The battle for country parks is not yet won
Afforestation was an urgent task after the war. The Colony was almost entirely deforested. As vegetation became denser the need to arrest fires and litter grew. So also did the voices for nature conservation, public education and recreation in the forests.
The call to establish a ‘national parks’ scheme was answered by colonial governor Murray MacLehose in 1974, with one newspaper reporting the installation of ‘150 tables for picnickers, 135 benches, 110 barbecue pits and 600 litter bins.’ The Country Parks Ordinance was enacted in 1976 and the Country Parks Regulations in 1977. MacLehose was in a hurry: ‘In four years’ time, there will be about 20 parks covering all the open countryside.’
To expedite the designation, some 77 enclaves of private land inside the parks were excluded from the legislation. Most elderly continued subsistence farming in these small and remote villages for some years while their offspring left for factories in Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan or went overseas.
Access was mostly on foot or by sampan. The few accessible villages close to Sai Kung developed with small houses under the 1972 policy. They became a popular choice for expats including retirees and pilots (before Kai Tak closed). Fast forward, in 1992 the Sha Lo Tung judicial review stopped a golf course development in this enclave famous for butterfly colonies. A six-year long campaign started in 2000 to hold off the creation of a zone for 370 houses at the Tai Long Wan beach enclave.
Sporadic unauthorised development at enclaves culminated in condemnation when the government failed to act on extensive land clearing behind the beach of Tai Long Sai Wan in the summer of 2010. The public demanded protection of the country parks and strengthening of development control. Recognising the enclaves as part of the country parks would put development under the strict Country Park Regulations Ordinance. Land owners, egged on by the Heung Yee Kuk, objected aggressively.
In 2014, the Government excluded their own advisors, the Country and Marine Parks Board, from its decision not to incorporate the village enclaves Hoi Ha, Pak Lap, So Lo Pun, To Kwa Peng, Pak Tam Au and Tin Fu Tsai into Country Parks.
Government did not go further than zoning the enclaves under the Town Planning Ordinance. This offers minimal protection. It does not provide for management or adequate enforcement powers.
On 12 October this year, the Court of Final Appeal ruled otherwise – the Save Our Country Parks Alliance won. The Government is ordered to go back to the Country and Marine Parks Board. Question is now – will they stop the rot and take control over the enclaves? The battle to protect our country parks has yet to be won.
(Based on ‘The battle for country parks is not yet won’ by Paul Zimmerman published in Southside Magazine, 1 November 2020)
1974 年，時任港督麥理浩回應訴求，設立類似「國家公園」的規劃大綱，同期亦有報章報導在郊野公園為行山客安裝 150 張枱、135 長櫈、110 個燒烤爐及 600 個垃圾桶的消息。郊野公園條例及郊野公園規例分別在 1976 年及 1977 年通過立法，而麥對此顯然感到不足，並指出在四年內將會有約20個郊野公園遍布郊區。
為加快立法進度，約 77 個位於郊野公園範圍內，屬私人擁有的「不包括土地」獲得豁免。這些土地擁有者中多為長者，他們把這些土地發展成村落並繼續耕作，其子嗣則選擇到城市的工廠尋找工作機會，或到海外發展。這些村落大多只能步行前往，或以舢舨進入。其中小數如西貢等則因 1972 年的政策發展成丁屋群，在啟德停用前，它們是外籍退休人士及機師的熱門居住地方。
1992 年的沙螺洞司法覆核案阻止在這個蝴蝶棲息地興建高爾夫球場，在 2000 年開展的長達六年的抗爭亦成功否決在大浪灣沙灘周邊的「不包括土地」興建 370 間房屋的計劃。然而，2010 年夏天，政府對大浪西灣沙灘後方的土地清理行為視而不見，零星的違例發展達至高峰。社會大眾要求保護郊野公園，並進一步管制發展開發行為，其一方向就是藉把「不包括土地」納入郊野公園範圍，實施嚴格的發展要求限制。作為地主之一，視鄉郊土地為金蛋的鄉議局，想當然作出強烈反對。
今年 10 月 12 日，終審法院判決保衛郊野公園大聯盟勝訴，政府需回到郊野公園及海岸公園委員會重新審視決定。問題是，政府會否下定決心奪回「不包括土地」的掌控權？保護郊野公園的抗爭尚未成功，同志們仍須努力。
Paul Zimmerman: ‘… recycling materials are not high value but they are high cost once they get into the waste system. The landfills are full. Do we need new landfill? If yes, then where is the land? Is it going to be country parks? People don’t realize waste charging has lots of implications …’
Support waste charging and improve municipal solid waste management
Please join our Petition: https://www.supporthk.org/?petition=lets-improve-our-municipal-solid-waste-management&lang=en
We urge the Government to consider the suggested key actions in 2020 Policy Address with the aims of improving and support the municipal solid waste management and recycling in Hong Kong.
