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)
(新聞稿2016年6月26日) 7名來自多個環保和關注團體的成員，今日登上計劃填海作東大嶼都會的交椅洲，掛上一幅長40米，闊3米的大型橫額，抗議政府帶頭破壞程序公義，向全國人大委員長張德江展示本應年底才公布的大嶼山發展藍圖模型，當中更包括東大嶼都會計劃及其大型策略性道路系統，惟政府在公眾諮詢期間卻未有公開該模型。多個團體同時發表聯合聲明，強調現時東大嶼都會和策略性道路系統的建設沒有得到充分的理據支持，很可能成為新一個「大白象工程」，政府應撤回現時在立法會工務小組的「中部水域人工島策略性研究」撥款申請。 發展局在5月22日的「局長隨筆」率先回覆，指「相關模型只是用以輔助說明大嶼山發展的概念，並非定案」，其後局方回覆守護大嶼聯盟的查詢時，又指「在今年1月至4月舉行的大嶼山發展公眾參與活動的公眾論壇及諮詢會上，由於參與人數眾多，展示實物模型在此情况並不適合，故我們選擇以投影片配合詳細講解」。發展局的解釋極為牽強，該模型已清楚展示東大嶼都會的整體樓宇佈局、道路網絡、填海範圍等重要資料，而模型在大嶼山發展公眾諮詢的過程從來沒有向公眾公開，是嚴重剝奪公眾的知情權。 政府最近在立法會工務小組提交最新的文件，仍無提供充分的資料證明此發展項目的需要，如香港是否需要第三個核心商業區和東大嶼都會與解決未來房屋供應的關係，加上政府亦沒有全面考慮發展棕土、短租及閒置官地等其他較佳的方式來增加土地供應，反映政府推行東大嶼都會計劃的理據薄弱。計劃涉及大規模填海和多項大型基建，將會成為香港史上最昂貴的「大白象工程」。 東大嶼都會需要進行大規模填海工程，對海洋生態和水質造成極大影響，而策略性道路系統則會入侵郊野公園和許多生態敏感地區，為南大嶼山、梅窩等帶來龐大的發展壓力，並會增加在附近水域航運的船隻流量，危害漁業資源。 在缺乏任何數據及研究支持下，東大嶼都會計劃不應草率上馬，團體促請政府應撤回正在立法會工務小組的「中部人工島策略性研究」撥款的申請，並應提供充足的資料，如全港土地資料庫和東大嶼都會與解決未來房屋供應的關係，以回應市民的質疑。這樣政府和民間才可再次合作，大嶼山才可走向可持續發展。 多個環保團體和關注團體亦發起網上聯署平台(網址：https://goo.gl/vMxQLe)，鼓勵公眾直接將網上意見書傳送至發展局。團體同時呼籲立法會議員及擬參選來屆立法會選舉的候選人簽署「反對東大嶼都會計劃」約章，爭取他們支持擱置東大嶼都會計劃及中部水域人工島策略性研究撥款。 聯署團體(依筆劃序)﹕ 本土研究社、守護大嶼聯盟、長春社、城西關注組、香港海豚保育學會、香港觀鳥會、創建香港、綠色力量、綠色和平 (Press release, 26 June 2016) After landing on Kau Yi Chau which is planned for reclamation to be established as the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM), seven activists from green groups and concerned groups hung a huge banner with a length of 40 meters and a width of 3 meters to protest against violation of procedural justice by the government. The government had showed a model of Lantau development blueprint, including ELM and large scale strategic road system which should be published at the end of 2016, to chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang. However, this model had not been shown by the government during public consultation. Green groups and concerned groups issued a joint statement to emphasise the justification to support the construction of ELM and strategic road system was not enough and it was of high potential to become another “White Elephant”. Government should withdraw the application for appropriation of Strategic studies for artificial islands in the central waters from the Legco public works subcommittee. Development Bureau replied through “My Blog” on 22nd May that the concerned model was just used to enhance the explanation of the concept of Lantau Development and was not a finalized model. Afterwards, Development Bureau replied Save Lantau Alliance’s enquiry and pointed out that, “Since it is too crowded during the public forum and consultation meeting of Lantau development public engagement from January to April 2016, we chose to explain the plan by using a slideshow, rather than a physical model.” The explanation of the Development Bureau was just a far-fetched excuse since the model had showed clearly details of ELM such as the distribution of buildings, road network and a range of reclamation which was not disclosed to the public during the public consultation of Lantau Development. It is a severe deprivation of the right to know by the public. The latest documents submitted by the government, to Legco public works subcommittee still could not provide enough justifications to support the plan of establishing the ELM. For example, does Hong Kong need the third core commercial zone? What is the relationship between ELM and solving the problem of future housing supply? Besides, the government did not consider other better ways to increase the land supply such as developing brownfield, government land for short term tenancy and idle government land. It showed the justification to establishing ELM was weak. Furthermore, as the large-scale of reclamation and many capital constructions are required, it would be the most expensive “White Elephant” project for Hong Kong. Large-scale reclamation works was required for ELM, which would severely damage the marine ecosystem and deteriorate the water quality. The strategic road system would invade country parks and many ecologically sensitive areas, bringing huge development pressure to South Lantau and Mui Wo and damaging the fishery resources by increasing the vessel traffic on the water around. Lack of data and study support means the ELM should not be established instantly. Groups urged the government to withdraw the application for appropriation of Strategic studies for artificial islands in the central waters from the Legco public works subcommittee and provide enough information such as land database for Hong Kong and the relationship between ELM and solving the problem of future housing supply, so as to reply to the citizen’s questions. In this case, the government and the public cooperate again to ensure the sustainable development of Lantau can be achieved. Green groups and concerned groups had set up an online platform (Website: https://goo.gl/bFbsNR) to encourage the public to directly send the comment to the Development Bureau. At the same time, groups call Legislative council members and candidates intended to participate in the coming Legco election to sign the charter of “Opposition to East Lantau Metropolis” in order to ask for their support to stop the ELM and the application for appropriation of strategic studies for artificial islands in the central waters. Co-signatories (in alphabetical order): Designing Hong Kong , Greenpeace Green power Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society Liber Research Community Sai Wan Concern Save Lantau Alliance The Conservancy Association The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
“Tai Tan, Uk Tau and Ko Tong suspected over 50 Small Houses Front man Scheme”
(Please scroll down for English )
Front men schemes covering 50+ small houses in Tai Tan, Uk Tau and Ko Tong
(Designing Hong Kong “Tai Tan, Uk Tau and Ko Tong Land Ownership Study” PowerPoint presentation：
A study of land transactions in Tai Tan, Uk Tau and Ko Tong shows that for more than 50 small house applications to the Lands Department and/or Town Planning Board the land was first bought by developers and transferred to the applicants just prior to their applications. These patterns are strikingly similar to the front man scheme discovered in the Sha Tin Tai Che Village court case (No. DCCC25/2015) during which the Court considered this an illegal practice.
Based on our findings we made the following recommendations to the Administration, the Town Planning Board and the ICAC to deter front men schemes abusing the small house policy:
1. Upon receipt of applications for small house developments the Lands Department should consider the transaction history of the site(s) involved. Suspicious cases should be examined in detail.
2. Group applications by “dings” on behalf of developers should be rejected. Only applications made by individual applicants should be considered.
3. The intention of the applicant to live in their small house must be considered including a study of their immigration records to determine whether applicants ordinarily reside in Hong Kong. Only ordinary residents should be allowed to apply.
4. Details of applications for small houses must be made public with an online database showing the applicant, an overview of the land transactions and current status, and the progress of the applications.
5. When considering draft plans and applications, the Town Planning Board and the Planning Department must take into account the land transaction history. This is essential in ensuring that the Board does not aid and abet front men schemes.
6. To prevent government officials from breaching the law, ICAC is drafting recommendations on how the Lands Department can minimize risks when handling applications which create development values. We call for the report to be disclosed to the public. It should not be restricted to the Lands Department. A detailed review should be published so that the general public can better understand how front men schemes can be prevented.
Apple Daily: http://goo.gl/Bpsr5n
Vote on-line - Click here!
Queen’s Pier was demolished in 2007 as part of the Central reclamation. It has since been in a government storage facility on Lantau Island.
The Development Bureau proposes re-assembly of Queen’s Pier between piers 9 and 10. The cost is around HK$300 million. It includes expensive marine works, reconstructing the seawall and provision of landing steps.
At the same time, the Development Bureau proposes to build a covered piazza near the original site of Queen’s Pier at City Hall. The piazza will “through paving and landscape design … commemorate the historical significance of Queen’s Pier.” The estimated cost is 55 million. (C&W DC Paper No. 44/2016).
Our proposal is to re-assemble Queen’s Pier at City Hall (as close as possible to its original location):
1. Save HK$200million (No need for marine works at Pier 9/10, no need for a new covered piazza at City Hall);
2. Re-instate Edinburgh Place as a place of ceremony, including City Hall, the dias, Queen’s Pier and the Memorial Garden;
3. Queen’s Pier near its original location will remind hongkongers and visitors of one of Victoria Harbour’s former coastlines;
4. The Queen’s Pier roof will provide shelter from sun and rain for those visiting Edinburgh Place, and seating for those waiting for transport along Lung Wu Road.
Where should Queen’s Pier return? Vote -Click here!
Dumping and land filling on land reserved for conservation and agricultural uses continues to impact Hong Kong’s habitats, ecology and biodiversity. Concern groups and environmental NGOs are deeply concerned over the lack of preventive and enforcement action by government against unauthorized and unintended land uses.
