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Old May 30th, 2009, 11:26 AM   #621
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Clean harbour key to HK sea hub status
More is being done to keep Hong Kong's coastline pollution-free, but efforts have to be updated and continuing
29 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong can attribute a large part of its success to its deepwater port, but it is often accused of taking little care of the aquatic resources that have helped it generate vast riches.

Hong Kong has one of the busiest harbours in the world and more than 1,600km of coastal waters, but fish stocks in many areas have been depleted and the water polluted with human and industrial waste. Even pockets of unspoiled clean water in remote areas that support a diversity of marine life are under pressure from increasing recreational activities and illegal fishing.

Water pollution can be invisible to the naked eye, but the impact can be wide-ranging. Ecoli bacteria and other pollutants can make swimmers sick and contaminate or kill marine life.

Around Lau Fau Shan in Hong Kong's far north, home to what remains of the oyster farming industry, discarded plastic bottles, bags, styrofoam boxes and fast-food wrappers litter the shoreline.

"Pollution is a huge problem," said a spokesman from the WWF, which studies water and air quality. "Visit Lau Fau Shan and you will certainly be wary of buying oysters in Hong Kong. But it is the rubbish you can't see that's causing the real problems."

According to the United Nations, there are more than 100 million tonnes of plastic floating in the world's seas and oceans. The UN estimates that about 50 per cent of plastic waste comes from Asia.

In the Aberdeen typhoon shelter, more than 300 tonnes of floating refuse are collected every year, most of which is household rubbish including bottles, cans, bags and packaging. Floating refuse collected along Hong Kong's coastline is also on the increase.

Adding to the waste washed and blown into the sea from factories in the Pearl River Delta is the debris left behind by swimmers, beachgoers and litter from streets and storm drains. There is also rubbish dumped from fishing boats and vessel operations that adds to debris from landfill sites, household and construction.

According to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the number of beaches meeting the Water Quality Objective for bathing water increased to 34 in 2006 from 26 in 1997.

The number of river monitoring stations with bad or very bad water quality dropped from 52 per cent in 1988 to less than 15 per cent in recent years. Programmes such as the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme - a strategy for collecting and treating sewage - have been credited with helping to reduce pollution loads.

Realising that Hong Kong's marine pollution problems are not entirely of its own making, the Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection has devised measures to reduce water pollution.

An EPD spokesman said: "Hong Kong shares its waters with Guangdong. It makes sense, therefore, that pollution control efforts be matched by both sides."

The sides set up a joint working group and in 2000 agreed on a 15-year plan to clean up Deep Bay and reduce pollution from existing sources and control future pollution. The two sides also initiated the first review of the regional water quality control strategy for Mirs Bay at the end of last year.

The EPD conducts monthly marine water quality monitoring at 76 sampling stations. It monitors water and sediment quality of 17 typhoon shelters, marinas and dockyards. The EPD carries out monthly sampling of phytoplankton in the water at 25 monitoring stations. Three main areas the EPD monitors are dissolved oxygen - needed to support marine life; ammonia - harmful to water quality; and bacteria - linked to raw sewage.

Water quality in Hong Kong harbour is expected to improve with the addition of the Stonecutters Island centralised sewage treatment plant. The new plant, capable of handling 1.7 million cubic metres of sewage each day has been built as part of the harbour treatment scheme.

Discarded plastic bottles, supermarket bags and other plastic items that end up in the sea might look unsightly, but they could also pose an even bigger problem for humans. Studies show that tidal movement and erosion grinds plastic waste into tiny non-degradable particles.

Doug Woodring, an environmental consultant for small businesses and founder of Project Kaisei, a global initiative which he started in Hong Kong, which aims to clean up the plastic vortex in the Pacific Ocean, said because these particles were petroleum based they attracted harmful chemicals such as DDT, PCBs and heavy metals dumped in the world's oceans. These are eaten by small fish as indigestible food and passed along the food chain until they are consumed by humans.

Mr Woodring said: "As large consumers of seafood, Hongkongers are quite likely eating toxic time bombs, particularly when they eat bigger and older fish, which tend to have larger concentrations of toxic particles.

"We have all seen plastic in our rivers and oceans and we can all do something about it," said Mr Woodring, who is organising a water clean-up project as part of the World Ocean Day with Hong Kong's surfing, diving, sailing and paddling community next weekend.
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Old May 31st, 2009, 07:21 PM   #622
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Old May 31st, 2009, 10:32 PM   #623
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Clean harbour key to HK sea hub status
More is being done to keep Hong Kong's coastline pollution-free, but efforts have to be updated and continuing
29 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong can attribute a large part of its success to its deepwater port, but it is often accused of taking little care of the aquatic resources that have helped it generate vast riches.

