I REFER to the article headlined, 'Strong plan urged to save marshes', which appeared in the South China Morning Post, of November 22. The recommendation to designate the Mai Po Nature Reserve and the surrounding wetlands under the Ramsar Convention is fully supported. The convention was extended to Hong Kong in 1979 and, to date, no single site has been designated as a 'Ramsar Site', although we have an internationally important wetland area in the Northwest New Territories. Whilst an inter-departmental working group has been set up for 16 months to investigate the implications of the Ramsar designation, the Government, to date, seems to be reluctant to commit resources in terms of finance and manpower. The lack of an authority committed to wetland conservation is another hindrance to the conservation of this important wetland area. In order to allow the sustainable development of wetlands, there must be comprehensive and co-ordinated policies in town planning, nature conservation and pollution control. The recent revision of the Town Planning Board guidelines for development applications in the Inner Deep Bay area moved ahead of other government conservation policies, by requiring that a 12-month ecological study must be conducted to reveal clearly the ecological value of the application site. This is welcomed, since there has been more than one occasion when a rare species was discovered after construction works had started. For example, a rare dragonfly species was found on Kau Sai Chau after the construction work had started to build a golf course on the island due to a very limited survey being undertaken for the original environmental impact assessment. The 'precautionary principle' adopted by the Town Planning Board is another move advancing the Government's conservation policies. Although our understanding of the ecology of Hong Kong has been growing rapidly in recent years, many wildlife species still remain largely unknown. Thus, the study of the rare Chinese white dolphin only commenced after the dolphins had been exposed to the impact of construction works related to the implementation of the Port and Airport Development Strategy (PADS). Another appeal for a large-scale development in the adjoining wetlands of Mai Po Nature Reserve, Fung Lok Wai, is expected to be presented to the Town Planning Appeal Board in February of next year. If the Government is determined to conserve the important wetlands for the appreciation of future generations, it should follow the positive moves of the Town Planning Board.