Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Chinese White Dolphins Tale – Part 2

Will these dolphins ever be this happy again?
Image from scmp

What happened next is of anyone’s guess.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge construction began in Hong Kong in December 2011 as all environmental impact assessments failed to stop it. Government claims that the impact on the Chinese White Dolphins will be kept at minimal level.

The ‘possibility’ of economic benefits always ranks much higher than lives of dolphins, as a result, the total number of dolphins plunged from 158 in 2003 to just 62 dolphins in 2013. The dolphins complained, they even demonstrated year after year, some even offered their lives to get attentions, but the government wouldn’t listen. Every day, they tolerated, quietly they allowed their livable areas shrink.

The government said they are “are studying the designation of the Brothers Islands as a marine park in accordance with the statutory process stipulated in the Marine Parks Ordinance to compensate the permanent loss of the dolphin’s habitat arising from the reclamation”, but this isn’t a promise and so the study goes on forever.

And then came another project – a third airport runway construction which requires reclamation of 650 hectares of the sea and expects an additional 981 hectares of heavy impact zone. In a sense, it means taking over the dolphins’ entire habitat! In return, the authority involved “has so far agreed to set up a 2,400 hectare marine park to compensate for the habitat loss, but will build the park only after the runway is completed in 2023.”

The dolphins of Hong Kong aren’t stupid. They won’t “Take It First” and accept a fake compensation of the homeland-we-want –not, so they decided to fight the power in their own peaceful way, calling their movement Occupy Sha Chau. The main idea is to use their own body and flesh to block marine traffic from using major routes such as Urmston Road, Adamsta Channel and West Lamma Channel in exchange for more bargaining power and an opportunity to negotiate with the government. To protect themselves from any forceful clearance, the dolphins covered themselves with layers of rubber-like dead skin cells and some plastic bags they conveniently picked up from the abundant marine garbage.

But what did the Hong Kong government do? They responded with more vessels, sprayed them with thick, stinging diesel and injured them with vessel propellers. It was brutal. To make this even more outrageous, the environmental impact assessment report received the endorsement by the Advisory Council on the Environment, which means only the acceptance from the director of environmental protection is needed for the project to get a green light. There was also no apology from the government, who claimed that it is simply futile because the dolphins speak a different language which they cannot comprehend.
And all these, triggered something that no one would ever expect…

Part 2 Ends
(To be continued)

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society


“30 Third Runway Victims” Campaign @Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society

HongKong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) : Q&A

Hong Kong must act to save pink dolphins, conservationists say @South China Morning Post

Highways Department Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Project Profile

LCQ1: Judicial review case regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment reports of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

LCQ20: Judgement of the environmental impact assessment reports of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project

China's white dolphins headed for extinction in Pearl River Delta? @ CNN.com

Impact on the Chinese white dolphin @WWF Hong Kong

Third runway decision on hold over dolphin habitat concerns @South China Morning Post

Plea to reject airport runway impact study @South China Morning Post