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Greens Press Legco For Action

Cheung Chi-fai – Tuesday October 5 2004 – SCMP

Nine environmental groups issued a joint declaration yesterday, urging the new legislature to promote green policies they believe Hong Kong desperately needs. Citing recent issues including harbour reclamation, the Hei Ling Chau super jail and the dispute over a plan by Hopewell Holdings to build a ‘mega tower’ in Wan Chai, they drew up a wish list for the legislators, who will be sworn in tomorrow.

They are pressing for action in five areas – more support for renewable and clean forms of energy to cut down on emissions; a reduction in the amount of Hong Kong’s solid waste and an increase in recycling; a law to preserve the city’s natural heritage; and more support for the development of cleaner public transport.

The alliance comprises the environmental groups Clear the Air, Save the Shorelines, EarthCare, Green Students Council, Friends of the Earth, the Tai Po Environmental Association, Greenpeace, Able Charity and the Conservancy Association.

The alliance is also demanding that the legislature upholds the rule of law in dealing with environmental offenders. ‘Increasing reports show that talented people who are needed for Hong Kong’s competitiveness are moving elsewhere – mainly because of the environment and the threat it poses to their families,’ the alliance said in a statement. ‘As Hong Kong loses its attractiveness as a place to work and live, so too will Hong Kong lose its value, both in property prices as well as breadth of talent.’

The groups want the government to speed up the way it handles environmental matters and further improve its transparency in policy formulation. They also warned against attempts to sell off natural assets to balance the budget. The chairman of Clear the Air, Christian Masset, said they would seek a meeting with legislators to discuss their demands. He said the alliance would monitor and gauge the performance of individual lawmakers and issue a report in six months.

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