Plans for a third runway for Hong Kong International Airport are proving controversial. Environmental harm is certain, so too massive expenditure. Benefits are by no means so certain, particularly as there appear to be constraints on air traffic growth, including crowded airspace over the Pearl River Delta, and limits to overall growth of global air traffic that may arise as oil extraction proves tougher and prices rise (with Peak Oil here or soon).
From a joint statement by green groups including 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:
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.....
Green Groups Joint Statement
Urging Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) to acknowledge the environmental impact of the third runway project
WWF Hong Kong has concerns focusing on impacts on the Chinese white dolphin, fisheries, and carbon emissions: