Education hub too large and ecological zone too narrow, says WWF
While toxic mud may no longer be an issue, a green zone mapped out for protecting the flight path of migratory birds has a conservation group worried that it is too small.
The mud, dumped on the land sliced off from Shenzhen during the straightening of the polluted Shenzhen River in the 1990s, was a major obstacle to plans to develop the loop. There were concerns that dumping the mud in Sha Chau would harm the endangered Chinese white dolphin.
However, studies showed the mud was less of a problem than thought, said Liu Chun-san, of the Civil Engineering and Development Department.
Liu said tens of thousands of cubic metres of toxic mud could be deposited in five separate areas and be treated on site at a cost of HK$100 million. The heavy metals in the mud would be solidified with cement and the mud buried without causing more pollution.
But Alan Leung Sze-lun, of WWF Hong Kong, said the environmental concern would be the scale of the education hub. 'It is much larger than we expected. The loop lies in the flight path of migratory birds. The ecological zone is simply too narrow,' Leung said.