Beach worth fighting for

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 April, 1995, 12:00am

I WOULD like to comment on the recent development at Tai Long Wan. There is no excuse for breaking the laws that are here to protect Hong Kong's parks and rural lands.

In five short years, I have witnessed the metamorphosis of the Northwest New Territories from farmlands to container storage depots; the end of Stonecutter's life as an island; the destruction of a lush island called Chek Lap Kok.

The Government made the decision that there are some areas worth destroying in the name of progress. So there is nothing that can be done about these. This makes our protected areas so much more valuable.

Therefore, when illegal projects are undertaken that destroy or greatly damage our countryside, the law must come down with full force.

A fine for those operating earth-moving machinery in contravention of government directives, is a mere annoyance for the operators, and the news of villagers' persistence in breaking the law over the weekend proves that the only way to stop this criminal activity is by issuing custodial sentences. All too often, Hong Kong justices don't take advantage of their option to sentence jail terms and developers consider the meagre fines just another minor cost of doing business.

Tai Long Wan is a wonderful beach. It is perfect just the way it is.

When the sea is calm, one can snorkel there. I have done this and saw a large and beautiful ray (fish) sitting on the sandy bottom. After a typhoon, experienced surfers can enjoy Tai Long Wan in a very different way. Campers can gently use this spectacular place, too, and the hike into the area is nothing short of exhilarating.

There are precious few places in Hong Kong where such unintrusive enjoyment of nature can be had. This is worth fighting for, and the Government must take an aggressive lead.

RENEE M. THORPE Discovery Bay