The government has approved construction work for an asphalt plant in Sheung Shui close to a village as well as a site where a poultry market is set to open in 2021.

The Town Planning Board approved the application filed by K. Wah Construction Materials in 2014, reported Apple Daily. The asphalt plant will be built 200 metres from a Sheung Shui village and 1.6km from the town centre.

The construction company made its first application for an asphalt plant to be built as a permanent fixture in 2013. When it was rejected, the company filed a second application six months later, proposing a temporary asphalt plant that will stand for five years. The application was approved. The plant could start running in 2016.

The Sheung Shui site where the asphalt plant will be built. Photo: Google Maps.

Local villagers objected to the asphalt plant, fearing health risks, pollution and increasing traffic in surrounding areas.

At a meeting in April 2014, the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Vivian Lau said in response to the first application that asphalt “would likely be regarded as a contaminant.” She added: “Poultry or food animals should be protected from contamination of physical, chemical and biological hazards… to minimise the food safety risk that might be induced by such contaminants.”

Regarding the newly approved proposal, the Planning Department said the plant “would not affect the implementation of the proposed wholesale poultry market,” which is set to begin construction in 2019 and be completed in 2021, according to the newspaper. The new poultry market will replace the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market.

The Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market is set to be relocated. Photo: Wikicommons.

The proposed asphalt plant is set to operate 24 hours every day with a maximum hourly production capacity of 160 tonnes.

Asphalt is usually used in road paving in Hong Kong. Photo: Asphalt Surfaces.

Hong Kong Live Poultry Wholesalers Association chairman Tsui Ming-tuen voiced his concerns about the asphalt plant. He said: “[They] said it was not safe before. Now [they are saying] it is safe. Are they neglecting the lives of Hongkongers?” He said he does not plan to move his business to the new wholesale market.

K. Wah Construction Materials said the plant will comply with Hong Kong’s environmental requirements, but did not comment on whether the plant will cease to operate in 2021 after the poultry market is completed.

Hong Kong currently has three asphalt plants, located in Chek Lap Kok, Tsing Yi and Lam Tei in Tuen Mun. The plants are built at least 2km from residential areas.

review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in US said: “Known carcinogens have been found in asphalt fumes generated at work sites.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.