"Pollution is a huge problem," said a spokesman from the WWF, which studies water and air quality. "Visit Lau Fau Shan and you will certainly be wary of buying oysters in Hong Kong. But it is the rubbish you can't see that's causing the real problems."
After the U.S. news reported that Batman would be foregoing a flying over the harbor shot for "The Dark Knight" due to pollution concerns, I was both embarrassed and upset...
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Old June 1st, 2009, 01:27 AM   #624
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After the U.S. news reported that Batman would be foregoing a flying over the harbor shot for "The Dark Knight" due to pollution concerns, I was both embarrassed and upset...
Not trying to find an excuse, I wish Victoria Harbour were safe to jump in anytime, too. But the pollution problem by "The Dark Knight" was just propaganda, it were just like asking someone to just in the East or West River in New York, same thing. Water pollution in city's harbour isn't a Hong Kong only thing, plenty famous harbour face the same problem.

In fact, Victoria Harbour has gotten better and better over the past decade while our water sewage and drainage treatment have become better and better.

But water quality outside the harbour in area like the Deep Bay, Lau Fau Shan is really an outside pollution that we have suffered from pollutant originated from Shenzhen, upstream Pearl River and Guangdong. We can keep complaining, but the mainland has a long way on make the clean water return.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 02:36 PM   #625
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Guangdong and Hong Kong both need to work together to get rid of the pollution across the entire Pearl River Delta. HK can't just blame the mainland for the pollution, while it is a big cause, there is also a lot that goes on in HK that doesn't help.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 06:03 PM   #626
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Hong Kong is taking action on locally-produced pollution, which is primarily due to vehicular emissions. However, the grey skies are caused by factory pollutants from the mainland. Guangdong province has recently been very pressing with new environmental legislation, much to the complaint of Hong Kong investors who saw the cost efficiencies erode with more legislation.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #627
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Opinion : Cut back scale of harbour reclamation
27 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Construction of the long-planned Central-Wan Chai bypass will start by the end of the year ("HK$28b bypass gets the green light", May 21).

I appreciate the bypass is necessary in order to reduce traffic congestion problems.

Anyone familiar with this area knows that congestion is getting worse.

At present, travelling by car from Rumsey Street, Sheung Wan, to Causeway Bay during the rush hour takes about 15 minutes.

If the bypass is not ready by 2016 the congestion will have got so bad that travelling the same distance will take 45 minutes, with maximum speeds of 5km/h for drivers.

Also if there is even a minor accident, for example at the Gloucester Road corridor, the risk of gridlock increases.

Also this corridor is heavily used and there will need to be major road repairs sometime in the next decade.

The bypass would have to be ready in time for such road repairs, or east-west traffic on this part of Hong Kong Island would grind to a halt.

I also support electronic road pricing in the existing corridor in Central.

I think such a scheme will restrict the number of cars entering Central.

However, I am concerned that the construction of the Central-Wan Chai bypass requires additional reclamation of part of Victoria Harbour.

Environmental organisations have criticised this reclamation plan by the government, saying that it is a form of non-sustainable development.

I can understand their concerns.

This reclamation work will lead to further narrowing of the harbour.

I am worried about what effect this will have on boats using the harbour.

Also, such reclamation degrades an important natural resource of Hong Kong. The narrowing of the harbour will mean its harder for pollutants to be washed out, thus leading to even more serious water pollution.

We will also lose more of our natural coastline.

I urge officials to look into this matter and try to strike a balance between the need to build the Central-Wan Chai bypass and the importance of protecting the environment.

They should make every effort to minimise the scale of the harbour reclamation.

Charlie Chan Wing-tai, Sha Tin
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Old June 6th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #628
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Opinion : Cut back scale of harbour reclamation
27 May 2009
South China Morning Post

The narrowing of the harbour will mean its harder for pollutants to be washed out, thus leading to even more serious water pollution.

We will also lose more of our natural coastline.

Charlie Chan Wing-tai, Sha Tin
1. Narrower water body moves faster than the wider one, and it is actually harder for pollutant to settle. It will be somewhat cleaner. And the current half reclaimed north HKI shore has dead spot of water current where dirty water sits and get worse.

2. Majority of the harbour coastline has been artificial for over a century from being the natural.
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Last edited by EricIsHim; June 11th, 2009 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Missing words.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 09:01 AM   #629
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True .. but is it possible a changing coastline will result in dead zones where water can pool so even though the harbour currents still move and the pollutants get flushed out, they may be flushed into these dead zones?

I'm thinking whether Hung Hom Bay would be one of these.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #630
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True .. but is it possible a changing coastline will result in dead zones where water can pool so even though the harbour currents still move and the pollutants get flushed out, they may be flushed into these dead zones?

