Hong Kong University of Science and Technology celebrated the opening of the city's first Eco-Park for teaching and academic research with a tree-planting ceremony last week. One of the leading projects at the park - which will focus on renewable energy, green living and environmental conservation - is a HK$5.8million study of slopes that will prevent landslides. The university's civil and environmental engineering departments will work alongside those from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong. They will test four common local plant species to see which best stabilises and controls soil erosion. The aim is to replace landslide-prevention methods, such as concrete reinforcements, which are costly to maintain. The park in Tseung Kwan O, which will cover 5,000sqm, is supported by the Sai Kung District Council. It is part of the university's development project, with the new four-year undergraduate system offering students a more interactive, out-of-classroom experience. The park's first phase focuses on studying green slopes, Chinese medicine, ecologically valuable plants, and organic farming. The park will build a butterfly and bee garden, an environmental education trail and cultivate plants and vegetation of high ornamental, food, medicinal and ecological value. The second phase will target renewable energy and zero-carbon emissions. Wind and solar power systems will fuel lights and watering facilities. The MTR and nearby housing estates will help collect and recycle waste water for irrigation.