Telecoms cables 'threat to marine life'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2000, 12:00am

A proposal to lay 5,000km of telecommunications cables from Japan to Hong Kong could cause disruption to marine life, a green group warned.

An initial project brief by Asia Global Crossing shows that the two fibre-optic cables will enter waters east of Hong Kong and connect with a landing station in Tseung Kwan O. The company says the cables will allow a broadband network connecting Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the mainland. It says the project would be of great strategic importance to the territory's telecommunications network development.

A letter of intent has been issued by the Telecommunications Authority for the company to pursue the project's feasibility.

But the chief executive of Green Power, Dr Man Chi-sum, voiced fears yesterday that a 25km section of cable in Hong Kong waters would pose a threat to marine life.

The company's report says the cables would be laid one to 15 metres under the seabed. It said an environmentally friendly process for digging the trench for the cables would be used. The firm acknowledged some damage could be caused as the route was surrounded by a number of ecologically sensitive areas, lying 150 metres from marine parks at Cape Collinson and Tai Long Pai and Bokhara Rocks - both at Shek O.

Further environmental assessment reports will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Department.