WWF calls for ecological baseline studies ahead of Government’s Infrastructure Study at proposed Reclamation Sites
Reclamation would only bring irreversible ecological damage. WWF strongly urges the government to fully develop brownfield sites first to address Hong Kong’s land supply demand. WWF is most concerned about the mega-scale reclamation proposal in East Lantau waters. The total land supply to be created from the other proposed options could fulfil land demand beyond 2030, making reclamation unnecessary. Patrick Yeung, Manager of Oceans Conservation commenting on the plan noted “We are very disappointed that the government is to proceed with the infrastructure study in Kau Yi Chau at this stage, which is part of the reclamation plan in East Lantau waters. There has been no detailed survey conducted on fishery resources, corals and finless porpoise at the proposed reclamation area. We are concerned that reclamation will result in irreversible damage to marine ecology and affect the livelihood of fishermen. Therefore, reclamation should only be considered as a last resort to creating new land for future use. The Legislative Council should reject the government’s funding application for any infrastructure study before any comprehensive terrestrial and marine baseline study and assessments are conducted.”
Another proposed reclamation site, Lung Kwu Tan, is one of the habitats of the Chinese white dolphin. Its natural coastline is also a breeding ground for various marine species, and reclamation will bring irreversible ecological damage. All of these ecologically important habitats would be destroyed if reclamation was carried out.
WWF urges the government to immediately conduct a coastal and marine spatial planning exercise, aiming to strike the right balance to protect and restore areas of conservation priority before starting reclamation-based development. With any reclamation proposed, the government should invite independent bodies, such as university or any academics, to conduct comprehensive terrestrial and marine research; and investigate the ecological baseline of the potential sites.
Whether or not there is to be reclamation, the government should designate at least 10 per cent of Hong Kong waters as marine protected areas by 2020, and commit to increase this to 30 per cent of Hong Kong waters by 2030.