長春社、世界自然基金會香港分會、綠色力量、香港觀鳥會、創建香港、綠色和平、綠惜地球、綠領行動、環保觸覺、西貢之友、海下之友、島嶼活力行動、Hong Kong Outdoors、保衛郊野公園、香港地球之友、香港大學學生會理學會生態學及生物多樣性學會、香港海豚保育學會、香港鄉郊基金
Green groups refuse to participate in the destruction of Country Parks
Paragraph 117 of the 2017 Policy Address considered the allocation of country park areas for development of public housing and non-profit-making elderly homes. On 17th May 2017, the Government confirmed that it had invited the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) to undertake studies regarding two sites located on the periphery of Tai Lam Country Park and Ma On Shan Country Park. On 27th April 2018, HKHS announced that it had appointed consultant to study the feasibility of developing the sites.
Green and concern groups received an invitation to attend a consultation meeting on 11th July and to comment on the proposed ecological survey methodology. We are frustrated and discontented with the Government’s proposal of developing the Country Parks, which ignores the original intention of the Country Park Ordinance, the function of Country and Marine Park Board, and undermines the well-established and effective system of protected areas. Furthermore, the Government and HKHS started to plan for developing the periphery of Country Parks before the completion of the public consultation for land supply which claimed to seek for public consensus. All of the above suggests that the Government has always intended to develop the Country Parks. And therefore we refused to join the meeting under such premise and to endorse the act to destruct Country Parks.
Comprising 40% of total land area, Country Park is a valuable asset for Hong Kong. Apart from ecological value, Country Park also contains the value of protecting water gathering grounds, education, landscape, recreation, and so on. The function of Country Park should not be served as land reserve for development. However, the study by HKHS focuses on the ecological value of Country Parks and the technical feasibility for development. Such practice would neglect other important and legal functions of Country Park other than ecological aspect. This would mislead the public to think that the areas of relatively low ecological value at the periphery of Country Parks can be identified solely through the current ecological assessment, thus justifying Country Parks can be developed in a scientific and legitimate way.
The government misleads the public further by using the ambiguous term “periphery” suggesting that these areas are of relatively low ecological value. However, the study areas provided to HKHS are clearly within the Country Park boundary. Country Parks are delineated under the Country Park Ordinance without distinguishing their core or periphery. There is in fact no difference in developing Country Parks or developing the periphery of Country Parks. All such development causes irreversible impacts on their ecological, landscape, recreational and educational values. Moreover, any predetermined development of Country Park areas sets a bad precedent.
Finally, the Government has proposed to use Country Parks for public housing and elderly homes and to test the Country Park Ordinance by using the term “public need”. Without consideration of the availability of ample suitable sites for these types of development, the government puts conservation and housing development unnecessarily in a confrontational position. The Government continues to emphasize the urgency of development of Country Parks and create unnecessary social conflicts. Instead, comprehensive planning and the wise-use of land resources for all social needs should be promoted with priority for redevelopment of brownfields and other under-utilized or idle sites.
The Conservancy Association, WWF-Hong Kong, Green Power, The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Designing Hong Kong, Greenpeace, The Green Earth, Greeners Action, Green Sense, Friends of Sai Kung, Friends of Hoi Ha, Living Islands Movement, Hong Kong Outdoors, Save Our Country Parks, Friends of the Earth (HK), Ecology & Biodiversity Society, SS, HKUSU, Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation
12th July 2018
83% Citizens support Nam Sang Wai Conservation
Green Groups call for Government Conservation Proposal
In March of this year, the reed beds in Nanshangwai caught fire, and the state of conservation and threats in Namshangwai give rise to concerns again. A number of green groups Designing Hong Kong, Greenpeace, Green Power, The Conservancy Association (CA), Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) and Friends of the Earth (HK) entrusted the Public Opinion Program of the University of Hong Kong (HKU POP) to conduct public opinion survey on the conservation of Nam Seng Wai and successfully interviewed 1,300 citizens.