Today, Designing Hong Kong together with other concern groups urge government to remove the obstacles in legislation, establish a public and transparent land database and set up a Conservation Enforcement Task Force.
Joint statement by concern groups and environmental NGOs regarding dumping and land filling:
• 東大嶼都會 (中部水域人工島) 的發展基礎是甚麼? 它與香港整體的經濟社會發展策略有甚麼關聯?
2. 「大嶼山的保育重點」劉惠寧博士-世界自然基金會香港分會副總監 (環境保護)（演講錄影）
2. 劉惠寧博士-世界自然基金會香港分會副總監 (環境保護)
3. 黎卓豪先生-發展局首席助理秘書長(工務) 5
1. 「從東北土地發展看大嶼山規劃」陳劍青 -本土研究社成員（演講錄影）
1. 陳劍青先生 -本土研究社成員
4. 任憲邦博士 -南大嶼關注組成員
5. 黎卓豪先生-發展局首席助理秘書長(工務) 5
10 譚燕萍女士-規劃署 西貢及離島規劃專員
Designing Hong Kong, Environmental Life Science Society, SS, HKUSU, Living Islands Movement and Tung Chung Community Development Alliance have launched a “Lantau Sustainable Development Forum” on 9 April 2016.
The objective of the forum is to focus on three specific areas of the Lantau development plan.
- First, what is the environmental and natural conservation impact of the plan on the areas of Lantau with low population density and rich in biodiversity?
- Second, what are the basis, implications, and relationship of the East Lantau Metropolis and Hong Kong’s development strategy?
- Third, what is the human, social and economic impact of the plans on dense populated urban areas of Tung Chung?
The exchange of information and views in the forum provided input for debates and assist with establishing policies, planning guidelines, and a decision-making framework for the conservation and development of Lantau.
Full Recording (Source: SocREC)
Host: Tse Chi Fung Joseph
Proposed Development Strategy for Lantau
1. Mr. Lai Cheuk Ho, Principal Assistant Secretary (Works)5, Development Bureau
2. Miss Winnie Lau, Chief Town Planner/Strategic Planning, Planning Department
Part One: South Lantau Conservation Plan and Challenge
2. “Conservation priorities of Lantau”, Dr Michael Lau, Assistant Director (Conservation) of WWF-Hong Kong (Video Recording)
Q&A on the topic of “South Lantau Conservation Plan and Challenge” (Video Recording)
(1)Mr. PaulZimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong and District Councillor of Pokfulam
(2) Dr MichaelLau, Assistant Director (Conservation) of WWF-Hong Kong
(3) Mr. Lai Cheuk Ho, Principal Assistant Secretary (Works)5, Development Bureau
(4) Mr. LAM Sai Hung, Project Manager (HK Island & Islands), Civil Engineering and Development Department
(5) Ms. Amy Cheung, Assistant Director of Planning/Territorial
Part Two: Development of East Lantau Metropolis in the Central Waters
1. “Understanding Lantau development through “Northeast papers””, Mr. Chan Kim Ching, member of Liber Research Community （Video Recording）
Part Three: Tung Chung Economy and Employment Opportunities
3. “Tung Chung Economy and Employment Opportunities”, Ms Chiu Sin Ting, Project Manager of Tung Chung Community（Video Recording）
Q&A on the topic of “Development of East Lantau Metropolis in the Central Waters” and “Tung Chung Economy and Employment Opportunities”
1. Mr. Chan Kim Ching, member of Liber Research Community
2. Ms Chiu Sin Ting, Project Manager of Tung Chung Community
3. Mr. Allen Ha , the Founding Chairman of Lantau Development Alliance
4. Dr Tom Yam, member of South Lantau Concern group
5. Mr. Lai Cheuk Ho, Principal Assistant Secretary (Works)5, Development Bureau
6. Mr. LAM Sai Hung, Project Manager (HK Island & Islands), Civil Engineering and Development Department
7. Ms. Amy Cheung, Assistant Director of Planning/Territorial
8. Mr. Ricky Lau, Deputy Head of Civil Engineering Office ( Port & Land ), Civil Engineering and Development Department
9. Miss. Winnie Lau, Chief Town Planner/Strategic Planning, PlanningDepartment
10. Ms. Donna Tam, District Planning Officer/Sai Kung & Islands, PlanningDepartment
For english version, please click here.
Develop first, No conservation
Lantau will be an Ugly Duckling
Green groups urge for implementation of conservation plan and traffic restriction first
Green groups strongly object to any large-scale development such as East Lantau Metropolis and the strategic road systems and request the government to make conservation the top priority for Lantau development, to safeguard the rich biodiversity and the close relationship between humans and nature on Lantau. The groups have presented a list of conservation measures (including traffic restriction) it urges the government to implement.
