Green groups protest against man-made beach

ON the 8th of October the Hong Kong Standard carried this article on a protest by green groups against the construction of an artificial beach at Lung Mei, Tai Po. The proposed HK$130 million “bathing beach” aims to satisfy demand for swimming facilities from nearby Tai Po.

The plans involves:

(a) a 200m long beach with a groin at each end of the beach;
(b) a beach building includes :
(i) public changing rooms and toilets;
(ii) shower rooms;
(iii) equipment/machinery stores for catamarans, motorized boats, beach
transporters, beach cleansing and sand levelling machines, etc;
(iv) dangerous goods stores; and
(v) ancillary facilities including management office, lookout/surveillance
post, first aid room, staff changing room/toilet, staff room/pantry, store
rooms, etc.
(c) retaining structures;
(d) refuse collection point;
(e) outdoor shower facilities;
(f) lookout towers;
(g) shark prevention net;
(h) a fee-paying public car park for about 100 private cars, 10 motorcycles
and 10 coaches;
(i) landscaped areas;
(j) drainage diversion of an existing box culvert and Lo Tsz River; and
(k) sewerage construction works.

(Download the 2005 Project Profile)

Artificial beaches classify as one of the stupidest uses of money and time ever dreamt up:

  1. The government amusingly calls this project “construction of a bathing beach”. It might look like a beach from a far, but as soon as you enter the water (to bathe) you will know what was there before. Anyone who has ever been swimming at the Tai Pak beach in Discovery Bay (artificial) will know this. Once in the water you will sink ankle-deep in smelly, fine mud! Equally it will not be a fine beach at Lung Mei once you are in the water…
  2. The dumping of sand will obliterate the existing flora and fauna which as green groups have already pointed out includes rare butterflies.
  3. Where will the sand come from?500,000 m3 will be dredged up about 200 from the Conservation Area at Tai Mei Tuk causing silting of the water which also damages that local environment. In addition the LoTsz River will be diverted and not 500 m away from the proposed diversion lies Hong Kong’s 4th largest mangrove area which is also designated as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).
  4. Beaches occur where the currents and waves are strong enough so that only large grained sediment will be deposited. Small grained mud and silt gets carried off to somewhere quieter leaving the bigger sand grains behind. Dumping sand to create an artificial beach is not going to change the fact that it is not a tropical beach environment. Many artificial beaches turn out to be disappointing or even unpleasant for beach goers: sand flies, mosquitos , smelly mud in the water with unpleasant rotten-egg smell etc. or razor sharp rocks or shingle – all consequences of trying to force a tropical beach look onto  a different  environment e.g. a mangrove area,  mud flat, tidal beach etc.
  5. Who will pay for this nonsense? And why can this money not be spent on cleaning up Hong Kong’s toxic air?

Once again, Hong Kongers can only shake their heads at the incompetence of their government which spends HK$130 million to damage the environment beyond repair because its cheaper than building a swimming pool….

The Conservancy Association also has a good article on the issue here.

HKWildlife.net (Blog) has some more info in Chinese

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