The Guardian of May 28th contained a report headlined: Hong Kong plans massive new round of land reclamation.` parts of which I reproduce below. I`m afraid it doesn`t make happy reading.
Hong Kong is planning to extend its surface area by hundreds of hectares in a new round of land reclamation that would provide homes and land space for millions more people.
Authorities in the former British colony have drawn up plans to create a series of islands and waterfront extensions by dumping concrete and other construction waste in the sea. Thousands have signed petitions against the plans. Experts on population, environment, urban design and sustainability say that instead of creating new lifestyles for residents, the plans will allow the government to save the cost of shopping waste to China and garner huge profits from land sales…”The WWF said the environmental cost was too high. Among the sites, Po Toi is home to the Romer`s tree frog; Hei Ling Chau island is home to a special burrowing lizard; and the waters around Beaufort island support more than 30 species of coral. Porpoises , mangroves and spawning grounds for fish would be put at risk. In all 25 locations are shortlisted for land reclamation. The authorities say it is necessary in one of the planet`s most densely populated places..Cedd ( HK Government`s Civil Engineering and Development Department) says,for instance, that Hong Kong`s population of 6.9 million will reach 8.9 million by 2039. “ I don`t believe it,” said Professor Paul Yip, Hong Kong`s top demographer, from the University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, at 1.04%, and a rapidly aging population. The daily quota of 150 migrants from mainland China is rarely filled. Without a massive immigration programme it is hard to see how it could produce such significant population growth…Some allege a broader lack of vision. The border is becoming more porous, which is partly why mainland Chinese feel less need to live in more expensive Hong Kong. It also raises questions about why Hong Kong should build more land when there is the huge space of China next door…The local commentator Tom Holland said “It`s hard to conclude anything except that the planners and their construction industry cronies have run completely amok, crazed by the prospect of getting their hands on the government`s huge fiscal reserves and using them to build ever more grandiose, expensive and unneeded civil engineering projects.” (1)
1. The Guardian May 28th 2012.