Environment and Conservation News

Details of environmental and conservation issues FSK is currently involved in. Members of the public are encouraged to get involved to help preserve the Sai Kung environment and its unique wildlife.

Fundamentally Flawed Outline Zoning Plans for Hoi Ha and Pak Sha O

By Tim Collard

As is widely acknowledged, the 2012 trawler ban in Hong Kong waters was an important step forward in the process of re-establishing a healthy marine environment (and fisheries), and it is having a beneficial effect. When diving in Mirs Bay a visible return of fish species not commonly seen for years is apparent. However, the past two years’ gains are being compromised by developers and their increasingly large-scale “small house” construction projects inside the Sai Kung Country Parks, as well as their re-introduction of farming along the stream that flows into the Hoi Ha Marine Park and its protected coral reef areas.

In the 1960s, small coral reefs were common in the area – sadly, this is no longer so. While the decline has likely been due to pollution, widespread bottom trawling, and construction on both the Guangdong and Hong Kong sides of the bay, the underlying cause is increased silt, chemical pollutants in the silt itself, and increased drainage from human settlements in the area. This seriously damages the marine environment, including corals and mangroves, which are critically important breeding grounds for many fish, including high value garoupa, snapper and bream which are important to both “capture” fisheries and as a source of juveniles for Hong Kong’s fish farming industry. Environmental degradation in Mirs Bay affects not only the natural beauty of the area but also the livelihoods of thousands of lower-income people. According to the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD) website, both capture fisheries and fish farming were valued at approximately HK$2.4 billion in 2013.

No comprehensive measures to sort and separate waste

In today's South China Morning Post :


A Chinese version is attached and have been sent to members of the
Finance Committee. I urge you in circulating the document to
officials in Hong Kong and the media especially Chinese ones.

We need to highlight the incompetence and dishonesty of the
Environmental Bureau, and create an atmosphere in the public domain
and among senior principals in CY Leung's administration that forces
them to withdraw their incinerator proposal and allow more sensible
solution to be considered in the next three months before the next
legislative year convenes in October if no action is taken in the
remaining days because of successful filibustering effort.


Tom Yam

Protection of Country Park Enclaves

Dear Sir


Mr Sham’s letter in Tuesday’s SCMP would have been quite comic if it did not display such a callous and calculated abrogation of AFCD’s responsibilities to safeguard Hong Kong’s environment.  The decision not to incorporate enclaves such as Hoi Ha into the Country Parks system was contrary to the Government’s Enclave Policy, the relevant Working Paper from the Country and Marine Parks Board and the Convention on Bio-Diversity, which states, in Annex 8(e), that “sound and sustainable” planning processes must be put in place in areas “adjacent to protected areas”- exactly the position with Hoi Ha and Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park / SSSI.  Despite this responsibility, the potential impact of the zoning plan on Hoi Ha Wan has never been mentioned by AFCD.


Stop the Rot

Submit your form - Template here: http://www.designinghongkong.com/forms/view.php?id=20667

Stop the rot of small houses in country parks


In an article published in the South China Morning Post today as “Stop the rot” we call on the Country Parks authority – the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation – to live up to its statutory duty and protect Hong Kong's green treasure from chaotic village house development.

在南華早報刊登的 “Stop the rot” 一文(中文譯本)之中我們要求郊野公園管理局, 包括漁農自然護理署署長,履行他們的法定職責,保護香港的綠色寶藏不受具破壞性的村屋發展掠奪。

In the meantime, Designing Hong Kong has commenced a campaign to call for abolishing the Small House Policy. Complete the form using the link above.



Alternatively copy and paste the below and send to : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Abolish the Small House Policy

Mr. Leung Chun Ying
Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China
Tamar, Hong Kong

E-mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Mr. Leung, 

The Small House Policy (SHP) was introduced by the former Hong Kong Government in 1972 and has NO EXPIRY DATE. Its original objective was to improve the prevailing low standard of living in the rural areas of the New Territories (NT). It is an ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY designed to simplify the basic right of any indigenous MALE NT villager (wherever born) reaching the age of 18 to build a house FOR HIMSELF TO OCCUPY in his ancestral village. The policy is out of control and is now the cause of widespread abuse and illegality.

The Government has stated that no more government land will be provided for NT small houses and when the unused village land runs out, that will be that. However, there is now such unprecedented pressure by villagers and developers (to whom many of the former have already surreptitiously sold their land) that the villages are crammed with wall to wall housing without planned access roads, sewage, drainage or public amenities.

More importantly, there are schemes afoot to fill the village enclaves inside HK's Country Parks with large, incompatible developments with no regard for the environment or the interests of the general public for whom the parks are an extremely popular amenity. Moreover the construction of these houses (hardly any of which will be occupied by the so called village applicants, as many are born and resident overseas) will cause massive environmental damage and ruin the enjoyment of Country Parks by genuine residents and visitors alike.

It is estimated that the Government’s failure to reform the policy could lead over time to more than 10,000 additional small houses being built in Country Park enclaves over the next 10 or so years. Small houses are the most environmentally damaging form of development in Hong Kong because the reality is that they are virtually unregulated. Construction (including the building of illegal or "temporary" roads) causes both habitat loss for wildlife and excessive runoff into streams and the sea which is very damaging. 

The same is true of the permanent infrastructure (e.g. road access and parking) required to service new houses, again virtually unregulated and haphazard. Sewage disposal (normally involving septic tanks) is virtually unregulated; grey water drainage generally goes into the nearest watercourse or the sea and worse (in the case of Hoi Ha) into the waters of a Marine Park.

