News and views re wild Hong Kong

Rural Visitor Numbers Surging

Some places in the countryside can be crowded nowadays, perhaps with queues waiting to start on trails.

Mad Lantau Metropolis Plans Should be Scuppered by Storm Surge Threat

A consideration of science suggests the reclamation plans, including for East Lantau Metropolis are foolhardy, even irresponsible.

Shek Kwu Chau Incinerator Dodgy Dealings and Outrageous Claims

Government Policy Not Followed; Waste Not Reduced - as Incineration Made Priority

Hong Kong Marine Refuse is Throwaway Society Issue

Powerpoint presentation I gave at Inter-departmental Working Group on Clean Shorelines - Engagement Session with Community Groups meeting.

Baby birds suffer from Hong Kong police procedure

HK police procedure can't cope properly with baby birds from fallen nest.

Red Tides n Sea Sparkle n the Mad Megalopolis

The end of November 2014 saw areas of inshore waters across Hong Kong and east Shenzhen turn improbably colourful thanks to extensive red tides. Night-time scenes were even more arresting, as seawater stirred by ferries or thrown stones flashed blue-green with luminescence. The main phytoplankton in the blooms even turned out to be a bizarre microorganism.

Bad Science and Hong Kong’ Rubbish Strategy

There has been considerable brouhaha over Hong Kong’s waste strategy, especially plans to expand three landfills plus build an incinerator on an artificial island by Shek Kwu Chau

Cape Town could teach Hong Kong about tourism

I’m fascinated to look around Cape Town, partly as I’ve found it mentioned in a report on cities and biodiversity, according to which ecotourism is among the significant benefits Cape Town derives from the natural environment.

Science n Hong Kong country parks n the three not so wise men

It now seems the country parks are under threat, through a potential surge in village housing in enclaves surrounded by country parks, and recent statements suggesting the government views protected land as ripe for development. Yet science shows they are invaluable.

Protecting biodiversity should involve all Hong Kong people

Isn’t it okay to leave biodiversity to besuited conference attendees, and greenies who are overly fond of frogs?

Mai Po Marshes – 30 Years of the Magnificent Yet Threatened Wetland

Mai Po Marshes has become one of the world’s greatest wetland reserves – and a place I’ve come to know well over the years.

Native flora could make West Kowloon cultural park a showcase for biodiversity

There's a tremendous opportunity to showcase Hong Kong biodiversity in West Kowloon cultural park.

Plan B for Hong Kong waste - Chinese version


Hong Kong Plan B waste strategy adopts zero waste and plasma arc to avoid dump and burn

Hong Kong government aims to dump and burn waste, and has no Plan B. Instead, it should develop a strategy that will energise Hong Kong by targeting zero waste to landfills and incinerators.

Biodiversity and Hong Kong city parks

I was recently among a small group of people from Living Cheung Chau and the Association for a Beautiful Hong Kong who visited an urban park in north Cheung Chau together with a team fr

Here's to the crazy ones - striving for a better world

what does it mean to be a crazy environmentalist? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but can tell of some of the things I’ve done in the past month

Why is Environmental Protection Department like an incinerator salesman?

The Environmental Protection Department is extremely biased in favour of the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator, and seems unable to admit drawbacks with incinerators or really consider alternatives.

A Brief History of Hong Kong Sustainability Innovation

I recently received an email asking about the track record of innovation in sustainability in Hong Kong. “Sorry, can't be too helpful here I think,” I replied.

Hong Kong style ecotourism weird n rather sad

Tung Ping Chau is one of my favourite places in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Mysterious Migratory Butterflies

On 31 December last year, researchers trapping butterflies at Deep Water Bay on Hong Kong Island found a Chestnut Tiger with writing on its wings.

Fear of Nature and Why It Matters

Fear of nature has become too common nowadays, and to some city people the natural world is an alien, even scary place.

Save Lung Mei Save Ourselves

With unglamorous Lung Mei on shore of Tolo Harbour such a centre of attention, it is worth considering just what “nature conservation” means.

We Need Nature for Our Physical and Mental Well-being

Nature is not simply about protecting plants and animals – it’s also good for the soul, and vital for our society’s long-term well-being.

You too can be a citizen scientist!

Widespread empathy for science is crucial for achieving sustainability.

Hong Kong Countryside Needs You!