Please sign our petition so we can reduce the volume of daily disposal of garbage.
1. 應用策略於每種香港都市固體廢物 (立法會資料研究組，2019年): 廚餘 (34％)、廢紙 (24％)、塑膠垃圾 (20％) 和其他垃圾 (23％)；
2. 應用「污者自付」、「源頭分類」 和 「生產者責任計劃」三大政策工具及理念，以解決都市固體廢物問題；
3. 每年撥款約8 至10 億元支持本地回收業，推動不同的減廢及回收措施；
Let’s approve municipal solid waste charging
Waste Levy, Source Separation, Recycling – 3 elements, not one less
DC/LC member petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfolxAs44alWP0_dRCEAg_HS9gLB5s9MJA_sMXHDLqYr0LkA/viewform
In 2013, the government set the goal of ‘reducing the volume of daily disposal of garbage per capita to 0.8 kg in 2022’. Yet, per capita daily disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) continues to increase every year. A record high of 1.53kg was reached in 2018. Under the current programs, recycling fails to improve. For example the export recycling rate of PET bottles fell from 8.5% (2016) to 0.23% (2018). Our three strategic landfills are under pressure and are about to saturate this decade. If nothing more is done to reduce MSW, we may have to explore new sites for incinerators or landfills. This would likely impact our country parks. Once the landfills are full, it will be politically difficult to stop this from happening.
The MSW Bill enabling charging is the linchpin in government’s waste policy and projects. Waste levies are important in promoting source separation of domestic waste and the successful expansion of our recycling capacity. Without waste charging, the separation and reduction of waste and the recovery of useful materials for recycling will fail. Hong Kong’s waste reduction management is already lagging behind other jurisdictions. Many policy initiatives have turned into broken promises. The delay of the waste charging bill will make it ever more difficult to achieve high levels of recycling. If the Bill is not dealt with within this term of government, the Bill will be delayed by 3-5 years. This unacceptable.
Improving Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste management requires key actions in the Policy Address:
- Strategies to address all types of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong (LegCo research paper, 2019): food waste (34%), paper waste (24%), plastic waste (20%) and others (23%);
- Reconfirm the principles: Polluters Pay, Source Separation of Waste, and Producers’ Responsibility;
- Allocate HKD 800-1000 million for waste reduction and recycling; and
- Apply the funds generated from waste charging in support of the recycling industry.
Implement legislation, regulations and infrastructure in support of recycling and waste management:
- Extend the collection network of food waste collection across 18 districts, to all FEHD Refuse Collection Point and public housing estates;
- Allocate resources and financial incentives for maintenance and contractor staff training for food waste collection in all private housing estates;
- Invest in food waste technology and create more jobs in recycling industry, e.g. logistic and technical support for food waste collection services;
- Educate the public on waste reduction and separation of food waste.
Plastic waste recycling
- Extend the pilot schemes of plastic collection to all 18 districts to provide convenience to the public;
- Implement the producer responsibility system for beverage (disposable) containers;
- Retrofit and expand public water dispensers for hygienic and COVID-proof bottle refilling;
- Regulate disposable tableware;
- Regulation of excessive packaging of food products;
- Ban the use of styrofoam and microplastic in personal care products
We conducted a public opinion survey between September 28th to October 6th regarding the captioned application. 143 people submitted their responses.
The majority of the respondents objected expressing concerns over the relaxation of building height restrictions, deteriorating air ventilation, urban heat island effect, daylight access and visual intrusion.
By Friday Oct 9, please submit your comments to Town Planning Board at https://www.info.gov.hk/tpb/tc/plan_application/A_K20_133.html
擬議辦公室、商業及零售發展並放寬建築物高度限制 (申請編號: A/K20/133)
- 62.94% of the respondents objected to the reflective exterior glass surface as it creates a glare which impairs the enjoyment of neighboring residents including particularly The Waterfront and The Austin. The glare may also impact nearby traffic. Solar reflections also raise temperatures and may impact vegetation nearby. Concerns were expressed over energy consumption for air-conditioning. The design is deemed does not match with the surrounding buildings.
