Wall effect buildings are ruining the health of our citizens

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 June, 2007, 12:00am

Private residential buildings with a screen wall design increase the pressure of life in this city, disrupt its harmony and put at risk cohesive relationships within communities.

Worst of all, they destroy the air-ventilation. This exacerbates the air pollution problems, for which Hong Kong is so famous throughout the world. Unfortunately, despite public concern, there is no sign of an improvement of these problems. This means Hong Kong people are being forced to exist in a suffocating environment.

As I have said, these buildings, once erected, hinder air circulation and promote what is called the 'heat island effect'. At night, the concrete walls release heat absorbed during the day, leading to hotter nights. More air-conditioning is needed to cope with these hot nights, which raises the ambient temperature and creates a vicious circle.

Our developers prefer to build blocks in long rectangular shapes so residents can have coastal views and this is what causes these huge screens that impede circulation. Most of our best-known property developers have been involved in these projects. Can they honestly claim that they bear no responsibility for what these buildings do?

Sadly, reclaimed land on Hoi Fai Road, the last 'ventilation window' for Tai Kok Tsui, has been sold. New buildings will join One SilverSea, the Long Beach and Hampton Place, to form a 200-metre-wide wall screen. Investigations in the local old area reveal that 72.5 per cent of responding residents claimed that ventilation at home in the summer was getting worse, while 43.4 per cent said their families suffered more airway or pulmonary diseases. But the area will be completely blocked and the health of local residents will be badly affected.

Green Sense has made a submission to the Town Planning Board for the residential plot ratio to be cut and for a 10-metre-wide ventilation corridor to be maintained at the north of the lot.

If property developers focus only on profit and continue to construct these buildings which create the wall effect, this merely shows their lack of corporate responsibility and conscience.

I appeal to them to stop what they are doing.

Tam Hoi-pong, president of Green Sense