“If construction begins, a rare species of seahorse could go extinct”
The Hong Kong Wild Life organisation has identified 234 species living on the Lung Mei shore over the last four years. The organisation’s members have travelled to the site over 100 times to identify all of its living organisms, with the help of experts and academics from Hong Kong. Together with plant species, there are about 300 species threatened by the project, most of which are unique to this region.We won our first fight in 2008, when the Chinese Ministry of Environment asked experts for an additional report because they felt that the first environmental impact report was insufficient. This gave us some additional time, but the ministry eventually approved the project a year later based on a new report, which was essentially the same as the old one. The only difference is that they reduced the size of the beach to “limit the environmental impact” (point 6 of page 4 of the report).“The residents of Lung Mei don’t want concrete slabs”Over the last five years, we have been trying to have reasonable discussions with the authorities, but they continue to do as they please. So we’ve decided to ramp up our protests by bringing together university researchers, environmental activists and animal right groups. The residents of Lung Mei may have been tempted at a given point by the artificial beach, but the project is no longer something they want: the community wants a natural beach, not a pointless man-made concrete slab.Hong Kong Wild Life has identified 234 animal species living in Lung Mei and photographed all of them. Pictures posted on the HK Wild Life Facebook page.“We stand ready to occupy the beach in order to prevent the beginning of construction”The authorities have floated an alternative they call “Ting Kok Plus.” It’s a long-term conservation plan bringing together various environmental groups. The plan is supposed to ensure the region’s economic development and raise community awareness about environmental problems through a new office that would host workshops. This proposal is clear evidence that they did not hear anything we’ve been saying. They need to find a place better suited to the project or consider an alternative like natural swimming pools, which use aquatic plants rather than chemicals to filter the water. The “Ting Kok Plus” plan does not change anything about the original project and would sacrifice the entire natural coastline. We call it the “Ting Kok Minus.”The members of the beach protection group stand ready to occupy the beach and prevent the start of construction. We have recently discovered the presence of an endangered seahorse species [editor’s note: the Kuda Seahorse], and if construction begins, this species may disappear. The environmental protection department has recently received a complaint about this. If they ignore it, we are ready to take legal action.