- 71.33% of respondents are concerned over traffic impacts along Nga Cheung Road, Jordan Road and Canton Road. The proposed scheme proposed no less than 550 parking spaces for private cars. With the increase in parking spaces here and the car park at To Wah Road together with other developments in the area as well as new road connections such as the Central Kowloon Route, it is unclear whether the traffic burden exceeds capacity. Traffic congestion (and associated blaring of car horns) is experienced often in the area including along Jordan Road.
- 70.63% of respondents are concerned over the relaxation of building heights and the close distance between The Waterfront and XRL topside development. Such building structure would disturb daylight access, visual quality and air ventilation to inner area in Jordan.
- 76.22% of people object to relaxing height limit as this will set a bad precedent for nearby sites including future buildings at the WKCD. This application will set a precedent for others to change height restrictions. Respondents wonder if there is any justification of relaxing height limit after developers won bids for a site. Moreover, there is no compensation for the losses suffered by nearby residents. The gain would be simply for the developer at the cost of the neighbours.
- Although it is claimed that the proposed design has better air ventilation than the original scheme, 71.33% of respondents are concerned over the impact of having less fresh air and that pollutants residue in the community. It must be noted that the developer has failed to meet and consult the neighbours on the proposed plans.
- 49.65% of the respondents are worried over food and beverage related noise control at site, and the absence of clear operating guidelines on the use of facilities and time control of activities at the catering and commercial facilities (64.34%).
- 81.82% of the respondents are concerning over delivery of the promised public space. The promised public spaces are absent from the land lease conditions and may not be delivered. As seen throughout Hong Kong, what is promised in terms of public gains including public space, accessibility, public recreation, alfresco dining, etc, fails to be delivered. What controls will be applied by the Town Planning Board to ensure promised made are delivered?
- 86.71% of the respondents are upset with the lack of consultation and the failure to present and discuss the plans with nearby residents. Residents received insufficient information regarding the revised plans. Public consultation should have been conducted to provide clear information and to gain a better understanding. Moreover, the developer should introduce and discuss the proposal with the District Council before the deadline for comments under the Town Planning Ordinance for the captioned application.
- In the survey conducted, there is a demand for assessment of sustainability performance in terms of creating a ‘public realm’ which delivers a holistic and positive impact for occupants and neighbours. Reference is made to HKGBC BEAM Plus Neighborhood. More than 70% of respondents suggest civic spaces to be used by non-profit organizations for community activities (76.92%), promoting gender equality by introducing ‘Gender Mainstreaming checklist’ into the design and construction of the development (70.63%), and by adopting pet-friendly (78.32%) and bicycle-friendly measures (77.62%) for the site as well as the connections with the West Kowloon Cultural District to Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and Tai Kwok Tsui.
- 93.01% of respondents support environmental protection initiatives, such as energy saving, water use and reuse, using recyclable building materials, installing waste management and treatment facilities, etc. To implement initiatives to improve energy efficiency, environmental performance and achieving Government’s energy saving plan by 2025, all new development should have set goal to achieve HKGBC Beam Plus.
16個團體建議1,120公頃紅花嶺郊野公園 保護當地重要資源 16 groups jointly propose a 1,120-hectare Country Park to protect the important resources at the Robin’s Nest area
香港地貌岩石保育協會、香港大學學生會理學會生態學及生物多樣性學會、香港地球之友、海下之友有限公司、綠領行動、綠色和平、環保觸覺、Hong Kong Outdoors、島嶼活力行動、西貢護牛天使
16 groups have jointly announced a joint statement on the expectations on the upcoming designation of Robin’s Nest Country Park (RNCP). The groups urge Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to conserve areas of high ecological, historical, cultural, landscape conservation significance under the Country Park system as soon as possible, and to protect and strengthen the important terrestrial ecological corridor between Hong Kong and mainland China. A RNCP boundary was proposed for the consideration of AFCD, covering 1,120 hectares of land with over 95% of government land.