I'm thinking whether Hung Hom Bay would be one of these.
The inner water at the end of Kai Tak river between the old runway and Kowloon Bay is a classic example, but it has nothing to do the ongoing reclamation project.

But in Central, where water just outside the Post Office HQ between the old Star Ferry and 2IFC used to be one of those dead zones. It was a dead right angle. No matter which way the current flowed. When current flowed from east to west, everything was pushed in against the land; when current flowed from west to east, the current passed by the edge of a streamline, and wasn't strong enough to carry anything out. Water in that corner didn't get flush out and bad stuff just sat there. Overtime, it got smelly on a hot day when water started to evaporate. Of course that corner is gone now so things shouldn't be as bad.

Pre-reclaimed condition:

Source: Google Map
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Old June 16th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #631
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City to spend HK$4b transporting waste
16 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong would spend at least HK$4 billion over the next three years to transport construction waste from the city's massive infrastructure projects to reclamation sites across the border, officials said yesterday.

Talks were also under way with mainland authorities on opening up more and closer sites to receive the waste. A number of sites were being considered by the State Oceanic Administration, and officials hoped the sites chosen would be near Hong Kong to save on transport costs.

The only site currently designated to receive waste is Guanghaiwan in Taishan city , in the western Pearl River Delta.

The site is about 170km from Hong Kong and the waste has to be transported by sea. It has taken about 17 million tonnes of waste so far.

Hong Kong is expected to generate at least 28 million tonnes of waste in the next two to three years from infrastructure works, including rail projects that require excavation and tunnels. While some could be used in reclamation work in Central, Wan Chai and for the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge off north Lantau, officials said these projects could not use all of the material.

"A single site cannot handle the growing amount of material. We will need more sites to receive them as we do not have enough space to store them in Hong Kong," said Yip Sai-chor, head of the civil engineering office at the Civil Engineering and Development Department.

Mr Yip said that although the Taishan site had space to handle up to 90 million tonnes, logistical problems limited its use. The department had been operating two "fill banks" in Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O to store the reusable materials temporarily, but their capacities were nearly approaching the 12 million tonne limit. It was forecast that about 10 million tonnes of waste would need to be moved out of the city.

The department has already invited tenders for operators for the cross-border transport for the next three years, the cost of which is estimated at a minimum of HK$4 billion.

The department will finance the project from its recurrent account and there is no need to seek additional funding from the legislature.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 05:56 AM   #632
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City to spend HK$4b transporting waste
16 June 2009
South China Morning Post
Is the HK Gov't encouraging green building? Like adopting the LEED system? NYC enacted a law in 2005 that required a majority of new city-funded buildings to be LEED Certified or Silver, and Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC also encourages private developers to be more enviro+energy friendly.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:10 PM   #633
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Is the HK Gov't encouraging green building? Like adopting the LEED system? NYC enacted a law in 2005 that required a majority of new city-funded buildings to be LEED Certified or Silver, and Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC also encourages private developers to be more enviro+energy friendly.
HK has a long way to go before implementing and enforcing something as sophisticated as the LEED system. But HK's do have something called the Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) (http://www.hk-beam.org.hk/general/home.php). I don't know much about this BEAM program, but I doubt it's as popular, powerful and recognized as the LEED does locally.

Developers do start to look at LEED as a reference for new buildings, for example the Hennessy Centre under construction claimes to be the first LEED Platinium pre-certified building in HK (see http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...6&postcount=43)
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Old June 19th, 2009, 05:36 AM   #634
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HK has a long way to go before implementing and enforcing something as sophisticated as the LEED system. But HK's do have something called the Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) (http://www.hk-beam.org.hk/general/home.php). I don't know much about this BEAM program, but I doubt it's as popular, powerful and recognized as the LEED does locally.
From a quick glance, its credit system and requirements do seem very similar to the LEED system, with the addition of a landmark/cultural criteria. I'm glad that this system is there!
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Old June 27th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #635
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Old July 4th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #636
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Old July 5th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #637
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Legal fight to save harbour must be extended to all waterways
3 July 2009
SCMP

The Society for Protection of the Harbour supports the letters from Peter Y. Wong, president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers ("Reclamation for delta bridge can be reduced", June 29) and Luiz Souza ("Hong Kong's outstanding areas of natural beauty must be saved", June 30), calling for protection of our shorelines and natural beauty.

What remained of Victoria Harbour (roughly a half) was only saved in the nick of time by the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, enacted in 1997, which was fortified by the judgment of the Court of Final Appeal in 2004 and the judgment of the High Court last year.

