VICTORIA Harbour's water will remain a treated sewage discharge dump
until 2004, raising environmentalists' fears it might be ruined beyond
The waste will be treated at Stonecutter's Island by 1997 under Stage
I one of the government's sewage disposal program but the effluent
will still be dumped into the "fragrant harbour", which is "Hong
Kong" in Cantonese.
The oceanic outfall designed to dump treated effluent into the sea
cannot be built until nine years from now.
"There is a limit to how long we can continue discharging even
treated sewage into the harbour," said Lisa Hopkinson, spokeswoman
for Friends of the Earth.
"The water in the vicinity of that outfall is going to deteriorate.
There is going to be a problem with nutrients and bacteria."
Environmentalists want Stage II of the Government's Strategic Sewage
Disposal Program finished quickly.
"The sooner we can progress with Stage II, the better," Ms Hopkinson
"What are they going to do between the time that Stonecutter's Island
comes on stream and the oceanic outfall is ready to prevent the
destruction of Victoria Harbour?" John Hodgkiss, of Hong Kong
University's ecology department, said.
Environmentalists received with a mixture of joy and frustration the
news of a breakthrough in the Sino-British talks over the Strategic
Sewage Disposal Scheme.
The Chinese side in the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) has given its
blessings to the Sewage Disposal Scheme.
In the meantime, principal Environmental Protection officer Vic
McNally said a temporary outfall was being built and would be ready by
1997. It is located at the western harbour.
"It is a first step down the road of completely cleaning up the
harbour," Mr McNally said. "If we wait for seven years (from 1997
for the construction of the oceanic outfall) the harbour would be
Mr McNally said Stage I of the project "would give us the breathing
space to (get) us over the crisis, and buys us time to build the