The conservation importance of RNCP has long been recognized by the Government. Roy Ng Hei Man, Campaign Manager of The Conservancy Association, mentioned that “Back in 1993 and 2008, the Territorial Development Strategy Review Study and feasibility study of the Land Use Planning for the Frontier Closed Area by the Planning Department have already recommended the designation of the RNCP respectively. The Government promised in the 2017 Policy Address that Robin’s Nest will be designated as a Country Park while The Secretary of Environment Mr. Wong Kam Sing also confirmed in December 2018 that the designation of the RNCP is on its way. It is clear that the conservation of Robin’s Nest is well-recognized and the Government should therefore not further delay the designation”.
The groups consider that the Country Park system is suitable for the protection, conservation and management of important ecological resources in the Robin’s Nest and associated areas. Woo Ming Chuan, Senior Conservation Officer of The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, said that “The northern slope of Robin’s Nest, extending from Shan Tsui to San Kwai Tin and Lin Ma Hang, is well covered with continuous secondary woodland intermingled with natural streams of conservation concern. It thus supports a high diversity of flora and fauna. Two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) were even designated in this area for the conservation of the highly restricted, rare freshwater fish Chinese Rasbora and one of the most important bat colonies in Hong Kong. The globally vulnerable Chinese Grassbird preferred upland grassland habitat stretches from the southern slope of Robin’s Nest to Wo Keng Shan and Heung Yuen Wai, while the lowland grasslands at Lin Ma Hang and Man Uk Pin are potential wintering sites of this species. Many large fung shui woodlands with mature trees are found along the foot of the southern slope of Robin’s Nest”.
Robin’s Nest is well-recognized as the only obvious terrestrial ecological corridor between Hong Kong and mainland China, with continuous secondary woodland at the northern slope ecologically connected to the Wutongshan National Forest Park in Shenzhen while strips of woodlands and other undisturbed vegetated areas at the southern slope are linked to those at the Pat Sin Leng Country Park. Dr. Cheng Luk Ki, Director of Green Power, said, “This corridor is the only well-vegetated pathway with little built-up area where wild animals (e.g. land birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals) can still move between Hong Kong and Shenzhen/Guangdong, thus their population in these two places can be healthily sustained. Therefore, all the habitats along this corridor should be well-protected to maintain such ecological connectivity both across and within the Hong Kong border”.
Various heritage resources within the Robin’s Nest area have different local historical interest or significance. Roy Ng added, “For example, the Grade-2-listed Macintosh Forts at Pak Kung Au and Kong Shan served the role in bringing law and order to the frontier and in the control of illegal immigration. Some ruins, pillboxes and other structures are believed to have been built for defensive purpose during the 20th century. Lin Ma Hang Lead Mine and its adjacent ruins form good evidence in reflecting Hong Kong’s mining history. The hilly terrain of Robin’s Nest is also identified as being of high landscape value in the Landscape Value Mapping of Hong Kong by the Planning Department in 2003”.
Robin’s Nest is not only used by local people for passive recreational activities, but is also becoming more popular among hikers and the public since the opening-up of the Frontier Closed Area. Paul Zimmerman, Chief Executive of Designing Hong Kong, said “All these activities indicate the recreational potential of Robin’s Nest, and the urgency of the Country Park designation, in order to provide better habitat protection and management for the enjoyment of the public. The Country Park Ordinance (Cap. 208) would offer a higher level of protection than the land use control under the Town Planning Ordinance (Cap. 131). Habitats of conservation concern can be actively managed and protected with regular patrols. Facilities for visitors and hiking routes can be designed, provided and maintained in the ecologically and scenically less-sensitive areas of the Country Park, for public education and enjoyment. Existing graves and burial grounds can be respected and managed within the Country Park for better regulation and fire prevention”.
The groups strongly urge AFCD to consider the proposal and define the boundary of the RNCP according to the “Principles and Criteria for Designating Country Parks (2011)” (2011 Principles and Criteria). From the 2011 Principles and Criteria, conservation value, recreation potential as well as landscape and aesthetic value are the key themes of the intrinsic criteria for identifying suitable areas for designating Country Parks, while private land is not automatically taken as a determining factor for exclusion from the Country Park boundary. The aforementioned areas of high ecological, historical, cultural and landscape value should therefore be included within the boundary of RNCP for nature and heritage conservation and management.
