Ms Leung got her hands dirty on a mudflat yesterday when she and hundreds of other people planted 16,000 mangrove seedlings to protect one of the territory's most beautiful coastlines. Ms Leung helped sow a batch of 97 seedlings at Wong Chuk Wan, Sai Kung, to mark the handover. She was among more than 400 families, 100 elderly people and members of Friends of the Earth. Ms Leung said: 'Tree planting is more than an environmental protection. It is constructive and forward-looking. This is exactly what we need when we enter the new era of the Special Administrative Region.' Mangroves act as a natural filter for waste water as well as providing a feeding ground for marine life. 'In the years to come, we will see Hong Kong, like the trees we plant, grow with prosperity,' said Ms Leung. 'We hope the trees we plant will remain evergreen.' Ms Leung met Friends of the Earth director Mei Ng Fong Siu-mei at the 1995 United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing. Mrs Ng said: 'She is concerned about women and children. I am concerned about the environment.'