Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 8, Mai Po and Tai Sang Wai – Forty years champion for the environment

Mai Po and Tai Sang Wai

The Mai Po marshes lie in the path of migratory birds and attract a large number and variety every year, especially from March to May. Some 230 of the 360 species of birds found in Hong Kong can be spotted in Mai Po, including 109 rare species.

After CA was formed, one of its first acts was to call on the government to protect the Mai Po marshes by designating it a nature reserve. The campaign started as early as 1971 and gradually bore fruit: in 1973 hunting was forbidden, and in 1975 Mai Po was made a regulated area requiring access license from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department.

The campaign met with a major setback in 1974 when a developer, the Canadian Overseas Development Co Ltd., proposed to build 5,000 houses for 30,000 people in the nearby Tai Sang Wai fishponds. With its emerging network of youth members and school supporters (the Youth Environment Action Group and the secondary school Conservancy Clubs), CA organised 20,000 students, teachers and young people in 1974-75 to campaign against the destruction of fish ponds in Tai Sang Wai. Despite the strenuous campaign, the fishponds became what is Fairview Park today.

CA repeated its call for Mai Po to be made a nature reserve in 1975, with conservation and education as the main elements. But development pressure never let up on the Mai Po marshes and nearby areas. Fortunately, in 1978 the Government agreed to designate the Mai Po area, including mangrove, fish ponds and “kei-wai’s” as a nature reserve. In 1983 the area was given over to the then newly formed World Wildlife Fund (established by Sir Kenneth Fung Ping Fan in 1981, now renamed Worldwide Fund for Nature) to manage as a wetland reserve.

In 1995, in a submission to Governor Chris Patten on his Policy Address, CA proposed to designate Mai Po as a Ramsar site to give it international recognition and protection. Soon it received a reply from the Government acceding to the request. The designation of Mai Po later in that year was welcomed by all green groups.

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April 14, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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