During his election campaign at a Hong Kong University forum on 9 December 2012, the current Chief Executive of the HK SAR, C.Y. Leung, said "something will have to be done about the Small House Policy". Unfortunately, nothing has been done.

We, the undersigned, hereby petition the HKSAR Chief Executive, C.Y Leung to:

1) Abolish the divisive, discriminatory, outdated and unsustainable Small House Policy without any further delay
or, at the very least: 

2) Amend the SHP without undue delay so that the SHP no longer applies within Country Park boundaries

Don't forget to include your name, the date, and any other comments you may have.

Incinerator Demonstration


Living Islands Movement

Dear Members and Friends
Further to our recent e-mail, we have now concluded that the best way to continue the fight against the incinerator is to organize a large demonstration outside LegCo timed to coincide with the Finance Committee’s meeting on the Incinerator. 
While the date for the meeting has not been announced it will probably be on Fri 27 June though the vote may not happen until Fri 4 July or even Fri 11 July.  The Finance Committee meetings start at 3pm on Fridays.
So mark in your diary the afternoon of Friday 27 June to join the demonstration outside LegCo.
In addition to coming along to the demonstration you can continue to write to the media highlighting the many reasons why the proposed incinerator is such a bad idea.  
We are also preparing for a mass of emails to be sent to Legislators a few days before the vote.  Over the next few days we will come up with some further suggestions on each of these ideas.  Of course we are happy to hear your ideas as well.
The LIM Committee




'Living fossil' at risk from waste water in country park enclave: scientists


Residents say stream abundant in wildlife is threatened by village development nearby in latest row over country park enclaves

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 3:10am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 7:43am

Ernest Kao This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Waste water from a building site in a Sai Kung country park enclave is polluting a stream rich with wildlife including creatures known as "living fossils", residents and scientists believe.

Environment officials carried out inspections at Tai Tan village, which straddles both Sai Kung east and west country parks, after residents last week reported seeing cleaners sweeping waste water into the freshwater stream.

The officials vowed to keep close tabs on the area after the residents traced sludge in the stream uphill to a muddy ditch at the construction site, where 20 village houses are being built on one side of a single-track road adjacent to the stream.

The area is part of one of 54 enclaves which the government is drawing up plans to protect, either through zoning or by folding them into country park: a process that is proving controversial amid clashes between conservationists and landowners, who feel their rights are in jeopardy.

Gist of decisions on Draft Outline Zoning Plans for Hoi Ha, Pak Lap and So Lo Pun

Gist of the decision by Town Planning Board regarding the Draft Outline Zoning Plans for Hoi Ha, Pak Lap and So Lo Pun. Heung Yee Kuk's demand for more houses: Not upheld. Public demand for conservation:.. Partially upheld. Now we need to wait for the full minutes to find out which PART of our proposals has been accepted.


Support the establishment of large scale waste sorting facilities and the better use of the land at our landfills


Living Islands Movement

Dear Members and Friends

Support the establishment of large scale waste sorting facilities and the better use of the land at our landfills

Since many of you made submissions to the Town Planning Board back in December the Integrated Waste Management Action Group (IWMAG) has been reviewing the 3,384 submissions and has prepared supplementary information to respond to points raised.  

The updated submission is now open for comments before Friday 23 May. Further details available via http://wastehk.org/2014/05/11/submissions-due-by-23-may-for-rezoning-application-to-the-tpb/

More on the Air and Incinerators

(Via Email) Dynamco - May 13th 2014 7:22am
Au (Environmental Destruction Dept) must 1st tell us why we have no source separation of MSW laws or Govt collection of recyclables o/s housing estates (yet Govt wants to charge for even separated MSW), no Green Bin collection system for food +yard waste, why no Zero Waste policies, why other advanced countries are embracing plasma gasification technology after due diligence, why CIWEM worldwide policy recommends use of food waste disposers & the sewage network to handle food waste (poo pooed by AU but reconfirmed by CIWEM expert panel to suit here), why transit-trash cargo enroute China was being included in 'local' recycling sham figures, why the EU is closing landfills by 2020 to any recyclable item whereas here EDD wants to expand landfills
Au refers to an EDD organized trip to Europe including Denmark which now has a paradigm policy shift away from incineration to embrace recycling.
Removing 40% food waste from daily domestic MSW would leave dry recyclables 2 satisfy new recycling industries & employment, source separation laws w/associated Govt collection of ALL recyclables, Green Bin collection of food waste from NT villages & private estates to central garburation stations would reduce HKG’s daily waste stream to the extent that no incineration or landfill is necessary.
Au “will not cause adverse impact to human health” is a blatant lie contradicted by Peer reviewed online reports.
”99% PM2.5” will be caught = 30,000 kgs killer heavy metal/dioxin particulates into the air daily.

RTHK English News


Yuhang shelves incinerator plan


Authorities in the district of Yuhang, near Hangzhou, have promised to shelve controversial plans to build a large incinerator if it does not have popular support. This follows a violent protest in which 10 demonstrators and 29 police were injured.

The Xinhua news Agency said 30 vehicles were overturned as protesters set two police cars on fire on Saturday and blocked a highway in Yuhang.

One protester and a policeman have been reported seriously injured.

The Associated Press quoted a woman who lives near the proposed incinerator site as saying that thousands of people turned out for the protest, which followed government assurances that the project would not pose a health threat.

But the report said the protesters did not return on Sunday as police were heavily guarding the area.

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