According to the poll result, 83% of citizens supported the conservation of the natural landscape in Nam Sang Wai. 61% of citizens support land resumption from landlord with reference to law and the non-in-situ exchange etc, in hopes of continuously protect and conserve the natural environment of Nam Seng Wai. Mr. Hei Man Ng, the Campaign Manager of CA, pointed out that citizen’s determination on conserving Nam Seng Wai is undoubted based on the poll’s result. It also showed that Hong Kong government should put effort on conserving Nam Seng Wai from the public’s perspective. He further supplemented that the conservation measures under the New Nature Conservation Policy are no longer practical as the policy has been implemented since 2004. Government should review the conservation measures under the policy again.
Ms. Ming Chuan Woo, the senior conservation officer in HKBWS, stated that Nam Sang Wai has its unique ecology and natural landscape. Nam Sang Wai has been listed as one of the priority sites for enhanced conservation under the New Nature Conservation Policy since 2004. Its importance is at similar level of other priority site. Moreover, Nam Sang Wai is adjacent to the Ramsar Site, which is well-known in the world, and inside the Conservation Area. It is an important part of the Deep Bay Wetland Ecosystem that cannot be separated.
She pointed out that there is a rich ecological environment in Nam Sang Wai, including fish ponds, mudflats and tidal belts. Its large reed beds are one of the best in Hong Kong. This provides forage and habitat for many conservative species of birds and wildlife, including the globally endangered Black-faced Spoonbill, Chinese Penduline Tit that are of regional concern, Yellow Bittern that are of local concern, and Eurasian Otter. The trees next to the fish ponds in this area are also important habitats for common migratory birds Great Cormorant in the Deep Bay area. Therefore, the ecological environment in Nam Sang Wai must be conserved.
Mr. Chun Yu Kwong and Mr. Hoi Dick Chu, the two legislators, also pointed out the recreational value of Nam Sang Wai among general public. The government should take action to confront the land destruction. Nam Sang Wai is close to the Yuen Long Town Hall. Apart from having a high ecological and conservation value, Nam Sang Wai is also a location for many movies and TV dramas production. It attracts many tourists to cycle, relax and have picnic during holidays. It is a very popular rural leisure spot. In the past ten years, there have been seven fires. However, no one has been arrested. Couple with the private development threats, it is suspicious that the government intentionally indulge the destructive behavior.
Dr. Luk Ki Cheng, the director of the Green Power, said that the citizens are not reluctant to, or even support, the land resumption or the non-in-situ exchange etc as long-term measures in Nam Sang Wai Conservation. The government should make efforts in studying the long-term conservation program of Nam Sang Wai. In the short term, the Government should also take measures to prevent the fire and various threats of destruction, and formulate a management agreement so that the existing habitat can be protected and managed. Meanwhile, public and the next generation can enjoy this natural environment
|2.||CoVision 16, 建築師||關兆倫|
Formation of a Citizens Task Force on Land Resources
A “Citizens Task Force on Land Resources” has been formed with 27 members bringing together a wide range of interests from business to land justice groups.
Plans to form a Citizens Task Force followed the announcement of the membership of the government’s Task Force on Land Supply last week. A preparatory meeting was held on 7 September.
The Chief Executive in her manifesto promised to “draw on the collective wisdom of society and recognise the need for compromises” and to “establish a dedicated task force representing various sectors… ”. However, the government Task Force appears to omit many sectors. Absent, for example, are concern and research groups including younger talent.
The Citizens Task Force will meet monthly or as needed. The meetings will be public subject to available venues.
The Citizens Task Force on Land Resources seeks to broaden and facilitate the debate to some critical issues including sustainable development, the optimal uses of land, and the conservation of resources.
Three working groups will be formed for evidence based discussions on Sustainability Principles and Indicators; Current and Future Land Use; and Land Supply. They will consider all available evidence on population, immigration, economic development, employment, land use, housing and land supply.
Under the Code of Access to Information the Citizens Task Force will request Government for equal and timely access to all relevant information available to Government and its Task Force.
The Citizens Task Force seeks to generate constructive ideas and effectively engage the community in rational discussions over Hong Kong’s land use and land supply options.
