Thursday, July 10, 2014

Environmental Groups Say Hong Kong's New Airport Runway Threatens Dolphins

Chinese white dolphin

It has recently been reported that environmental groups have pointed out that Chinese white dolphins will encounter a new threat if the construction of the third runway of the Hong Kong International Airport gets authorized. Groups, including the World Wildlife Fund and the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, condemned the environmental impact assessment report on the runway asserting that the dolphins' numbers declined from 154 to 62 animals over the past ten years due to construction, land reclamation, and pollution. They further added that the L-shaped runway would take more water from sea animals than the disclosed land reclamation area of 672 hectares. The report stated that the runway is being constructed to increase the airport's passenger capacity to 102 million tons and cargo capacity to 8.9 million tons per year by 2030. However, the report admitted that there would be an "insignificant to medium-level impact" on sea animals and assured to forbid underwater blasting which would cause tremendous damage. There is even a plan of developing a 2,400-hectare sea park to bring dolphins back. Lam Chiu Ying, a professor from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, indicated that squeezed water space, noise, and probable incidents would greatly affect the dolphins and other sea animals. He further added that it is unknown whether the sea park would bring dolphins back, and suggested to increase the efficiency of two current runways instead.
Updated layout plan of Hong Kong International Airport's third runway.

This article indicates how a species under threat would face any possible dangers posed by a construction or any other man-made project, even though that project promises no harm to that species. The Chinese white dolphins are in that situation in which their numbers in Hong Kong's waters would further diminish to the point of extinction with this construction of Hong Kong International Airport's third runway underway. Even though the environmental impact assessment report of this construction project assured that the dolphins would not be harmed and that they would be brought back with the development of a sea park, it received criticism from environmental groups who cited that this new runway would take more water area than the given area of 672 acres. I think it is necessary that the people behind the development of this new runway should consider what the World Wildlife Fund, the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, and other environmental groups pointed out regarding the impact of the runway on the dolphins and Hong Kong's marine ecosystems. This would help them in their decision of whether to construct the third runway or not. The Chinese white dolphin numbers have reduced significantly to 62 animals over the past decade as a result of numerous man-made threats, and should be provided full protection under any means necessary.

View article here

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