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Green Groups Joint Statement Urging Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) to acknowledge the environmental impact of the third runway project,%207,%2028,%20152,%204590,%204754

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) recently announced the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 (Master Plan 2030), where two options were proposed. Option 1 is to maintain the existing two-runway system, and Option 2 is to expand into a three-runway system. Green Groups including the Conservancy Association, Green Peace, Green Sense, Friends of the Earth (HK), Clean Air Network, Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society (HKDCS) and Greeners Action have jointly declared:

We are disappointed with AAHK’s lack of neutrality during its public consultation. A large amount of resources were used to promote the need for the third runway. We find it unacceptable that the AAHK deliberately trivializes the impact of the third runway on Chinese White Dolphins by altering the distribution map of Chinese White Dolphins published by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department without authorization.

A large part of the Hong Kong ocean would be permanently gone if the proposal were carried out, since the three-runway system would require about 650 hectares of land reclamation. Dolphin expert, Dr. Samuel Hung, pointed out that the proposed third runway is located at the intersection of three core areas visited by dolphins which is very important to them. The proposed adoption of environmentally-friendly reclamation methods is not going to help much when such great damage is done to the marine ecology.

The aviation industry is a polluting industry which emits large amounts of carbon dioxide and air pollutants as part of its operation. The industry accounts for around 4% of Hong Kong’s total carbon emissions. For carbon dioxide that is emitted at high altitudes, the resultant greenhouse effect caused is much greater than that emitted at ground level. However, AAHK spared no paragraphs on explaining the projected increase in carbon emissions in the consultation documents.

Polluting facilities like power plants already exist in North Lantau and Tuen Mun. More projects are being planned in the area as well, such as the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, waste incinerators, Tung Chung Extension Reclamation, Hong Kong-Shenzhen Airport Railway etc. We believe that these infrastructure projects are over-concentrated, and the total reclamation will take up an extremely large footprint and will seriously worsen air pollution.

We stress that building the third runway requires much more discussion and research as it not only involves environmental issues but also issues on airspace constraints, noise pollution, construction cost, demand forecast, cooperation with Pearl River Delta airports etc. To avoid wasting 136.3 billion of taxpayers’ money, the Government and AAHK should not make a hasty decision which may create a “Big white elephant”.

Green Groups call on the AAHK to:
(1) Stop trivializing the environmental impact of the third runway. Face and admit the enormous impact the third runway has on the environment
(2) Extend the public consultation period and present more relevant data on impacts on the environment, public health and ecology
(3) Maintain neutrality when promoting and consulting the public on the proposal. Avoid over-emphasizing the economic impact/benefits of the third runway
(4) Handle environmental issues properly even before the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA) process

To enhance public understanding on the environmental impact of the third runway, the following website has been set up to explain the stance and arguments of green groups.

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