Grassroots support for conservation is building, and surely now ahead of the government, and especially developers who too often seem out of touch with our changing society

Hong Kong should treasure Tung Chung Bay

Tung Chung Bay, north Lantau, is in an area that has featured in China’s history, and is rich in biodiversity - yet will be devastated by expansion of Tung Chung town. 香港應珍惜東涌灣 [see below]

Plasma arc waste incineration viable for Hong Kong

'Science fiction' waste solution a real option  Plasma arc incineration is a forward-looking and realistic alternative to landfills, and won't generate the toxic emissions associated with burning waste

Hong Kong weather outlook warmer wetter wilder

With global warming only just getting started, according to scientists, it's time for Hong Kong to move beyond talk and switching off lights for an hour one day a year

Goodbye Donald Tsang

Hong Kong's former Chief Executive Donald Tsang professed interest in nature, yet was anti-environment in practice.

Proposal for Specialised Tour Guide Licence in Hong Kong

Here's something I wrote recently, at request of Coalition for Sustainable Tourism. Came after some years railing against batty local regulations, that mean officially can't accept freelance tour guides in Hong Kong.

Sparrows the scapegoats for H5N1 in chicken farm

Why is it microbiologists seem so ignorant of evolution and so forth? Too many seem to treat viruses as chemicals, not lifeforms subject to evolution.

Hong Kong Earth Champions Community Day

Earth Champions are people who have been nominated by their local community for making a positive difference to their environment.

Hong Kong's Dangerous Air

The Hong Kong Government seems to be downplaying or misinformed about the health impacts of our air pollution, Chief Executive Donald Tsang has even said: “It is a question of visibility.”

WWF Hong Kong Save Our Seas video and petition

WWF Hong Kong has launched a Save Our Seas campaign, aimed at combatting over-fishing. Just produced a short video, filmed by Hong Kong Outdoors contributor Charles Frew.

HKU Climate Workshop

Back from Day 2 (of 2) of the workshop at the University of Hong Kong - and, for me, a marked improvement on yesterday afternoon, when I thought we mostly got lost in the models.

Some good info today; inc on actual impacts - such as on ecosystems; also guff from the past, and info on changing climate in Hong Kong.

Discover HK Nature booklet

At the end of 2006, the Hong Kong Tourism Board published a booklet I helped with (writing, and contributed some photos). Discover Hong Kong Nature: 84 pages, covering range of places including the Peak, Mai Po Marshes, Tai Long Wan (Sai Kung), Cheung Chau, Peng Chau and Tai O.

Rural hostels

Visitor accommodation in village houses just might prove a viable alternative to having some of our finest areas threatened by schemes that may reap financial rewards for some people, but leave Hong Kong’s wildlife and scenery the poorer.


Every year, Hong Kong’s hillsides are afflicted by fires, especially in late autumn and winter.

Beautiful Lantau n concrete

Two maps highlighting the beauty of Lantau Island, and potential projects - along with links to more info, including on great places to visit.

HKZM bridge pollution

Perhaps bridge proponents could explain just why Hong Kong should contribute to the project, and so help push our air pollution from very bad to even worse.

Legco Lantau

Introduction to written submission regarding the Hong Kong government's Concept Plan for Lantau.

No Flu at Mai Po

Despite all the brouhaha, there is no H5N1 at Mai Po.

Meeting Selina Chow

Meeting re Lantau with Selina Chow - then Legislative Councillor for New Territories West (inc Lantau), Executive Councillor, Chairman of Hong Kong Tourism Board etc etc.

Great White Shark Culling?

Perhaps one other alternative we haven't considered is actually banning marine users from the favoured feeding areas of Great White Sharks. 

Lantau Sustainable Development Plan

An alternative to the Concept Plan for Lantau - with proposed projects that may actually be sustainable.

Donald Tsang development

Why does "sustainable development" now seem a readily bandied about, abused term - deployed for developments that have little regard for our environment, or for people today, or for future generations?

HK Rural Tourism

I've long felt that at least a handful of Hong Kong's better villages should be preserved; tourism seems a possible way of supporting this.

Lantau Joint Statement

19 groups including Hong Kong Outdoors showed "a rare show of unity", to produce a Joint Statement on Sustainable Development for Lantau.

Hong Kong fish sos

WWF Hong Kong is taking full page advertisements in Hong Kong’s newspapers, asking the Government and the AFCD to explain why they have failed to provide responsible stewardship of Hong Kong’s fish resources.

Lantau email

I believe Lantau should be protected as a green jewel in the Pearl River Delta; this will be in tandem with promises made by the Hong Kong government since the 1970s.

Non native trees Lantau

Another Bomb shell to hit Lanatu Island is the planting of 2 million  non native trees around Pennys Bay and Silver Mine bay by the Civil Engineeering Development Department CEDD and 100,000 Wedelia trilobata ground cover which is already invasive in the Pacific Islands.


Here is the plan for ark-eden, an immensely different development scenario for Lantau Island to that envisaged in the Concept Plan for Lantau; the originators are Neil McLaughlin, Paul Melsom, and Jenny Quinton. Instead of lots of concrete, there's an emphasis on the ecology and environment.

