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東大嶼水域具生態價值 環團促請政府撤回「明日大嶼」

This topic has been highlight by HKBWS Suet Mei at 22/03/2019 17:09.

東大嶼水域具生態價值 環團促請政府撤回「明日大嶼」



生態調查反映東大嶼水域具生態價值 環保團體促請政府撤回「明日大嶼」



2019年3月22日 政府日前公佈「明日大嶼」(下稱填海)初步成本估算,七個環保及關注團體發佈「生態調查初步觀察」(下稱調查),反駁「中部水域生態敏感度相對低」的說法。調查發現,鄰近填海選址的周公島,具國家二級保護野生動物白腹海鵰的鳥巢、香港獨有的鮑氏雙足蜥,及在中部水域錄得稀有的海筆,反映東大嶼水域具生態價值。環保團體指出,一旦填海,勢必破壞海洋、陸地生物的棲息及繁殖地,促請政府撤回填海工程,優先發展棕地。

環保團體分別前往位於東大嶼水域的周公島及鄰近水域海底進行生態調查,初步錄得該水域具有陸地與海洋的生態價值。香港觀鳥會高級保育主任胡明川批評:「政府『未研究先立論』,認為其生態敏感度低,是嚴重低估東大嶼水域的生態價值,並誤導市民。生態價值需要長時間觀察與調查,絕非一或兩次環境影響評估就能確立。」


香港觀鳥會高級保育主任胡明川指:「本港有約30隻白腹海鵰,牠們在繁殖期間對人類活動非常敏感,往往選擇無人居住的海岸,或離岸島嶼築巢繁殖。香港是牠們在華南地區重要的繁殖地,位於東大嶼水域的周公島更是新發現的繁殖地。填海工程及建議中連接堅尼地城的道路,嚴重干擾雀鳥繁殖及覓食,最終影響牠們的繁殖成功率,更令其在港的數量減少。」

周公島是鮑氏雙足蜥重要的棲息地。長春社公共事務經理吳希文表示:「香港雙足蜥(又名鮑氏雙足蜥)是香港獨有的爬行動物,全球只在周公島、喜靈洲及石鼓洲發現。政府為保育此物種,更把周公島劃為『具特殊科學價值地點』。發展連帶的影響,例如人為干擾增加、引入外來物種等,會對此香港特有種造成傷害,甚至會令牠面臨絕種的威脅。」

東大嶼水域只有為數不多的海洋調查,守護大嶼聯盟卻於去年的海底調查中錄得罕有的海筆。這類珊瑚在本港其他水域的調查及相片紀錄中均無發現。守護大嶼聯盟海洋專家黃志俊解釋﹕「由於海筆經常隱埋在海床,全球對這種海洋底棲生物的認知甚少,填海工程將直接影響該處的罕有珊瑚群落和底棲生物。」

東大嶼水域生態敏感度高,值得保育,惟過往不少海岸發展證明,當局無法充分保護生態。香港海豚保育學會委員麥希汶指出:「雖然北大嶼水域填海工程獲批環境許可證,但2015年中華白海豚數量在該處水域絕跡,至2017年全港水域更餘47條,是為歷史新低。現時填海的生態調查甚少,任何發展都應遵守『先保育後發展』及以預防性原則看待環境。」

綠色力量總監鄭睦奇補充指:「即使明日大嶼第一階段現時建議接駁至大嶼山欣澳,我們擔心隨著發展計劃展開,道路最終會都會接駁到梅窩及其他南大嶼地區,這與政府保育南大嶼的承諾背道而馳。隨之而來的交通負荷將破壞南大嶼原有的恬靜怡人的面貌,如加劇路邊空氣污染、方便人工島上的工程把廢料隨處傾倒、鼓勵南大嶼更多無規劃、混亂、毫不配合的發展。」

自然環境是香港宜居的重要元素,現時仍有其他土地選項,政府不應貿然填海,對環境帶來不可逆轉的破壞。綠色和平資深項目主任朱江指:「棕地獲最多民意支持,造地成本僅333億元,是填海約四分之一,即可建13萬9千伙公營房屋,並取締棕地上的非法作業,保護鄉郊環境。」

環保團體重申,海洋住屋不對立,促請政府撤回填海工程、充分善用棕地和閒置土地,並解決房屋、經濟及規劃等制度的漏洞及問題。

環保及關注團體包括(排名不分先後)
長春社、綠色和平、綠色力量、香港觀鳥會、香港海豚保育學會、守護大嶼聯盟、創建香港


Updated survey findings indicate the ecological importance of East Lantau waters
Groups urge the Government to abandon “Lantau Tomorrow”



(22 March, 2019) In response to the Government’s announcement of the preliminary estimated cost for “Lantau Tomorrow” (referred to “reclamation” below), today 7 environmental and concerned groups report their preliminary findings of ecological surveys and argue against the Government’s claim of “central waters is relatively ecologically less sensitive”. Their surveys recorded an active nest of the nationally Class II protected White-bellied Sea Eagle and the Bogadek’s Burrowing Lizard endemic to Hong Kong on Sunshine Island, and also the very rare Sea Pen in the central waters. These findings reflects the East Lantau waters is of ecological importance. Environmental groups are deeply concerned reclamation will not only irreversibly alter the marine environment, but also directly threaten marine and terrestrial wildlife. They urge the Government to abandon the reclamation plan and develop brownfields first.

