Pui O wetland in Lantau Island, which has been identified by the Hong Kong government as a key coastal protection area, has suffered some ecological damage due to illegal dumping of construction waste in the past two months, Apple Daily reported Monday.
Under the government’s rule, anyone seeking landfill activity or any development work in the area must apply to the Town Planning Board in advance. Despite the rule, Pui O has seen some waste being dumped in the sensitive zone, forcing the relocation of some buffalos from the area.
Ho Pui-han, chairperson of the Association For Tai O Environment and Development, was quoted as saying that an abandoned farmland that is part of the protection area has seen waste being dumped as high as two meters recently but no action was taken by authorities.
There are more than 40 buffalos in the wetland, she said, adding that the waste-dumping has left the animals out of their usual habitat.
The government doesn’t seem to notice that the wetland has been facing a threat, despite a Lantau development committee being set up to promote ecological conservation, Ho said. She fears there could be an ecological disaster sooner or later.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said its on-site inspection staff has found some cases of waste-dumping and that it is investigating if such acts violate the Waste Disposal Ordinance.
An EPD spokesman said anyone who plans to put construction waste covering more than 20 square meters in private properties is required to notify the department beforehand. Those violating the rules could face a fine of HK$200,000(US$25,806) and six months in prison.
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