Annex: Participants in the Citizen Task Force on Land Resources
|Organization / Profession||Name|
|2.||CoVision 16||Kwan Siu Lun|
|3.||Central and Western District Concern Group||Katty Law|
|4.||Designing Hong Kong||Paul Zimmerman|
|6.||Engineer||C M Lee|
|8.||HKBU (Department of Geography)||Tang Wing Shing|
|9.||HK Countryside Foundation||Lam Chiu Ying|
|10.||University professor||Dr. Brian Fong|
|12.||Institute of Future Cities, CUHK||Mee Kam Ng|
|13.||CUHK||Leung Kai Chi|
|14.||Land Watch||Lee Wing Tat|
|15.||East Lantau Metropolis Concern Group||Tom Yam|
|18.||Legislator, Land Justice League||Chu Hoi Dick|
|19.||Legislator, Housing Authority||Andrew Wan Siu Kin|
|20.||Liber Research||Chan Kim Ching|
|21.||Liber Research||Camille Lam|
|22.||Town Planner||Ian Brownlee|
|27.||Land Justice League||Leung Tak Ming|
今天創建香港行政總裁司馬文先生，居民Moran Zukerman，無塑海洋行政總裁Tracey Read及梁嘉麗小姐於政府總部外再次展示在大嶼山海灘收集的大量醫療及化學廢料，並呈交環境保護署進行調查。
Dangerous and harmful medical waste found on HK’s beaches continues to put people at risk
Hazardous medical waste continues to pollute Hong Kong’s water and beaches. The waste poses a huge risk to the health and safety of tourists and Hong Kong people.
Today, Designing Hong Kong’s CEO Paul Zimmerman, Moran Zukerman, a local resident, and Plastic Free Seas’ CEO Tracey Read and Julia Leung again submitted a large amount of medical and chemical waste retrieved from a Lantau beach to the Environmental Protection Department.
It is the third and largest delivery of medical waste to the EPD for investigation. In a letter they seriously urged EPD to take follow-up action. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has yet to publish the investigation outcomes after large amounts of medical and chemical waste were collected and delivered to the government on 12th July 2016 and 6th December 2016 respectively.
Reports of syringes and needles washing up on beaches all over Hong Kong have been lodged since 2008. To show the scale of the issue Mr Zukerman has concentrated his efforts on collecting dangerous medical waste from one small Lantau beach since last year. This third delivery in 12 months includes 529 syringes, 402 without needles and 127 syringes with needles. Also included are drug vials, medicine bottles and medicine packets. Some of the items have evidence of bite marks by fish. “Government has hired more contractors for beach cleaning, but I keep finding more medical waste,” Zukerman said. “I don’t want beach cleaning. I want full forensic investigation into potential source points, and preventative strategies to stop medical waste floating in our seas.”
“Some of the medicine looks to be originating from China, others are obviously from Hong Kong,” Plastic Free Seas’ CEO Tracey Read said. “The HKSAR government needs to have an inter-departmental collaboration with Guangdong counterparts to investigate the sources and nature of the waste and establish an action plan to deal with the illegal disposal of hazardous medical and veterinary waste in China and Hong Kong. Preventing the waste from leaking into the environment is of the utmost importance.”
One solution to stop improper disposal of local medicines and used syringes is to facilitate a Hong Kong “take-back” program for unwanted medicines and accessible disposal facilities for used syringes. Government can work with public and private health facilities to provide sharps bins (for used syringes) and containers for unwanted medicines.
> Petition Link: http://supporthk.org/en/node/4412/ <
On 17 June 2017, a 38-year-old father slipped and fell down the at Waterfall Bay. At least three people had a fatal accident here since 2006. We asked government for a pedestrian footbridge in 2010 but progress has been slow.
We need a guarantee that government will provide a safe link for residents who walk between Wah Fu Estate and Cyberport and for those who would like to enjoy the spectacular views of the Waterfall.
Sign Now to urge the government to speed up a safe footbridge at Waterfall Bay!
AM730 column on the same: Link
News report of accident (Chinese): Link
創建香港行政總裁司馬文先生，居民Moran Zukerman及無塑海洋行政總裁Tracey Read今天於政府總部外展示大批於大嶼山海灘拾獲的醫療廢物，並再次交給環境保護署化驗及作進一步的調查。此外，他們更向環境保護署遞交信件，表達對事件的極度關注及促請有關部門盡快展開調查及跟進工作。
Hazardous medical waste continues to pollute Hong Kong’s water and beaches. The waste threatens the health and safety of local residents.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has yet to respond and publish the investigation outcomes after large amounts of medical waste were collected and delivered to government on 12 July 2016.
