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.
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
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)
(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
Joint statement regarding dumping and land filling by concern groups and environmental NGOs 關注團體及環保組織就傾倒泥頭和填土問題的聯署信
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
「先發展無保育」 大嶼山勢變醜小鴨 環團促先有保育方案及交通限制 （新聞稿）Develop first, No conservation Lantau will be an Ugly Duckling Green groups urge for implementation of conservation plan and traffic restriction first (Press Release)
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