【新聞聲明：環團聯合要求擴大東涌河畔公園範圍】【Press Statement：Green groups jointly call for extension of proposed Tung Chung River Nature Park】
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.
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)
Government is preparing a Biodiversity Action and Strategy Plan.
The objective is to better safeguard Hong Kong’s biodiversity, and to contribute to safeguarding the world’s biodiversity.
Our concern is the absence of a comprehensive debate.
Hong Kong’s land supply strategy and conserving biodiversity need to be looked at as one and not two discussions in separate rooms.
There is also an urgent need to reform legislation to protect habitats on private land, as proven by the ongoing land filling and tree felling throughout rural areas and country parks.
The BSAP consultation will conclude mid-nite 7 Apr 2016.
Below are links to the Government website as well as suggestions and form letters to aid your timely response.
Designing Hong Kong form letter for your use.
2. Presentations Public forum – BSAP: Charting a sustainable future for Hong Kong – held on 19 March.
香港環保團體合力發動行山打卡熱潮 香港巿民透過史無前例的網上動員行動對抗郊野公園發展威脅 Green Groups Create Selfies Fire Storm #SaveOurCountryParks Hongkongers express support for country parks during unprecedented event in response to development threats
由早上8時至中午12時，總共超過34,106訪客曾進入郊野公園，並透過義工獲得保衛郊野公園的資訊。社交媒體（包括Facebook 活動專頁和Instagram）有著過千相片或影片標籤了 #保衛郊野公園。
Hongkongers express support for country parks
during unprecedented event in response to development threats
Over 200 volunteers from 16 organisations and individuals set up more than 30 stations at key entrances to 20 of Hong Kong’s 24 country parks. The volunteers counted visitors and asked them to take selfies in support of safeguarding country parks. The mega event gave Hong Kong people an opportunity to stand up and oppose those wanting to use country parks for development.
Prof. Lam added: “The national government has decided to incorporate special ecological areas within its urban planning strategy. We should do likewise, yet there are increasing threats from developments. Hong Kong has a unique treasure with our extensive country parks system – which no other World City can rival. Developers and government should not encroach on this unique asset. Today’s event shows that people care and are willing to stand up to protect the country parks for our next generations.”
According to the Country and Marine Parks Authority’s Progress Report, the number of visitors has increased 24.8% compared with last summer – clearly showing that country parks are ever more important for leisure and relaxation for Hong Kong residents and visitors.
Prof. Wong Fook-yee, adjunct professor of the Geography and Resource Management Department of CUHK, related the history and objectives of establishing Hong Kong country parks, and said they should be conserved and protected.
“We have more than ten thousands members – all of whom love the country parks –and this continues to grow,” said SK Shum, organiser of Hong Kong Hiking Meetup. “The country parks are for gathering and meeting new people, for sports and recreation, for our health.”
Suzanne Cheung, CEO of Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong), said, “I love country parks, and am keenly aware of the environmental benefits – such as providing habitats for wildlife to enhance biodiversity, trees absorb carbon dioxide (GHG) to mitigate climate change, greenery that benefits our mental and physical health, and as a source of clean drinking water.”
The groups also called on the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to stay true to his Election Manifesto, in which he promised that “We will protect our country parks and bodies of land and water with ecological value, and formulate long-term plans for other areas of land available for development.”
More photos and pictures on the press meeting will be uploaded on Save Our Country Parks Facebook Page.
For more hikers’ supportive pictures, please visit #SaveOur CountryParks event page.
Ark Eden、香港地貌岩石保育協會、爭氣行動、創建香港、Eco-Sys Action、香港大學學生會理學會環境生命科學學會、海下之友、西貢之友、大浪灣之友、香港地球之友、綠色社區、綠色大嶼山協會、綠色力量、環保觸覺、綠領行動、綠色和平、香港自然生態論壇、香港單車同盟、香港海豚保育學會、Hong Kong Outdoors、大嶼山愛護水牛協會、島嶼活動行動、活在南丫、勃勃海洋、西貢大浪灣關注組、香港自然探索學會、長春社、香港觀鳥會、世界自然基金會香港分會
香港遠足覓合團、Sai Kung Buffalo Watch、守護大嶼聯盟、徑‧香港
“Save Our Country Parks Alliance” Members and Partners include green, hiking and other concern groups who seek to safeguard Hong Kong’s Country Parks:
Ark Eden, Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong, Clear the Air, Designing Hong Kong, Eco-Sys Action, Environmental Life Science Society, SS, HKUSU, Friends of Hoi Ha, Friends of Sai Kung, Friends of Tai Long Wan, Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong), Green Community, Green Lantau Association, Green Power, Green Sense, Greeners Action, Greenpeace, HKWildlife.net, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, Hong Kong Outdoors, Lantau Buffalo Association, Living Islands Movement, Living Lamma, Living Seas Hong Kong, Sai Kung Tai Long Wan Concern Group, Society of Hong Kong Nature Explorers, The Conservancy Association, WWF-Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Hiking Meet Up, Sai Kung Buffalo Watch、Save Lantau Alliance, TrailWatch.