More than 200 people marked Earth Day with a protest, calling on the government to rethink its land supply policy that relies heavily on reclamation to boost land reserves. The protesters from 17 green groups, animal rights organizations and political groups marched yesterday from Central to the new government offices in Tamar on the 42nd Earth Day. They demanded authorities consider reclamation as a last resort, and focus on effective population policies to address the anticipated 1.8 million growth in population by 2039.
Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said since birth rates remain low, the expected population growth may be attributed to the influx of non-permanent residents who give birth in the SAR. The problem of lack of space may be solved by a strict immigration policy.Reclamation works over the past two decades have used about 290 million cubic meters of sand, destroying seabeds and natural coastlines, Tam added.
Designing Hong Kong CEO and district councillor Paul Zimmerman said urban planning policy is short-sighted and inefficient compared to places like Singapore. Others criticized the government for selling reclaimed land to developers and for embarking on large-scale infrastructure projects, including a third airport runway, which have serious implications on marine ecology. Hong Kong Dolphin Conservaton Society chairman Samuel Hung Kay-siu said the marine ecosystem has reached a tipping point due to successive decades of reclamation projects that have dumped large amounts of polluting elements into local waters.
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