Reject East Lantau Reclamation, WWF Urges
Three nests of white-bellied sea eagles have been recorded in the areaand the reclamation would encroach their foraging area and affect their breeding success. As at 2012, 15 active pairs were found in Hong Kong, the most stable population on the south China coast. Studies also show least 14 species of octocoral and black coraland 21 speciesof hard coralin east Lantau waters, and are of research interest related to climate change. The rare and endemic species, Bogadek’s burrowing lizard, has only been recorded in the islands around the proposed reclamation, which has potential to bring invasivespecies to the islands that will prey on these lizards.
Suzanne Cheung, Head of Conservation Policysaid, “Coastal and marine spatial planning is urgently required to conserve marine resources prior to any planning of reclamation.Reclamation at east Lantau is the largest single reclamation project ever in Hong Kong and the cumulative environmental impacts at Lantau could not be underestimated. If LegCo wishes to approve these studies, then they should demand the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAO) goes well beyond minimal requirements.”
Dr. Lindsay Porter, Senior Research Scientist, University of St. Andrewssaid, “Little is known of finless porpoise population size and distribution, but ongoing surveys indicate that east Lantau waters may be important habitat. As the Chinese white dolphin is being displaced due to large-scale developments at north and west Lantau, south and east Lantau are the only remaining natural habitat within their normal distribution. The construction of large-scale reclamation dramatically increase underwater noise levels, making it difficult if not impossible for dolphins and porpoise to navigate, forage and communicate, and it is as major threat to the decline of both finless porpoise and Chinese white dolphins.”
WWF calls on the government to gather ecological baseline data with at least 12-months coverage for terrestrial surveys and at least 24-months coverage marine survey. WWF also calls for a social return on investment (SROI) study to assess the true environmental and social cost of reclamation at east Lantau.
*WWF is happy to arrange interviews with our expert on this issue:
Suzanne Cheung, Head of Conservation Policy, WWF-Hong Kong