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April 19th, 2015:

Shenzhen reservoir and river hit by sewage spill

Water bureau blames ink company for the pollution, according to newspaper report

Sewage has been discharged into a reservoir, river and farmland in Shenzhen turning fields in the area a reddish brown.

The water bureau in the Baoan district of the city said an ink mixing and cartridge company was responsible, the Shenzhen Jing Bao newspaper reported.

People living near the Tiegang Reservoir said that water feeding into their farmland had turned “blood red”.

“It’s very likely to be the result of an accident, like a spillage, or someone decided to dump the sewage instead of discarding it properly,” said Xiong Yang, an official at the Green River environmental NGO.

“If the sewage seeps into the soil it’s very difficult to clean up, so it’s safe to say that the vegetables are now inedible.”

The ink company Hamno Technology Co did not respond to calls asking for comment. The Baoan water bureau also did not answer calls. Xiong accused the city authorities of failing to regularly enforce environmental protection regulations.

A spokesman for the Water Supplies Department in Hong Kong said imported water from the Shenzhen Reservoir was far from the Tiegang Reservoir site.

No reports had been made to the department about the pollution at Tiegang, he said.

The department monitored water quality at a pumping station near Lo Wu around the clock and have observed no abnormalities, he added.

The Shenzhen authorities would report to them if there were any pollution issues concerning the Dong River, he said, which supplies Hong Kong.

An investigative report by the Shenzhen Evening News last year claimed that 173 out of the 310 rivers and streams running through the city were polluted.

A municipal environment commission also reported that water quality at 121 sampling stations, covering 85 per cent of the city, was “extremely poor”.

Additional reporting by Thomas Chan

Source URL (modified on Apr 19th 2015, 3:45am):

Why Hong Kong’s third runway is not needed

The building of the third runway is expected to be cause for public pride for Hong Kong and an engineering marvel. I want to add my voice of opposition to it.

Hong Kong enjoys an enviable geographic location and is an international business centre attracting

multinational corporations which utilise our aviation hub. It is, therefore, important for Hong Kong to maintain its hub status which helps drive our economic growth.

I do not doubt that the airport in its current form will eventually be overwhelmed by the steady growth in both passenger and cargo traffic. But it seems that the building of the third runway is a piecemeal strategy, building a new runway whenever capacity is reached.

Hong Kong International Airport has not fully utilised the two existing runways.

Instead, the airport management should better plan the efficient use of the runways. Take Heathrow as an example: it operates its two runways at 80 aircraft movements per hour. This should be evidence enough for the government to improve management of aircraft movements.

The central issue is airspace in the Pearl River delta.

There are five airports clustered around the delta, making the airspace in the region one of the most congested in the world, limiting routes for all air traffic. This arrangement places a finite limit on flight movements into or out of Chep Lap Kok, regardless of the number of runways.

It is not a small piece of land the authorities are reclaiming, and the location of the proposed third runway is in the heart of three Chinese white dolphin hotspots.

Reclamation will also cause a lot of solid and water pollution during construction.

Suspended solids and other pollutants released during the construction process will directly affect marine animals and those of us who eat fish.

Some claim to have solutions, such as using deep cement mixing and building dolphin parks but these will only add to costs I doubt revenue will cover.

Simply put, Hong Kong does not need a third runway. What Hong Kong needs is better management and utilisation of its existing two runways.

Nazreen Banu, Wong Tai Sin

Source URL (modified on Apr 19th 2015, 12:01am):

New UK system could squeeze more capacity out of Chek Lap Kok airport

Technology allowing jets to land closer could squeeze more capacity from Chek Lap Kok

Chek Lap Kok airport could use a new method to space out aircraft landings to cut delays and allow additional flight movements, said the UK-based consultant that carried out analysis of Hong Kong’s airspace and runway capacity in 2008.

National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which also provides air traffic control services to aircraft flying in British airspace, said the use of a system called Time Based Separation (TBS) at London’s Heathrow airport could cut arrival delays on windy days by half. It allows aircraft to be brought in closer together according to wind speeds rather than maintaining a constant distance.

This comes as controversy over the construction of a third runway at Chek Lap Kok airport grows, with critics arguing that the current two runways have not been fully utilised and amid fears an unwillingness by Shenzhen to give up its airspace would undermine the performance of the new HK$140 billion runway.

Strong headwinds cause delays and even flight cancellations because planes landing into the wind take longer to reach the runway even if they maintain a constant speed. The overall landing rate then drops.

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Andy Shand, NATS general manager in charge of customer affairs, told the South China Morning Post that TBS simply moved aircraft closer together to regain some lost landings. This can be achieved because the spirals of air generated by aircraft dissipate quicker in strong headwinds and therefore the distance between aircraft can be reduced.

“Heathrow is probably the most heavily scheduled two-runway airport in the world, so if you get any impact on the landing rate then there could be a knock-on in terms of delay and airborne holdings,” he said, adding strong headwinds were the single biggest cause of delays at Heathrow.

Like Hong Kong, Heathrow has only two runways and is approaching maximum capacity.

But to ease current congestion, Heathrow last month adopted TBS, which was developed by NATS and US aircraft maker Lockheed Martin. The airport had previously used distance-based separation.

TBS will be installed at 17 other major airports in Europe by 2024.

NATS is now analysing the results of the first few weeks of operation. Shand said they were looking positive, with significant gains in operational resilience.

While Shand noted TBS was not a replacement for a new runway, he said: “By increasing the consistency of service to a degree, you may be able to see one additional movement an hour or something that’s scheduled … You get the maximum out of your runway capacity.”

Asked if Hong Kong could use TBS, Shand said: “It’s the air traffic control authority and the airport’s decision whether they want to or are interested in implementing that sort of tool.”

At Chek Lap Kok, about 51,900 passenger flights were delayed by more than 15 minutes on arrival last year, representing 13 per cent of total movements. However, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said it did not have a breakdown of reasons for flight delays. It said they were mainly caused by bad weather and airlines’ operational reasons.

The department sidestepped questions about introducing TBS to Hong Kong.

“CAD will continue to monitor the air traffic growth situation and work closely with the Airport Authority Hong Kong as well as airlines to enhance the efficient use of the remaining runway capacity of the existing two-runway system,” a spokeswoman said.

But Shand said as airlines used bigger aircraft such as the Airbus A380, runway capacity effectively declined as a bigger gap was required to accommodate them. “By delivering this sort of resilience measure [TBS] and also additional capacity we effectively mitigate the impact of additional A380 movements,” he said.

“The airport capacity is going up in terms of passengers, but airport punctuality is being kept where it is.”

Source URL (modified on Apr 20th 2015, 9:12am):