Today, Designing Hong Kong’s CEO Paul Zimmerman, Moran Zukerman, a local resident, and Plastic Free Seas’ CEO Tracey Read submitted again a large amount of medical waste retrieved from a Lantau beach to the EPD outside the Central Government Office. In a letter they urged EPD to take follow up action.
The newly found dangerous medical waste collected at one Lantau beach from July – November 2016, includes 303 syringes without needles, 96 syringes with needles, more than 200 drug vials, a collection tube suspected of containing human blood, plastic medicine bottles and packets. Some of the items have evidence of bite marks by fish.
What is now needed is an in-depth inter-departmental investigation into the source and nature of the waste and to establish a database and action plan which deals with the illegal disposal of hazardous medical waste.
The government is urged to act with expediency in response to the medical waste found.
Press release on 12 July 2016: https://goo.gl/42p5DX
東涌河是香港少數保持著天然狀態的河流系統。東涌河發源自九百多米的鳯凰山和大東山〈分別是香港第二和第三高峰〉，從河源到東涌灣的河口形成連續和貫通的高山至河口海岸的整全河流生態系統，孕育不少高保育價值的物種，包括紫身枝牙鰕虎魚(Stiphodon atropurpureum) 、北江光唇魚(Acrossocheilus beijiangensis)、中國鱟〈馬蹄蟹〉(Tachypleus tridentatus)、舒氏海龍(Syngnathus schlegeli) 、黃嘴白鷺 (Egretta eulophotes), 裳鳳蝶 (Troides helena) 及白頸鴉（Corvus torquatusis）等。
【Press Statement：Green groups jointly call for extension of proposed Tung Chung River Nature Park】
Green groups jointly propose to extend the Tung Chung River Nature Park so that it covers both the eastern and western sections of the river, and the estuary.
To implement this proposal, the Government is to resume the private land along the Tung Chung River and the estuary as part of the Tung Chung New Town Extension Development Plan, and to manage the extended Tung Chung River Nature Park as a public amenity for leisure, recreation and appreciation of nature, as well as a drainage facility to control flooding.
Tung Chung River largely retained its natural state from Hong Kong’s second and third highest peaks, all the way down to the shallow estuary in Tung Chung Bay. It offers one of the few remaining natural low land habitats and is exceptionally rich in aquatic and coastal biodiversity. It includes many rare and endangered species, such as the Philippine Neon Goby (Stiphodon atropurpureum 紫身枝牙鰕虎魚), Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb (Acrossocheilus beijiangensis 北江光唇魚), Chinese Horseshoe Crab (Tachypleus tridentatus 中國鱟), Seaweed Pipefish (Syngnathus schlegeli 舒氏海龍), Swinhoe’s Egret (Egretta eulophotes 黃嘴白鷺), as well as the Common Birdwing (Troides helena 裳鳳蝶) and Collared Crow (Corvus torquatusis白頸鴉).
In the zoning plan for Tung Chung Valley gazetted on 08/01/2016, a river park is proposed to cover only the eastern section of Tung Chung Valley. It is zoned as OU (For River Parks only), and is expected to be managed by the Drainage Services Department. The western section of the river and the estuary are currently zoned for conservation uses including Coastal Protection Area (CPA) and Conservation Area (CA). The green groups now propose that the western section of the river and estuary should also be included under the zoning of OU (For River Parks only).
Over the past two decades we observed a proliferation of incompatible developments and eco-vandalism in Tung Chung River Valley. Ecologically degraded land areas increased from 4.8% in 2007 to approximately 13% in 2015.
Unless the private lands along the river banks and estuary are resumed under the New Town development plan, and managed and patrolled by relevant government departments as part of the River Park, these areas would be doomed. Government has at times itself admitted that under the current planning and environmental laws, it is unable to safeguard private land from environmental destruction.
The additional land acquisition cost is estimated at $300 million. This proposal will benefit the land owners, as well as local residents and visitors.
