Is reclaimed land safe?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 May, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 May, 1995, 12:00am

I AM one among many commuting workers who is very unhappy about the new piers for the outlying ferries.

I know all the reclamation work has to do with preparations for facilities relating to the new airport, and that it will also provide land for more commercial buildings, which will add to Hong Kong's building glut.

However, I have one main worry about all this frenzy of construction.

It is possible there will be earthquakes following China's recent explosion of an underground nuclear bomb - not just in this region, but around our planet.

My question is: have Hong Kong's hasty planners ensured that the reclaimed harbour area is solid enough not to liquefy, as happened in Kobe, should tremors hit this city? A lesson could have been learned from the example in Manila where the Cultural Centre, built on reclaimed land in the bay, today has cracks in its foundation, is slowly sinking and will surely be a major casualty in that quake-prone country. The Marcoses (particularly Imelda, who wanted her Cultural, Festival Arts and Film centres rushed in time for beauty pageants and similar events close to her heart) ordered such mindless construction to go on even before the landfill was allowed to settle.

Here in Hong Kong, have proper foundations that can withstand minor and medium-intensity tremors been laid for all these skyscrapers of which Hong Kong people are so proud? Or do local builders suffer from the delusion that Hong Kong is safe because it is not within the 'ring of fire' but only next to it? Hong Kong's entrepreneurs have created the most unliveable concrete jungle in the whole of Asia.

Can those who are responsible for all this reclamation work assure readers that precautions have been taken to protect people? TANYA CUNAHAN New Territories