Six co-organized groups (in alphabetical order):
The Conservancy Association, Designing Hong Kong, Green Power, The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, The Hong Kong Countryside Foundation, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Supporting organizations (in alphabetical order):
Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong, Ecology & Biodiversity Society, SS, HKUSU, Friends of the Earth (HK), Friends of Hoi Ha, Greeners Action, Greenpeace, Greensense, Hong Kong Outdoors, Living Islands Movement, Sai Kung Cattle’s Angel
飲品業龍頭企業與非政府組織攜手減廢 目標回收七至九成飲品包裝Leading drink companies together with NGOs target 70%-90% recovery of used beverage packaging
太古可口可樂香港董事兼總經理，以及香港飲品商會會長利偉達（Neil Waters）先生表示：「我們非常重視可持續發展。我們不斷重新設計包裝，包括大幅減少PET樽中的塑料重量，使產品包裝百分百可回收。我們將於2019年底前全面轉用百分百循環再造的PET生產所有Bonaqua礦物質水包裝。另外，我們亦將於全港推出300部Bonaqua加水站，支持「自備水樽」。我們將積極尋求再進一步的所有可能性。」 其他主要飲料生產商亦作出類似的承諾。屈臣氏實業飲品製造市務總經理于德超先生表示：「我們自2015年開始一直自發轉用100%再生PET物料作產品包裝，不僅減少生產、使用和浪費塑料，還有助於減低碳排放量。」
(from left to right): Mr. Herbert Yung, Director, Risk Advisory, Deloitte Advisory (Hong Kong); Mr. Edwin Lau, Founder and Executive Director, The Green Earth, Hong Kong and Spokesperson for Drink Without Waste; Mr. Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of the Single-Use Beverage Packing Working Group; and Mr. Neil Waters, President of the Hong Kong Beverage Association.
Leading drink companies together with NGOs target 70%-90% recovery of used beverage packaging
• Over 80% of beverage packaging, or over 1.7 billion containers, were wasted last year.
• The Drink Without Waste initiative supports cash-on-return of used packaging and the installation of refill dispensers.
• The HKSAR government is urged to regulate packaging standards and provide support for recycling.
• The beverage industry will take voluntary measures to reduce waste.
Hong Kong, 6 December 2018: Hong Kong’s leading beverage producers and bottlers, representing nearly half of all the bottled water and soft drinks sold in the city, together with major retailers, recyclers and NGOs, today announce their proposals to reduce the over 1.7 billion used and discarded beverage containers that end up in Hong Kong’s landfills, countryside, beaches and the marine environment. Last year, recovery rates in Hong Kong were at 9% for PET and 0% for liquid cartons.
The Single-Use Beverage Packaging Working Group was formed to help reduce the waste generated from non-alcoholic beverage consumption in Hong Kong. They launched the Drink Without Waste initiative in December last year and now pledge to work towards 70%-90% recovery rates for PET containers and liquid cartons in Hong Kong. They believe that with all parties – government, producers, retailers, recyclers and consumers – working closely together, this increase could be achieved by 2025.
“We all are responsible. We harm the environment when we dispose of single-use beverage containers at our landfills and in the natural environment,” said Edwin Lau Che-feng, Founder and Executive Director of The Green Earth, Hong Kong and spokesperson for Drink Without Waste.
“Our aim is to reduce single-use beverage packaging and, where this is not possible, to increase the recycling rate of packaging with financial incentives. This is to encourage return and collection. Hong Kong also needs to develop efficient recycling for PET bottles and liquid cartons, ensure the quality of used packaging through legislation, and increase public education.”
Strategies and actions to reduce waste from beverage consumption
The group is making four major recommendations to producers, importers, retailers, waste management services, consumers and the HKSAR government: to reduce single-use beverage containers, to regulate packaging standards, to recover used packaging, and to recycle them.
“We support creating an environment in Hong Kong, where consumers routinely refill their own bottles and cups from dispensers for water, soft drinks and other beverages throughout the city,” said Dana Winograd, Director of Plastic Free Seas.
Simeon Cheng, Head of Sustainability at MTR Corporation Limited echoed this view: “We have installed water dispensers in Tung Chung Station and Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, and we are continuing to monitor the usage and effectiveness of our programme.”
Mike Kilburn, Assistant General Manager, Sustainability at the Airport Authority Hong Kong, said: “HKIA has one of the largest networks of drinking fountains and hot water dispensers in Hong Kong. As of 2018, Airport Authority Hong Kong has installed 104 drinking fountains and 23 hot water dispensers in 13 locations throughout the terminal buildings. These fountains and hot water dispensers provide a welcome amenity and a free alternative to drinks served in single use plastic beverage containers to the passengers and staff travelling through and working at HKIA. Information about the locations of our drinking fountains and hot water dispensers is available through the “HKG MyFlight” app and other NGO platforms. We would be delighted to share our experience with others who may be interested to deploy drinking fountains and hot water dispensers of their own.”
