Weekly News Digest 5 - 11 December 2015
Date: 11 December 2015
The following are the main environment/wildlife conservation related stories covered by Hong Kong’s Press for the week 5 - 11 December.
On climate change:
At the COP21 Summit, Wong has also said that Hong Kong is aiming to become a low-carbon liveable city, and that there is a new target to reduce the city’s energy intensity by 40 percent by 2025.
On land development:
The remaining residents of the last walled village in Kowloon will not move out, although the government has demanded they leave the 600-year-old village, as demolition is scheduled for late January. A concern group for the project has criticised the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) as a “robber” in redeveloping the village, using public money to replace it with two private housing buildings of 30 to 40 storeys.
The rural advisory body Heung Yee Kuk has promised to lend their assistance to 11 indigenous villagers of Sha Tin who have been found guilty of illegally transferring their land rights to developers last Friday.
The High Court has rejected a claim brought by five Sheung Shui indigenous villagers against a law firm representing a developer in a land dispute. In his judgment on Tuesday, Judge Anthony To Kwai-fung said that the villagers were just as guilty as the developer and that they should not be given favourable treatment.
The government watchdog on Thursday lashed out at lax enforcement and regulation in the burial of deceased indigenous villagers in the New Territories (NT) due to the unclear division of responsibility among five different departments.
Excluding CLP’s special rebate of more than HK$1.2 billion in August this year, the two power companies still have more than HK$4.43 billion in Fuel Clause Recovery Accounts and Tariff Stabilization Funds – with Hong Kong Electric accounting for HK$2.1 billion and CLP for HK$2.3 billion. The surpluses could allow 320,000 Island customers and 420,000 Kowloon households to be supplied with free electricity for a year.
On food / water safety:
Hong Kong’s consumer sent letters to nine fast-food chain operators to warn them about the improper use of antibiotics to produce heftier meat, Ming Pao Daily reports.
The contractor responsible for building some of the Hong Kong public housing estates hit by the lead-in-water scandal this week appeared in an official inquiry, where they expressed their regret but denying any wrongdoing.
Drinking water from China’s Dongjiang River has been found to contain excessive amounts of bacteria and chemicals.
Shoals of dead fish washed up on the banks of Shing Mun River last week, around the same time as Greenpeace released data indicating that five of Hong Kong's biggest drinking water reservoirs are tainted with a potentially carcinogenic chemical, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
Hazardous levels of sewage-based bacteria have been found at beaches the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) says are clean, according to testing carried out by University of Hong Kong (HKU) researchers.
An investigation by Ming Pao reports that enormous amounts of construction waste is being regularly dumped into Victoria Harbour, without the knowledge of multiple government agencies.
On natural conservation:
Sharp Island has a coral coverage of 79.5 percent, surpassing Coral Beach in Hoi Ha Wan, which took the top spot in last year’s study at 79.4 percent, but only managed a 72.3 percent coverage this year, according to Ming Pao Daily.
On wildlife conservation:
A Hong Kong University ecologist and conservationist said on Tuesday that the 2,400 hectare marine park approved by the Advisory Council on the Environment north of the airport is in the wrong place to help sustain Chinese white dolphins off Lantau.
WWF-Hong Kong launched a campaign “Rewrite Their Futures” encourages Hongkongers to invent a new Chinese name for ivory that accurately depicts the cruel nature of tusk extraction.