All aboard for the Disney pier eco-tour!

Here's a letter I sent the South China Morning Post (appeared on 29 June): I notice ("Ecological tours plan for park pier", SCMP 11 June 2007) that tourism commissioner Au King-chi has suggested the ferry pier at Hong Kong DIsneyland could be used for ecological tours. I'd like to suggest for Ms Au an itinerary, which could give visitors a fascinating - if rather horrifying - introduction to our local ecosystems. First, the tour could pop over to nearby Ping Chau, where silt from the Disney reclamation work harmed the best hard coral site in western Hong Kong. Then, heading south, the guide could explain how we're in the mouth of the Pearl River - one of the world's filthiest large river mouths; Hong Kong adds its share of pollution, which was surely responsible for recent widespread red tides. Swinging west, the tour can call in at one of our loveliest groups of islands, the Sokos. Here, the tourists can learn how an LNG terminal is to be sited on the largest island, following quick but minimal public debate, and how this will harm the landscape and will pump chilled, chlorinated water into the sea, annually killing eggs and larvae equivalent of hundreds of thousands of adult fish. Onwards, for more ecological "fun"! The tour group can glimpse Tai O, with its damaged coastal wetlands, then cruise by some of Hong Kong's finest coastal scenery. Scenery that won't be pristine for long, if our concrete-loving government and businesses succeed with plans to build a new container terminal, a vast bridge and other structures - which will increase shipping and traffic that in turn will add to already severe air pollution. Passing along north Lantau, our tourists may see Chinese white dolphins, billed as the world's pinkest dolphins. Maybe the dolphins will be gambolling cheerfully; maybe they'll be dodging the growing numbers of high speed ferries that threaten to splatter them into smithereens. Then, back to Disney, built on a reclamation that helped shrink the dolphins' dwindling habitat. Of course, Miss Au wouldn't have such a tour in mind - but will have fluffy-minded notions of an outing to explore our rich coastal biodiversity. Such an outing is still just possible; but only if Hongkongers including Miss Au and others in the Tourism Commission really appreciate and stand up for our remaining "wild" areas.

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/07/01 11:28
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Martin, it was printed. I saw it in Friday's edition.

Thanks Tom; I did see the letter - shortly after making the above post - had waited till SCMP maybe published, then gave up. Meant to edit the post; will do so now.

I also circulated to group on sustainable tourism, inc rep of Tourism Commission (seems they have someone in the group chiefly as an observer rather than with intent to really learn/contribute - after a few years, doesn't seem being in the group has made an iota of difference to the TC, with mindset still concrete is good, and never mind grassroots that I"d think should be crucial for real sustainable tourism).
Interesting to see if any response from TC.

Martin