Expansion shouldn't get off the ground

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, 12:00am

Hong Kong has long been an aviation hub for southeast China and our airport is expected to reach saturation point by 2017. While our airport contributes much to our affluence, I don't think we should build a third runway because it will harm our sustainability.

The construction will bring water, air and noise pollution through massive reclamation and harm nearby aquatic life, including precious Chinese white dolphins.

A third runway will mean the number of flights will double or triple, resulting in more deafeningly loud noise, especially for Tung Chung residents.

The huge cost means it is impossible to endlessly expand the airport to maintain our dominance in the region.

So to raise its competitiveness the Airport Authority should spare no effort to enhance its efficiency. It also should improve its accessibility by co-operating with other means of transport and even rival airports.

Leung Ho-yan, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Ho-yan. It is always hard to see our environment being destroyed. Eco-warriors everywhere will agree that we must always be vigilant against potential disasters. Our dolphins have been particularly badly hit recently and will face further dangers from the big construction projects in the area. But ...

There is a wonderful English saying: 'You can't make an omelette without breaking the eggs.' This means that to achieve anything, something has to give way. It will be far harder to put in a third terminal later on, so it is best that it be done as soon as possible. The faster it is finished, the faster the disturbed environment will be able to start healing.

It is not necessary for one particular area in Hong Kong to be plagued by plane noise. Many urban airports change the approach and take-off routes according to the time of day, so that the noise is equally shared among residents.

Susan, Editor