Grannie Green Revivial

For post before Aug 09, please read it with Traditional Chi Big 5 Code

Chp 11, Lamma Oil Refinery – Forty years champion for the environment

Lamma Oil Refinery

In the early 1970s the Shell Company and another consortium formed by a local textile company and a Japanese chemical plant put forward a plan to build an oil refinery and petrochemical plant on Lamma Island, with an annual capacity of 10 million tons of oil. In response CA mounted a campaign to oppose it, sparking another round of “green versus development” debate. The movement was made more controversial in late 1973 against the backdrop of an energy crisis as a result of the oil embargo imposed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The refinery was supported by industrialists who favoured the economic benefits and stability of fuel supply from a local petrochemical industry. CA’s arguments against the refinery, as stated by Michael Webster in an article in February 1973, was threefold: that petroleum is an obsolescent energy producer, that the refinery carries huge threat of pollution, and that the Lamma Island countryside would be destroyed. Throughout 1973 CA continued to make statements both in its own SOS Environment and in the press denouncing the oil refinery proposal.

CA’s opposition was justified on 8 November 1973 by an oil spill occurring in Ap Lei Chau from a rupture in the oil storage tank of Shell Company, causing pollution and killing fish in Lamma’s Sok Ku Chau. A few school conservancy clubs including Wah Yan College Kowloon, Diocesan Girls’ School and Lutheran Middle School organized seminars to discuss the subject. CA followed up in 1974 with an essay competition on the theme of “energy crisis” to engage secondary students on the oil refinery and the wider issue of energy policy. One Christine Loh of Island School won the first prize with an essay entitled “my view of the energy crisis”. The development plan was not seriously followed through although the controversy continued for some time.

A few years later, in September 1977, public opinion swung conclusively CA’s way when a Danish vessel got stranded causing a massive oil spill oil near Sok Ku Bay, destroying nearby fish farms and causing loss of tens of million dollars of fishery. After conducting a site survey, YEAG issued a statement supporting stricter fines on oil spillage, and calling for more stringent regulation of marine traffic near fish farms. There was no more need to worry about an oil refinery.


April 17, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: