As supporters of the environment, we strongly believe that a third runway expansion in the Hong Kong International Airport will cause a significant amount of damage to the environment in many ways. The building process of the third runway extension will involve a lot of land reclamation that causes a lot of noise and water pollution that will harm humans and animals’ ecosystems, especially the habitat of the Chinese Pink Dolphins. We understand that a third runway may provide Hong Kong with economic benefits, but the losses in our environment would total to a greater amount, which could possibly result to a greater concern in the long run.
First of all, we environmentalist would like to state that the airport covers 12.48km square, and the third runway will increase around 50% of the existing airport, reclaiming another 6.5 sq.km of the ocean. There are already two parallel (3,800m×60m)runways existing in the Hong Kong International Airport, and we believe a third runway is not necessary. According to world ranks, Hong Kong International Airport is the fourth busiest Air Hub worldwide, 750 airplanes landing and taking off each day, more than 48.6 million passengers each year and transports over 3.6 million tons every year already, expecting 420,000 flight movements, 74 million trips, and 6 million tonnes of cargo by the time of 2030, which means almost double the amount of its work now.
We believe that trying to transport even more cargo and people to earn more money -with the third runway, we would be increase the capacity and expectation by another third, transporting 8.9million tonnes of cargo, accommodating 97 million trips, and 602,000 flight movements per year-is a pure act of greed, and it would also strain us both environmentally and economically, wasting large amounts of money on an unnecessary third runway.
As mentioned above, the addition of a third runway would cause a lot of strains with the environment- the 6.5 sq.km third runway will indeed cause a lot water pollution, therefore it will endanger sea creatures and destroy the habitat of the Chinese Pink Dolphins. Not only would the landfill itself destroy the animal’s habitat- during the construction, lots of chemical waste will be generated such as cleaning fluids and fuel. This will also contribute to water pollution, which would be harmful in marine ecology, and would destroy habitats for sea grass beds.
Chemicals can easily kill sea creatures such as shrimps, fish, crabs, and Chinese Pink Dolphins. Once these chemical wastes are released out into the ocean, it can lead to extinction of sea creatures that live near the airport area. The construction of the original two runways for the airport in Lantau Island has already reclaimed a lot of land that shrunk the habitat of the Chinese Pink Dolphins. If the third runway will be built, we would have to reclaim 6.5 sq.km(650 hectares)from the ocean, which would shrink the habitat of the Chinese Pink Dolphins once more, and it will greatly endanger the dolphins. Many animals in the world are already endangered because of human activities such as reclamation of the sea, chopping of trees, and many more. We cannot risk losing another endangered species just because of building a third runway.
Also, the airport extension of the third runway will cause more noise pollution. According to scientific research, unwanted noise has bad effects on people’s health and behavior. The citizens that live in areas near the airport like in Tung Chung has a possibility of: annoyance, aggression, high stress levels, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and more. Noise pollution will also affect animals that have habitats near the airport. Research has proven that the rate of reproduction activity has decreased due to noise pollution. Birds cannot communicate, because the noise we made was masking their voice, which is the main reason why reproduction activity has decreased. Some birds, such as owls, have to change their ways of hunting because of the sound pollution, and this causes many birds to migrate to less noisy areas. Also, research has proven that some animal’s noises could not be heard over the noises of the aircrafts, and they cannot warn each other when danger is approaching.
Overall, the third airport extension should not be built. Even though it might give a boost in the Hong Kong’s economy, we cannot be selfish, and we have to care for the environment, the people, and the animals. The building process of the third runway extension will involve a lot of land reclamation that causes a lot of noise and water pollution, that will harm humans, and animals’ ecosystems, especially the habitat of the Chinese Pink Dolphins, and the two runways are already enough. So, we strongly believe that the third runway should not be built.
Courtney from Study Moose
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