Lantau plan not balanced

Comments on the Concept Plan for Lantau (or "Concrete Plan for Lantau"?), submitted to the Lantau Development Task Force.

HK fish need help

The following is an email from Dr. Andy Cornish, which shows how you can support planned measures that could greatly help Hong Kong's severely depleted fish stocks.

Lantau threats

the government is planning a slew of new projects that will transform Lantau for ever.

Concrete Plan for Lantau

The Concept Plan for Lantau has an extensive list of proposed projects that would transform Lantau.

HK Deep Bay threats

Last decade, the future looked bright for the Deep Bay wetland, in northwest Hong Kong.

The British and Chinese governments agreed to list it under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance – showing they recognised it should be protected by “wise use”.

A slew of globally rare birds occurred each year, and numbers of waterbirds increased to a peak of around 70,000 in winter 1995/1996; great flocks of gulls, ducks and shorebirds treated visitors to what one birdwatcher called, “One of the greatest bird spectacles in Asia.” The Hong Kong Government helped expand the land managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature in the bay’s key reserve, Mai Po Marshes.

But now, many local conservationists are afraid Deep Bay – which is really a shallow estuary – is in steep, perhaps terminal decline.

Lantau Concept Plan meeting

My overriding impression is: THERE IS NO PLAN! Instead, a mishmash of various projects that are broadly based on the strategy to have development on north Lantau.

Sham Chung qns for SHK

So far, Sun Hung Kai seems to have a really poor record of activities at Sham Chung. [No answers forthcoming to these questions.]

HK Love It Trash It

Right, let’s pretend I’m Steve Ballmer, barmy sales chief of Microsoft (Steve Who? ... Steve Batty Ballmer goes iPod). Excuse me while I leap and dance around and whoop and scream for a few minutes.

Sham Chung Shenanigans

With its traditional hamlets, old woods, setting in a basin ringed by hills within Sai Kung Country Park, Sham Chung should be one of the jewels in the crown of wild Hong Kong. Instead, it has suffered environmental vandalism.

Hong Kong Air Pollution

It's not new in Hong Kong that vehicles emit particulates, factories and power stations pump out noxious fumes. So what happens? Not much really; plenty of hand-wringing, sorry comments from officials that there isn't much we can do.

Zhuhai to Hong Kong bridge

For the planned Zhuhai bridge, the governments involved should evaluate the environmental sustainability of accelerating development of the western Pearl River Delta (PRD) and only allow the bridge to go ahead when we have identified air pollution offsets elsewhere.

HK diving incidents

On behalf of the diving community I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Miss. Tong, who tragically died in a diving related accident over the weekend. This is now the 4th fatality in nearly 10 years.

Hei Ling Chau super jail bad idea

A super-prison in Hei Ling Chau is a bad idea because it makes no sense in land use planning. [Idea indeed shelved.]

Hong Kong Sharks

Hong Kong once had a shark fishery indicating at least they were at one stage abundant, and why perhaps they are now locally extinct.

Sham Chung letter

No, a golf course should not be developed in Sham Chung.

Pedro Blanco over fishing

Pedro Blanco finds itself at the centre of some of the most intense and destructive fishing pressure within the South China Sea.

Super-prison threatens Hei Ling Chau

Plans for the Hei Ling Chau superprison [by east Lantau] have been scrapped!

Hong Kong Eco-tourism Stifled

The conditions for developing eco-tourism in Hong Kong are poor: clumsy regulations, unimaginative Hong Kong image promotions and the obsession with mainland Chinese shoppers are key reasons I believe

HK Concrete n Conservation

The Kings of Concrete and wannabe kings are queuing up with plans to build on or over some lovely places; and the government seems split between conservation, and dreaming up Big Silly Projects.

Community based tourism HK

Community Based Tourism is broadly described as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.”

Hong Kong Style Eco-tourism

In time, perhaps, people in Hong kong will learn what true eco-tourism involves, and will expect and demand more from their tours.

Hong Kong 2030

The Hong Kong Government is undertaking a planning process centering on what the territory should be like in 2030. I've sent the following comments on a Consultation Booklet. You can find this and other information on the Hong Kong 2030 website, which includes a discussion forum.

[By mid-December 2004, the website also included summaries of comments on the plan.]

HK Tourism Forum 2004Just back from the 3rd Hong Kong Tourism Symposium: Quality and Diversity,including a session focusing on services; another on tourism from mainland China, and one that (supposedly!) focused on diversity - including niche products and new attractions. After earning of this at the last minute, I went along, missing the intro speeches and joining the diversity session, along with a few others who are working on nature/cultural tourism in Hong Kong.