High-tech development in Hong Kong near border with mainland China could destroy wetlands and impact local ecosystems, conservationists warn



Hong KongChina’s plan to build an innovation and technology (I&T) hub near its border with mainland China will mean the loss of 89 hectares (220 acres) of wetlands, an environmental impact assessment report says, and experts say the move will He warned of the possibility of a major global crisis. The local ecosystem is at risk.

The report added that 56,000 trees will be felled or transplanted to make way for the planned construction of the Sanda Technopole in Yuenlong, near Shenzhen, resulting in the loss of about 1.7 hectares of forest.

The government has announced the creation of a 338-hectare Sanpu Shu Wetland Conservation Park to compensate for the loss of land, but experts in the field said on Saturday they feared it could be an empty promise. Stated.

“This report is disappointing… at a time when the whole world is moving towards better protection of wetlands, governments are moving in the opposite direction,” said Christy Chow Ooi-chuen, campaign director at the Nature Conservancy. Ta.

Dumping at Sanpu Shu, which is part of a wetland area included in the Northern Metropolitan Development Strategy.Photo: Dixon Lee

“The conservation park is scheduled to be completed in 2039, which risks being an empty promise and failing to fulfill its conservation objectives.

“Ultimately, there could be ecological damage to society in this area.”

Mr Chou’s comments come a day after the Civil Engineering Development Authority released an environmental impact assessment report on the construction of the high-tech hub and proposed mitigation measures, following the authority’s plans to reclaim 90 hectares of fishponds as part of the project. I gave a lecture.

Technopole is big city of the north This development was designed to attract top technology companies to set up in Hong Kong.

The government announced on Friday that although 240 hectares of the proposed Sanda Technopole would be in wetland areas, more than 60 per cent of it is already brown land, filled with fish ponds and development land. .

The remaining area is covered by approximately 90 hectares of fishponds, almost half of which are abandoned or no longer used for fish production.

Hong Kong scales back proposed wetland park to make way for technology hub

The report said Technopole’s development would permanently eliminate 89 hectares of adjacent pond habitat to the north of the site and indirectly disturb 63 hectares of nearby ponds.

It added that the conservation park would be built as a mitigation measure to achieve “no net loss of wetland ecological functions and capacity.”

“The government will strengthen the ecological function and capacity of the fisheries resources of 288 hectares of wetlands and 40 hectares of fish ponds by establishing a park with active conservation management and modernized aquaculture.” says the report.

Construction of the park is expected to start in the 2026/27 financial year and be completed in 2039, it added.

The report promised to prepare and submit a forest compensation plan before construction of forest areas begins.

The report added that from 1.7 hectares of forest, more than 56,000 trees, or 87% of the 64,490 trees on the site, will be cut down or transplanted elsewhere. Ta.

Extensive damage found in Hong Kong’s wetlands, environmental groups warn

New trees will be planted one by one to compensate for the loss of trees due to site preparation work.

The report also identified potential impacts on bird colonies, roosting sites, and even wildlife.

We proposed creating open zones and buffer areas around bird colonies and roosting sites to minimize disturbance from construction works.

The report said it identified measures to ensure compliance with environmental laws and standards and asserted that the Santin Technopole project will remain “environmentally acceptable” after implementation.

But the bird watching association said it was concerned that the report divided the wetland assessment into seven regions.

The association said such an approach would mislead people into underestimating the ecological importance of the entire area.

“Ecological impacts on wetlands interact and should be measured holistically,” the association said. “I’m concerned that people have a low opinion of the ecological value of this pond habitat.”

Approximately half of the 627-hectare Sanda Technopole is expected to house major innovation and technology companies. The rest will be a residential area with approximately 50,000 apartments.

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