The Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong, supports the overall vision contained in the draft concept plan known as Land Use Planning for the (Frontier) Closed Area - strengthening nature conservation; conserving cultural heritage and promoting sustainable uses.
However, none of the government's working papers has addressed the importance of conservation of the geological heritage.
Have officials considered conserving the 354 to 280 million-year-old carboniferous rocks - the Lok Ma Chau formation in Man Kam To, Lo Wu, Mai Po, Yuen Long and the Brothers? The Lok Ma Chau formation is a valuable part of our geological heritage. Such metamorphosed rocks constitute less than 1 per cent of the total area of Hong Kong and the outcrops at Man Kam To, Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau contain rocky escarpment features. Attention must be paid to any development that may adversely impact these rare outcrops.
The association proposes the setting up of two geological windows in Tai Shek Mo or Ma Cho Lung displaying the representative outcrops of these metamorphosed rocks together with interpretive signs for preservation and public education. The unique Lin Ma Hang lead mine and the aesthetic Lin Ma Hang stream and San Kwei Tin seasonal waterfall should also be included in the 'no-go areas'.
Lin Ma Hang can be developed into an education site such as an open mining museum, which records the important mining industry in the last century. Its contribution to the early Hong Kong economy cannot be ignored.
The frontier closed area consists of parts of our geological heritage which are invaluable. The government should consider a more comprehensive conservation strategy including further studies, drawing up an inventory and deriving suitable measures for their protection.
Typical measures include avoidance of destruction of outcrops, avoidance of visual obscurities from viewpoints, and appropriate education enhancement.
Cindy Choi Mo-ching, convener of publicity, Association for Geoconservation, Hong Kong