Shenzhen and HK citizens can benefit from green border zone

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 12:00am

A 2,400-hectare border area is to be opened next year ('Development urged for green border zone', August 25).

A think tank has suggested that the area could be used for a range of purposes, from private hospitals and outlet malls to conference and exhibition venues and university campuses as Hong Kong needs land for various kinds of development.

I do not think the suggestion from the One Country Two Systems Research Institute would make good use of this green space.

I believe the original plan for the border area by the Planning Department is a better one.

It proposed a conservation-led development for the 2,400-hectare border area.

It wanted more than half of the area to be preserved as a green belt, country parks or conservation zones to serve 'as a green buffer between Hong Kong and Shenzhen'.

However, the new proposal would turn a large green belt in the middle of the border zone, including the ecologically-important wetlands, into built-up areas.

I think the department's original proposal is better than the new one, for Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

If there is even more development of this border area, the pollution problems will be exacerbated.

The ecological environment of this area situated between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is already very vulnerable, because there has been too much development in Shenzhen. The manufacturing sector is flourishing, but this means more emissions from factories and more sewage in rivers.

Environmental protection regulations were very lax and this threatened the ecological balance in the area in question. Those involved in industries have ignored the adverse impact on the environment and it is not only Shenzhen which suffers. Harmful pollutants are blown over the border.

In the long term, the environment will not be able to withstand further developments such as the ones being proposed by this think tank. There could come a point where the damage done is irreversible.

The department's original proposal not only allows for a green buffer which can ease pollution problems, but it will be an area which can be enjoyed by the people of both cities.

They will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful and natural scenery. We need to strike a balance between development and environmental protection. The think tank's plan is not consistent with sustainable development.

I appreciate that land is limited in Hong Kong and we need land for more developments to maintain our position in the international community.

However, developing the green border area will not solve our land shortage problems.

As I said, it can only lead to a deterioration of the environment and of people's living standards. And I have doubts about how many people would benefit from the developments suggested by the think tank.

Lo Fung-ha, Tseung Kwan O



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