The group supports the HKSAR government call for cash-on-return schemes to increase recovery rates of plastic bottles. The group proposes that these schemes are extended to other packaging, including liquid cartons. Currently the recovery rates for used metal cans in Hong Kong is 85%, demonstrating the effectiveness of a monetary value. The group proposes that a levy should be collected from producers and importers to cover the cost of cash-on-return schemes and to help subsidise logistics and local recycling.
According to the group, regulations to homogenise all plastic bottles and liquid cartons allows used packaging to be processed into valuable feedstock such as PET and paper for new packaging and other products.
“We take sustainability seriously,” said Neil Waters, Director and General Manager of Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong and President of the Hong Kong Beverage Association. “We continuously reengineer our packaging, including significantly cutting the amount of plastic in our bottles and making our packaging 100% recyclable. Through 2019 we will complete the conversion of all our ‘Bonaqua’ Mineralized Water packaging to 100% rPET. In addition, we will launch 300 Bonaqua water stations across Hong Kong to promote the Bring Your Own Bottle initiative. We will continue to search out all possible opportunities to do more.”
Other major drink producers are also making similar commitments. “We have voluntarily taken steps to transform our packaging to 100% recycled PET material since 2015,” said Edmond Yu, General Manager – Marketing of A.S. Watson Industries. “This not only reduces the production, use and wastage of plastic, but also helps with cutting carbon emissions.” “Vitasoy Hong Kong supports the Drink Without Waste initiative. Consistently with our Company’s sustainable growth model, we are working on both plastic and carton packaging. For plastics, beyond having implemented and continuing weight reduction, installing Reverse Vending Machines to collect used bottles and Water Refilling machines to support the Bring Your Own Bottle initiative, we are working on enabling recycled PET pilots in our 2019/20 fiscal year. For carton, we are engaging our suppliers and relevant recyclers to collaborate on carton pack collection and recycling in Hong Kong,” said Dorcas Lau, CEO of Vitasoy Hong Kong and Vice President of the Hong Kong Beverage Association.
According to Edwin Lau, the waste import restrictions launched by mainland China since 2018 have changed the recycling practices in Hong Kong and around the world. “Relying heavily on exporting recyclable materials to the mainland and other economies is no longer a solution,” he said. “Hong Kong has to build state-of-the-art recycling facilities to take care of our own waste. This in turn will help develop a circular economy and help our city become sustainable.”
Land and logistic support from the HKSAR government are considered essential to controlling the cost of recycling and to achieving the goal of between 70% and 90% recovery of packaging early.
About Drink Without Waste
The Drink Without Waste initiative demonstrates how industry players and environmental groups can work together to tackle environmental issues. Since December 2017, the Single-Use Beverage Packaging Working Group, a broad coalition of drink producers, bottlers, retailers, recyclers and NGOs, has been working to develop strategies and actions to reduce waste from the consumption of beverages in Hong Kong.
“We all know there needs to be wholesale change in the ways we design, use and recycle single-use packaging,” said Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of the Single-Use Beverage Packing Working Group. “The strategies and actions we recommend are meant to be pragmatic and inclusive for Hong Kong. To stop 90% of beverage packaging from going to waste, all stakeholders including the industry, general public and the HKSAR government, will need to work together closely to limit impacts on consumer price, choice and convenience.”
Members of the group include Airport Authority of Hong Kong, A.S. Watson Group, Dairy Farm Company Limited, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited, MTR Corporation Limited, Plastic Free Seas Limited, Swire Beverages Limited, Vitasoy International Holdings Limited, WWF-Hong Kong and other key players.
The group commissioned Deloitte Advisory (Hong Kong) Limited, together with Cistri Limited, to carry out a comprehensive study to identify and evaluate how to effectively manage waste from single-use sealed beverage containers in Hong Kong. The findings informed the development of a positioning paper published by the group.
環團聯合聲明 – 拒絕參與破壞郊野公園 Joint Statement – Green groups refuse to participate in the destruction of Country Parks
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
有害醫療廢料再現香港 市民健康繼續受嚴重威脅 Dangerous and harmful medical waste found on HK’s beaches continues to put people at risk
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.