resources. Singapore sources about 40 percent of its water from Malaysia, while Hong Kong purchases 70-80 percent of its raw water from Guangdong. Despite this similarity, the attitudes of Singapore and Hong Kong towards water security are drastically different.  Singapore is highly pro-active in reducing its water dependency and securing its supply, while Hong Kong appears unbothered that its water security depends on an increasingly threatened source.
China water conundrum
March 19, 2013
China’s water resources are increasingly being pitted against economic development, and losing. Water is vital to all aspects of the economy, especially for agricultural and power production, making it a strategic resource. However, China’s position as the world’s factory, and its ‘develop-first clean-up later’ mindset, has resulted in much of its water resources being compromised. This is problematic as the country suffers from a lack of potable water. It has to support 20 percent of the world’s population on only 5 percent of the worlds renewable freshwater and the UN has classified China as one of 13 countries suffering from extreme water shortages.
Hong Kong's Olypic Station development
March 05, 2013
Hong Kong should be a walker’s paradise. It is compact and dense, with a large number of amenities concentrated in a very small space. Few errands require the use of a car, and in fact over 90 percent of daily journeys occur on public transportation. Walk Score, a US-based website which calculates walkability based on the proximity and concentration of amenities in a neighborhood, gives much of urban Hong Kong scores of 70/100 or above. Moreover, Hong Kong has a vibrant street food and market culture, boasting areas with enough complexity and variety to keep people entertained for hours. Yet Hong Kongers do not seem to enjoy walking.