The groups conducted ecological surveys on Sunshine Islands and in surrounding waters. Preliminary findings indicate the area is of conservation importance both on land and in the sea. Ms. Woo Ming Chuan, Senior Conservation Officer of The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, criticized, “The Government claimed the East Lantau waters is of low ecological sensitivity without thorough and comprehensive investigation and research. This clearly underestimates the ecological value of the area and misleads the general public to support the reclamation project. Understanding the ecological importance of an area requires long-term monitoring, research and study, which cannot be replaced by just one or two Environmental Impact Assessments.”

Ms. Woo Ming Chuan, Senior Conservation Officer of The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, said, “White-bellied Sea Eagle has an estimated population of about 30 individuals in Hong Kong. As they are sensitive to human disturbance during the breeding season, they often select uninhabited coastlines or offshore islands for nesting and breeding. Hong Kong is an important breeding ground in Southern China, while the active nest at Sunshine Island is quite a recent discovery in the East Lantau waters. We are concerned the large scale reclamation works and the proposed road connection from Kennedy Town would have great disturbance on breeding and foraging grounds of birds, which in turn would affect their breeding success and the viability of their population in Hong Kong”.

Sunshine Island is an important site for the Bogadek’s Burrowing Lizard. Mr. Roy Ng, Campaign Manager of The Conservancy Association, said, “Bogadek’s Burrowing Lizard is a reptile species endemic to Hong Kong (i.e. no other records globally), and it is only found on Sunshine Island, Shek Kwu Chau and Hei Ling Chau. The Government even designated Sunshine Island as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the conservation of this species. We are in grave concern that the associated potential impacts of the development, such as increase in human disturbance and introduction of invasive species, may cause detrimental

impacts on this endemic species, or in the worst case scenario, may even wipe out the whole population on the islands, and globally.”

The East Lantau waters has always been under studied. Yet Save Lantau Alliance recorded the very rare Sea Pen Pennatulacea (海筆) during their diving surveys last year. This type of coral was not recorded or found in surveys conducted in others areas of Hong Kong waters. Mr. Dickson Wong, Marine Expert of Save Lantau Alliance, explained, “Little is known for Sea Pen both locally and globally due to their retractable and hidden characteristic. We are concerned the reclamation works would have direct adverse impacts on the rare coral community and benthic organisms in the area.”

East Lantau waters is an ecologically sensitive area and should be conserved. However, previous coastal developments demonstrate that marine habitats and wildlife cannot be adequately protected. Ms. Viena Mak, Committee Member of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, said, “Even though the reclamation in the North Lantau waters were approved and implemented according to the issued environmental permit, Chinese White Dolphin in North Lantau waters dropped significantly and have eventually disappeared since 2015, while their total number in Hong Kong reached a historical low of 47 individuals in 2017. Given that there is little surveying effort in the East Lantau waters, we consider that “conservation first, development later” and precautionary principles should be adopted for any development.”

Dr. Cheng Luk Ki, Director of Green Power, added, “Even though the first stage of Lantau Tomorrow is now proposed to connect to Lantau at Sunny Bay, we are concerned the road links will eventually reach Mui Wo and other areas of South Lantau as the development plan proceeds. This contradicts and jeopardizes the Government’s pledge to conserve South Lantau. The subsequent transport load will destroy the pristine and tranquil South Lantau by deteriorating the air quality with vehicular exhaust emissions, facilitating fly-tipping of waste transported from construction works of/on the artificial islands and encouraging unplanned, chaotic and incompatible developments on South Lantau.”

Our natural environment is an important element of the quality of life in Hong Kong. Given that there are still many other land supply options available, the Government should not consider the option of reclamation as it will bring irreversible and permanent adverse impacts on the environment. Mr. Andy Chu, Campaigner of Greenpeace, said, “Development of brownfields received the most support from the public with an estimated cost of just 33.3 billion, which is about one-fourth of the cost for reclamation. This can provide 139,000 public housing flats, at the same time phase out brownfield operation and protect the countryside.”

The groups reiterate that there should be no conflict between protecting the sea and providing adequate housing. They urge the Government to abandon the reclamation plan, fully utilize all brownfields and vacant lands, and be determined to fix loopholes in the current housing, economy and planning system.

Environmental and concerned groups include (in alphabetical order): The Conservancy Association, Designing Hong Kong, Greenpeace East Asia - Hong Kong office, Green Power, The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, Save Lantau Alliance

[ Last edited by HKBWS Suet Mei at 22/03/2019 17:07 ]

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