Blaze reveals odd priorities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 February, 1999, 12:00am

One has to question the priorities of the news media in Hong Kong. They report a kitchen fire in Sha Tin but ignore a fire that devastates a country park.

On February 6, I discovered, while walking in Plover Cove Country Park, that the north side of the valley had been burned of practically all vegetation for roughly 2.5 kilometres.

Consider the cost. Leaving aside the incalculable cost of losing one of Hong Kong's green lungs, some estimate could be made of the expense of putting the fire out (beaters, possibly a helicopter). Add to that the cost of replanting trees. Over the years I have seen students and youth groups planting stands of saplings. Think of the thousands of man-hours that would have to be spent again (if they have the heart to begin again). By any standard the loss must be rated as considerable. Yet I saw no report.

Some questions arise. Did the Country Parks Authority issue a press release on the fire, or did it also regard it as of no consequence? Did the police investigate the cause of the fire? Did any member of the Country Parks Board visit the site to report on the damage? In short, are the guardians of the country parks guarding them? D. E. POLLARD Tai Po