The green groups’ proposal to extend the River Nature Park will ensure the long term sustainability of Tung Chung River and the estuary as a natural resource for the use and enjoyment by existing and future residents of Tung Chung New Town, protect ecologically sensitive habitats, and allow the management of local flood hydraulics.
Designing Hong Kong
Eco-Education & Resources Centre
Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
Lantau Buffalo Association
The Conservancy Association
WWF – Hong Kong
The zoning plan (land use) and the lot index plan (land ownership) show the park proposed by Government (8.45Ha) and the bigger park proposed by green groups (21.5Ha).
In the zoning plan for the Tung Chung Valley gazetted on 08/01/2016, the area zoned “OU (For River Parks only)” covers only the eastern section of the Tung Chung Valley (blue striped outline).
The green groups push for the western section of the river and the estuary to be added (red dotted outline) and to resume the private lands within the extended park area.
上週末在高塘下洋慘遭破壞的季節性濕地有超過6成土地屬於榮登拓展有限公司。該公司由陳麗明持有，並由范惠玲擔任秘書，在2012年2月以$6,702,008購入鄰近多個地段。我們到訪該公司的註冊地址，發現現址為“New Hall Design Limited” 的建築設計公司，同樣由陳麗明持有。職員稱公司擁有高塘下洋的土地，但負責人正在休假。她們會在下週聯絡我們，以得知鄉議局是否合法地取得業主同意下斬樹。
【Country Parks under attack from the Heung Yee Kuk】
Last Sunday, the Heung Yee Kuk felled trees and removed vegetation on wetland deep inside the Sai Kung Country Park.
It was a protest against Government’s plan to zone the area for conservation. The Kuk claimed the zoning would restrict farming on this enclave of private land. This is nonsense for two reasons. First, farming is always allowed, even on agricultural land in country parks. Secondly, our investigation has now revealed that the land in question was sold to developers in 2012. The indigenous villagers long gave up their interest in farming.
What the Heung Yee Kuk is really after is the right to build small houses on private land in country parks. The pattern of the sale of village land to developers, destruction of vegetation, the push for rezoning and the illegal sale of the “Ding” right to build small houses, is replayed constantly throughout the New Territories, including deep inside our country parks.
The Small House Policy is unsustainable, attracts illegal activities, and results in environmentally disastrous developments. The Kuk’s push for small houses in country park enclaves is harmful to the surrounding country parks and nearby marine resources. Since the Tai Long Sai Wan incident in 2010, Designing Hong Kong together with community, hiking and conservation groups has worked hard to protect the country parks from these destructive developments.
Heung Yee Kuk ‘farming’ lies exposed
Over 60% of the seasonal wetland in Ko Tong Ha Yeung which was subject to tree felling this weekend, was bought by Glory Top Develop Limited on February 2012 for $6,702,008. The company is owned by Chan Lai Ming, and Fan Wai Ling is the secretary. We visited their office which was branded “New Hall Design Limited” – a company with the same directors. Staff confirmed that the land at Ko Tong Ha Yeung was theirs, but that the person in charge was on holiday and would call us back upon her return next week. Whether the Heung Yee Kuk had approval to cut the trees is yet unclear.
Records uncovered by Designing Hong Kong’s land searches for Tai Tan, Uk Tau, Ko Tong and Ko Tong Ha Yeung can be found here:http://goo.gl/QJPt4B
News Report on villagers tree felling and vegetation clearance:
Hong Kong Free Press: https://goo.gl/10Ynma
創建香港行政總裁司馬文先生、無塑海洋教育項目經理梁嘉麗小姐及居民Moran Zukerman今天展示大批於大嶼山三白灣 (愉景北商場旁) 拾獲的醫療廢料，這些廢料由本年5月起開始收集，經分類及調查後，有明顯證據顯示廢料來自中國廣東省。
Dangerous medical waste found at HK’s beaches
Large amounts of marine waste washes up at Hong Kong’s beaches regularly, especially during rainy season. Heavy rain fails over the last month has triggered large amounts of waste washing into the seas.
“What is now needed is an in-depth investigation into the type and source of the waste rather than black bag beach cleaning actions,” said Paul Zimmerman.
Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong, together with Julia Leung, Program Manager – Education of Plastic Free Seas and Moran Zukerman, a local resident, presented dangerous medical waste found among rubbish collected from a Lantau beach, Sam Pak Wan, since May this year. Many items had definitive markings pointing at locations in the Guangdong Province.
Medical waste collected were for human and veterinarian use (antibiotics and preventative medicine), and many are hazardous and potentially poisonous.
Paul Zimmerman explained: “We sorted and investigated the waste, most of them are vials, syringes, plastic/glass bottles, dialysis bags, medical pills, fully intact glass ampoules. From the brands and simplified Chinese text, it is obviously come from locations in the Guangdong Province. We even found a working pass from a Chinese government transport officer among the waste.”
Open waste dumps are a long standing problem in Hong Kong and on the Mainland. Exposed waste is subject to flooding and washing out to rivers and seas. Hazardous medical waste poses a health risk as beachgoers could injure and infect themselves by stepping on needles. Moran Zukerman, a local resident who has been living in Hong Kong for over 15 years, expressed his concern: “Medical waste is beyond littering, it’s not only harmful to the environment and oceans, but also causes a threat to human beings who consume the fish and many of the medical products shows signs of fish bites who are exposed to those dangerous items, and are eventually consumed by humans.”
Julia Leung explained: “Plastic Free Seas and Green DB have since 2013 reported the medical waste found on beaches to the Marine Department and the Environmental Protection Department. There were also media reports at that time. It is entirely unclear what investigation has been conducted by the EPD into the sources, and what action have been taken to contact the authorities and medical institutions both in Hong Kong and the Mainland.”
“We urge the government to seriously investigate the medical waste we found. The items will be sent to the Environmental Protection Department for investigation and follow up action.”
Waste retrieved from Aberdeen Harbour by the Save Aberdeen Harbour Alliance on 25 June 2016
Fix it: Stop waste before it floats
Report of open waste dump at Wei Ling Ding island: http://goo.gl/WKOzQy (Chinese only)
Facebook video of illegal waste dumps in Hong Kong: https://goo.gl/77r5AL
Let’s not blame the rain
For as long as the government has tracked data on marine refuse, it shows that during the rainy season, the weight of marine refuse collected from the seas and shores increases.
The latest increase in floating rubbish washing onto Hong Kong shores has been linked by the government with the recent extreme rain events throughout the region.
The relationship is plausible. Rainwater washes floating debris left on the land into drains, culverts, streams and rivers, and on to the open seas.
Extreme rain also causes flooding which dislodges debris and again this will flow to the sea. So what to do next? First of all, let’s not blame the rain and climate change.
The Pearl River Delta has (for a very long period) had a subtropical climate with rainy seasons. Repeated sudden deluges of large amounts of water have been a fact of life for many centuries. Climate change is predicted to result in fewer rain days but an increase in the average rainfall intensity.
Consumerism is a problem – but not the cause of marine waste
Others blame consumerism and our lifestyle, especially the shift to packaged food distribution, and one-off serving containers for meals and drinks.
While correctly pointing out that behaviour changes can significantly reduce the volumes of waste produced in this region with rapid urbanisation, rise in income and the feeding of millions of workers, it does not address the cause of floating marine refuse.
Waterproof all waste handling
Floating marine refuse can only be addressed by fixing the structural problem of poorly contained rubbish lying on land.
The coastal dump site at the island of Wei Ling Ding is not the only one along the coast and rivers of the mainland and Hong Kong.
Look no further than the villages and brownfields of the New Territories, or look around Hong Kong Island, and discover how much rubbish lies open and exposed to rain at the government’s refuse collection points.
Add to that the illegal dumping, including hazardous medical waste, by unscrupulous collectors of waste.
By all means, the government should model sea currents to try and pinpoint the source of the recent upsurge in floating waste, but we should not waste time.
With years of evidence of increases in marine refuse during the rainy seasons we can safely agree on the general narrative: we need to waterproof our waste handling from consumers to waste processors, both in Hong Kong and China. And with climate scientists predicting more extreme rainfall, we need to do this sooner rather than later.
(Article was first published in the South China Morning Post, 16 July 2016)