The First-term Work Report made by Lantau Development Advisory Committee (LanDAC) has been submitted to the Administration on January 2016.
This report proposed massive, “creative” and unassessed developments such as East Lantau Metropolis, super large-scale strategic road systems and numerous tourism facilities including viewing and stargazing facilities for the Sunset Peak. The proposed developments will have disastrous impacts on the ecosystem and the local community, and destroy the tranquil environment and magnificent landscape of Lantau.
Because of its unique location, Lantau has rich and diversified natural habitats such as low-lying wetlands, montane grasslands, freshwater streams and soft coral marine habitats. These habitats breed many rare and endangered species such as Chinese White Dolphin, Horseshoe Crab, Oval Halophila, Romer’s Tree Frog, Common Cerulean, Ayu Sweetfish and Brown Fish Owl. The most valuable thing is that human can live with nature closely. Bovine on Lantau was accepted as “heritage and landscape as human values” by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for harmonic human-bovid relationship. This can show Lantau is definitely a nature treasure for us.
However, this First-term Work Report claims to support sustainable development but no positive conservation measure is proposed. LanDAC even proposes to relax the traffic restriction on closed roads, and establish a strategic road network connecting west of Hong Kong Island, South Lantau, North Lantau and North West of New Territories.
These measures would increase the development pressure by giving false hope to land owners, hindering any conservation plans and actions on Lantau, especially in ecologically sensitive rural areas where there is no Development Permission Area (DPA) plan and no statutory protection could be done by government, such as South Lantau and part of North Lantau. As a result, eco-vandalism has long been proliferating with impunity on private land without DPA plans, even in ecologically important wetlands like Pui O.
Our natural environment does not belong to us alone, but the next generations. Reckless development without appropriate controls and active conservation measures will quickly destroy the natural treasure of Lantau and lead to a failure of promised “sustainable development.”
Hence, green groups urge the Administration to implement a list of conservation measures:
1. Before any proposed development, develop a comprehensive transport and traffic strategy and restrict traffic to reduce the economic incentive for unauthorized developments and prevent proposed development from exceeding environmental carrying capacity;
2. Amend the Town Planning Ordinance to allow itself to cover South Lantau and Wong Lung Hang WITH DEVELOPMENT PERMISSION AREA PLANS, offering enforcement powers for the Planning Department and continue to speed up the process of DPA plan covering on the remaining lands of Lantau such as San Tau, Sha Lo Wan and Sham Wat, which have no statutory control, to provide statutory protection
3. Include any development plans on Lantau in the on-going “Hong Kong 2030+ Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030” study and carry out a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment for endorsement of all the proposed and planned developments on Lantau.
4. Set up NO-GO areas for ecologically sensitive areas and implement active conservation management plan
Regarding to East Lantau Metropolis and associated traffic and transport strategy, green groups highlight:
1. New roads should be well justified, assessed (in the context of environmental impacts, cost effectiveness and public interest), and the public should be consulted before.
2. Green groups object to the proposed East Lantau Metropolis which will create significant impact on marine ecosystem and water quality and strategic road system connecting west of Hong Kong Island, South Lantau, North Lantau and northern-west of New Territories, which will cut through the country parks and ecologically sensitive areas, and create significant development pressure in South Lantau especially Mui Wo and drastically increase vessel traffic in the surrounding waters and threaten fisheries resources and cetaceans
3. The construction of East Lantau Metropolis and the associated strategic road system is not well-justified and will cost a huge amount of money, having a very high potential to become new white elephant project.
Green groups have also launched an online petition platform to motivate the public to express their opinion on Lantau development to the Administration:
Key species/habitats of conservation concern in different areas of Lantau
Website：Lantau green groups joint letter – appendix
Co-signatories (in alphabetical order):
Designing Hong Kong
Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society
Lantau Buffalo Association
Living Islands Movememt
The Conservancy Association
WWF Hong Kong
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.
Online Survey Findings 網上意見調查報告
調查日期 Survey period
2/3/2016 – 15/3/2016
We have received 375 responses to our survey. 期間共收到375份回覆。
Detailed report, please click the link below. 請按以下連結瀏覽全份意見調查報告。
The government is consulting the public on its proposed pilot scheme for electronic road pricing in Central. (Click here for the public engagement document).
The deadline for comments is 18 March 2016.
Do you support the proposal? Object? Any views on the details? You can write to Government directly, or take part in our online survey (link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VZ5DQ9S). Our office will consolidate and report the responses to the government.
In the meantime, please find below our CEO Paul Zimmerman’s personal view as published in Southside magazine – in short Paul proposes there is no charging for the use of Connaught/Gloucester Road Corridor, but for the use of the inner areas only.
Let us know your views.
Southside Magazine – March 2016