Payouts for cleaner water

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2006, 12:00am

Hong Kong and mainland authorities should find a way to compensate people and businesses along the Dongjiang who would be affected by steps to reduce pollution of the city's main water source, local and mainland environmentalists agreed at a forum yesterday. Financial incentives could be given to residents and factories whose livelihoods were affected.

'In the long term, we should be investing for water security,' Friends of the Earth director Mei Ng Fong Siu-mei said. 'We should share the responsibility with the mainland government.'

Environmentalists and officials from Hong Kong and Jiangxi were discussing how to protect the Dongjiang's source in Jiangxi. The river supplies most of Hong Kong's water.

'The water quality is actually acceptable,' said Li Wenhua, from the Chinese Academy of Engineering. 'I agree people who sacrifice for the environment in China should be compensated. Such a mechanism would be feasible and fair.'

She urged water policy reform in Hong Kong, saying bills did not reflect the real environmental cost.