Landowners defy order to remove waste

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 December, 2009, 12:00am

The landowners of an illegal dumping site in North District have defied a government order to remove the materials used to fill a pond near where a rare dragonfly can be found.

Instead, the size of the dumping site next to Kai Kuk Shue Ha village in Luk Keng, northeastern New Territories, has grown since September, when the damage came to light.

Loads of earth and rocks that were previously piled up to two metres high have been levelled over the past week, and now cover areas previously unaffected by the dumping. No additional material was dumped.

The site sits on land designated for agriculture.

The Planning Department warned the landowners in September about the unauthorised land-filling. It then issued a reinstatement order, requiring the owners to remove the materials before January 19.

But a visit to the site by South China Morning Post reporters yesterday found that a large part of the pond was still covered by the waste material. A worker was seen digging and pushing the soil into the marshland around the dump site.

A spokeswoman for the Planning Department said the ongoing work could not be accepted as fulfilling the reinstatement requirements. The owners have been warned again in a letter, she said. 'Without removal of the materials deposited on the site, the concerned parties are subject to prosecution,' she said.

The site is owned by several parties, including people from the Chu clan from the Kai Kuk Shue Ha village. Half the site is owned by Good Mind Engineering Company, which has its office in North Point.

A spokeswoman for the company said yesterday that the person in charge could not be reached for comment on the case.

William Butcher, who lives in the village, said the work has been going on for about a week, with the digger operating several hours a day. But he did not see any materials being taken away from the site.

'The government should stop the work immediately,' said Butcher, who has been closely tracking the work.

He had complained to the Planning Department and Environmental Protection Department about the dumping.

He said the site is an ecological site where toads and dragonflies can be frequently found, and he used to bring his dog to play in the marsh.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has said that the world's smallest dragonfly, the scarlet dwarf, can be found very close to the site.

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department said it was still finding out from the property's owners if they had consented to the dumping.