Eureka! or doh! Man-made islands proposed for Hong Kong

Eureka! or doh! Man-made islands proposed for Hong Kong

Artificial islands are the government's latest lightbulb moment for meeting Hong Kong's land needs
Hong Kong artificial island
Playing with Mother Nature: expanding Hong Kong by taking over the sea.

It is probably the most desperate proposal yet. The Hong Kong government has listed 25 sites for reclamation, including building artificial islands à la Dubai, to ease land shortage.

Sites range from 10 hectares in size to a mega artificial island larger than the area reclaimed for Hong Kong International Airport.

The list will be whittled down to 10 by mid-year for feasibility studies and further consultation.

Civil Engineering Office head Edwin Tong Ka-hung forecasts the Hong Kong population will reach 8.9 million by 2039. This would require an additional 4,500 hectares of land to meet development needs. 

Although most of the land needs can be met by making space from extant land, 1,500 hectares still need to be created.

Of the proposed sites, five offshore reclamation sites include man-made islands near to Cheung Chau, Lamma and Hei Ling Chau islands as well as part of the sea between Po Toi Island and Beaufort Island to the south. 

Seven other sites affect natural shorelines and 13 affect already modified shorelines. See an enlarged map of the proposed sites here.

Hong Kong artificial islandsProposed reclamation sites include key habitats for the finless porpoise.

Solution confusion

Artificial islands are hardly an ideal solution to Hong Kong's land shortage as the problem of how people can be transported to and from the islands is not directly addressed.

Green groups also express concern over the heavy environmental impact of reclaiming land up to 14.5 meters deep into the ocean. 

Samantha Lee, a senior conservation officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature, says: “The impact brought by reclamation projects is irreversible and particularly damaging, and it should be avoided in and around areas of high ecological and fisheries importance.”

Hei Ling Chau is the location of the Hong Kong endemic Bogadek's burrowing lizard and the waters around Beaufort Island support more than 30 species of soft corals, gorgonians and black corals.

The public consultation period lasts until February 29. Visit www.landsupply.hk for details.

Does Hong Kong really have to reclaim more land to meet development needs of a growing population? Let us know your ideal solution in the comments box below.

After traveling around the world on a fistful of dollars, Zoe returns to Hong Kong, where she grew up, to discover and write about all the inspiring stuff that happens here on a daily basis.

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