EPD again unwilling to act as another wetland site is landfilled

A Shui Hau site appears to have become the latest slice of South Lantau wetland to have been illegally landfilled.

Save Lantau Alliance convenor Eddie Tse discovered the landfilled site, about two-thirds between the village and the shore, a week ago.

The Coastal Protection Area (CPA) site is not approved for any development and has received no ‘acknowledgement’ for landfilling from the EPD.

In reply to inquiries, the Planning Department said that the TPB had not received any planning application for the site.

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said that it received two complaints over landfilling there earlier this month, Commercial Radio reported.

Landfill work last week (Credit: Save Lantau Alliance)

EPD officials have reportedly inspected the location and told Commercial Radio that if there is evidence of a breach of the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO), “the department will certainly take enforcement action.

It has used the same language in the most recent Pui O case, which likewise appears to be a blatant breach of the WDO, a law that allows for waste dumping only with EPD approval.

Despite strong evidence, including video footage of dumping taking place prior to EPD ‘acknowledgement,’ the department has taken no action.

Its passivity flies in the face of the government’s own policies and aspirations. The Sustainable Lantau Blueprint has identified north Lantau as a focus of development and South Lantau for conservation.

Release of the latest South Lantau Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) last week also highlights the government’s inability to conform with its own policies.

The plan has allocated 162 ha in South Lantau for CPA land, which it says it is intended to

“conserve, protect and retain the natural coastlines and the sensitive coastal natural environment, with a minimum of built development. It is also intended to safeguard the beaches and their immediate hinterland, and to prevent haphazard ribbon development along the South Lantau Coast. A long strip of land between the coastline and South Lantau Road stretching from Pui O to Shui Hau and the sandy shore of the gazetted bathing beaches at Pui O, Cheung Sha and Tong Fuk are zoned CPA.”

Despite the name, the CPA carries no enforcement mechanism.

In this latest case the government has shown once again it is unwilling to use the enforcement tools that it has to hand.

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