Hong Kong people should take note that, under the Foreshore and Seabed (Reclamations) Ordinance, the government can reclaim any part of Hong Kong waters, or even authorise developers to do so, without approval by the Town Planning Board or any other public body and without having to justify the reclamation to the public.

Our society was formed only to protect Victoria Harbour, as the task to take on the protection of all Hong Kong waters would have been too difficult and ambitious 15 years ago.

Now that the Hong Kong community has woken up to the importance of the environment, it is the right time to consider a law to protect all of the waters of Hong Kong. We urge public-spirited citizens and environmental groups to take on the task of persuading the Legislative Council to pass a similar ordinance so that the shorelines of Hong Kong will only be reclaimed if there is sufficient public justification.

Government officials who consider themselves qualified to lead Hong Kong must exhibit the wisdom and foresight to do so.

They should recognise that the natural beauty of Hong Kong and its position as a major cosmopolitan area centred within an archipelago is unique in the world and every effort should be made to preserve it.

Winston K. S. Chu, adviser, Society for Protection of the Harbour
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Old July 9th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #638
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Opinion : Electronic road pricing is not the solution for new bypass
26 May 2009
South China Morning Post

The Central-Wan Chai bypass has finally been given the go-ahead. Your editorial ("Bypass will cut jams - if we charge to use roads", May 22) says the approval should not be the end of the matter. You argue it has to be the spur for development of a comprehensive strategy for traffic flow in Hong Kong - with electronic road pricing at its heart.

Your editorial says at peak times the streets of Central are clogged, considerably lengthening travel times and charging for road use will convince a proportion of drivers to use public transport instead.

But as Central is the central business district of Hong Kong one can't imagine that people would simply drive there purposelessly. Obviously, vehicles go there because of a genuine business need and they will still go there - electronic road pricing or not - if the area remains the central business district.

Also, one can't imagine making commercial deliveries to Central by public transport, or chairmen of multinational companies coming down from The Peak to their offices at Central by bus, because of road charges. I tend to agree with the official argument that drivers heading for destinations beyond central business district would be unfairly penalised because they had no alternative but to use its streets. Building the bypass, which will go underground near the Two IFC office tower, eliminates this problem and hence road pricing would not be required.

When the bypass was adequately designed to divert unrelated traffic away from Central without the need for road pricing such a "highwayman's charge" was not even in the equation for reducing traffic congestion in Central. As such, what exactly is the motive to link electronic road pricing with the bypass?

Your editorial acknowledges that "road pricing has been controversial in most cities where it has been put in place". Why does Hong Kong now have to play "catch-up"? Do we really need to "keep up with the Joneses", irrespectively?

The bypass aims to reduce congestion but will achieve a minimal reduction in jams in other districts. Some other appropriate solutions are needed but not necessarily road pricing.

Alex Tam, Sai Kung
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Old July 15th, 2009, 04:29 AM   #639
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Fill in the gaps to develop HK, professors say
13 July 2009
SCMP

Two mainland academics say they have the answer to the city's land shortage - reclaiming the waters between Lamma, Cheung Chau, Peng Chau and two smaller islands.

The reclamation would create 25 sq km of extra land - roughly the amount of built up land on Hong Kong Island, they say. The ambitious plan would cost HK$11.2 billion.

The proposal comes from Lei Qiang, professor at the Centre for Studies of Hong Kong, Macau and the Pearl River Delta at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, and Qian Zhaojun, a former deputy director of the Navigation Design and Survey Institute in Guangzhou.

They argue that Hong Kong faces an acute shortage of land and their plan would create plenty of valuable land for future development.

Professor Lei said reclamation of the waters near the islands, which have an average depth of seven metres, was technically feasible.

"It would create space for comprehensive development," he said. "Development on such a vast piece of land would be more cost-effective than on scattered pieces of land in other parts of Hong Kong."

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen promised last month that the government would adopt "new thinking" to tackle the land shortage and enable development of six new economic "pillars".

Victor Sit Fung-shuen, director of the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Baptist University, said: "[Their] holistic approach ... merits discussion but the plan is unrealistic in the short run."

He does not believe it could be carried out in the next 20 years.

Christine Loh Kung-wai, chairwoman of the Society for Protection of the Harbour, said: "The obvious question to ask is: is Hong Kong short of land? How much factory land is there in Hong Kong that is not being used or reused for commercial and residential uses?

"There is also the issue of costs. Reclamation doesn't come 'free'. I doubt vast reclamation like they suggest will stand up to scrutiny."

Professor Lei said one of the aims of the proposal was to stimulate discussion in Hong Kong on the city's future development.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #640
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Not surprised such idea came from mainland academics, i guess natural preservation never come across their mind.
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