Are concrete paths ruining Hong Kong's country parks?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2007, 12:00am

Each week our two teenagers debate a hot topic. This week ...

Dennis Wu, 17, St Joseph's College

Hong Kong is not just a centre of finance and trade. There's actually a green side despite the hustle and bustle and skyscrapers.

The city has some of the best country parks in the region, boasting breathtaking scenery. Rare plants and animal species can be found.

Our countryside is attracting many tourists, leading to the building of concrete paths. Conservationists say they shouldn't have been built.

Such claims are not entirely groundless, but those having doubts are being overly wary.

Damage to plants and trees during construction is minimal as advanced technology is used.

The construction of concrete paths are one-off projects and once the roads have been built, there will be very little need for maintenance.

Concrete paths provide easier access to country parks for hikers and vehicles.

They enable people to go to places otherwise inaccessible, providing opportunities for scientists to study the countryside and come up with better conservation measures.

Indeed, concrete paths pose a certain amount of threat to the environment, but their benefits outweigh their disadvantages.

Concrete paths allow more people to experience Hong Kong's countryside.

Esther Pang, 16, Diocesan Girls' School

Green leafy branches. Grassy land. A cool breeze. The soft chirping of birds fill your ears as rays of light penetrate through the treetops to reveal ... an ugly concrete path going through the otherwise lovely park.

Grimacing at the jagged edges and filthy surface, you tread your way across the park on the path, taking extreme caution to avoid tripping over loose pieces of concrete.

The concrete paths are annoying man-made items in the midst of a supposedly natural country park.

They shouldn't be in our country parks. Shrubs and plants are removed to make way for their construction.

Isn't that against why country parks were set up in the first place - for conservation?

Also the concrete is sometimes laid on top of, or around, the roots of trees, which damages them.

The paths are often dotted with broken chunks of concrete.

As the paths are at least an inch or two above the ground, hikers have to be careful not to slip.

Dirt roads are a much better option and require a lot less maintenance.