Project Title: Beaufort Island Reclamation
Based on the assignment 1, Beaufort Island is among the 25 listed Hong Kong reclamation sites. It falls under the reclamation strategy to connect islands. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out over the Island region was to give out a report on the findings acquired over the period under observation. The assessment carried out on this Island determines ecological nature of the resources in the region.
The Beaufort Island is rich both ecologically and environmentally. This covers on both the marine and terrestrial life over the Island region. There is a need to monitor the impact that any resource acquisition mechanism will have on the region. This included looking into the water, air and noise pollution that will be introduced to the region with the development established.
Implementation of any new project on the Island is bound to pose an environmental hazard (World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, 2010). The degree may differ depending on the changes that the region has to undergo or from processes that will be conducted with new implementation. There is a need to formulate ways through which mitigation of the hazardous effects will be managed. The strategy should be in a position to factor in the reclamation plans designed for the region – which is greater than 300 ha.
Purpose and Nature of the Project
According to the Reclamation Plan, Beaufort Island needs to be bounded with Po Toi. The Project is labeled as a medium to the large-scale development. This project is necessary to provide transport link that will connect Beaufort Island to Hong Kong Island. It is an extensive project that will have to meet presence of the coral areas located around Po Toi Island and others around the Southern Part of the Beaufort Island. In addition to these, there are also finless porpoises visible in the area (3rd Tropical Discussion, 2012).
While planning for the project, there is a need to look into:
The impact that the project will have on the existing developments in place
Size and location that will be covered by the connection
The level of shoreline that will be affected
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Ecology of the region that will be affected
The transport infrastructure that will be in place
The cost of engineering to be put in place.
All these are factors affecting the islands facing reclamation plans. In-depth look at the aspects reveals the impact that the reclamation plans will have on the region and manner in which it will affect inhabitants of the region (3rd Tropical Discussion, 2012). The reclamation exercise is designed to touch on the land between Po Toi Island and Beaufort Island to the south region. With the growing population of the region and the need to increase the infrastructure set in place, this process is aimed at enhancing the ease of the movement to Hong Kong. There will be environmental impacts met with the planning as the Beaufort Island has plenty of marine life, especially with the soft corals in the region. Other species under threat are 30 coral species in the waters, porpoises, mangrove and spawning fish grounds, all of which will be put at risk with the reclamation project.
The mode of transport open to move between the two islands is through ferry. There is a need for installation of a better transport system that will lead to the opening up of both islands enhancing transport that will open up the areas more to the trade and other functions that will be supported by the region. Gaining access to Hong Kong will have been made easy and less time consuming. Conduction of the reclamation project is in line with commission put forth by the town development projects body, which is the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to explore the fill potential of the Island.
2. Outline of Planning and Implementation Program
The project needs to be implemented through the use of consultants who will be responsible for planning and engineering of the project. The team will be responsible for all the implementation stages and design. Construction of the project will see the use of various contractors put to work in different phases of the project.
After public engagement exercise carried out in the year 2011 in assessing and collecting view of the public, a report on reclamation on Beaufort Island was released in the year 2012. Reclamation on this island was among 25 reclamation projects that the government had in line to be conducted (Civil Engineering and Development Department, 2012).
Consultation was important before implementation of the project. Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited was put to task to study supply and land options in the region. A-World contractors were then appointed as the public engagement sub-contractor that is responsible for planning and implementation of activities. They would have to collect, compile and analyze information on the reports and give finalized reports (Civil Engineering and Development Department, 2012).
There has been the establishment of various IMO-Approved traffic separation schemes in the waters that are adjacent to Hong Kong. Vessels that need to enter Hong Kong have to use a specific vessel traffic service to enter the Victoria Harbour. One channel used for accessing Hong Kong is the Po Toi and South of Hong Kong as one enters the East Lamna channel. The Po Toi Island is barren and filled with rock-fringed locations. Reclaiming the land to make it a good transport channel to Hong Kong will ease the congestion as this area provides a good entry point to the city (National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, 2004).
Major dredging work is required for the region to manage reclaiming the land. Both West Po Toi and Beaufort Island were recorded as regions that were majorly affected by sand dredging after looking into the reports of pre-dredging, ongoing dredging, and post-dredging activities (Morton, 2003). The dredging exercise is planned to eventually aid in the gain or manmade land that would be put to use in the region.
Dredging on the Po Toi and Beaufort Island had been started up early between the years of 1992 and 1996 to make the areas meet the requirements of the Port and Airport Development Strategy also known as PADS (Books LLC 2010). Big amount of fill was removed from the region to make it friendly. After the fill removal, stations were set up to monitor effects of the process to the region (Morton, 2000). Despite the early dredging and reclamation projects, not all the areas of the islands were touched thus leaving others as spill areas of the dredging process and in need of their own new reclamation projects.
3. Possible Impacts on the Environment
Impacts on the environment are big issues that need to be assessed by the EIA before a project is started up. The report should be given the go-ahead or cancellation before the next step can be implemented. The air quality, noise, water quality, waste, ecology and fisheries have to be looked at (Civil Engineering and Development Department, 2012). This is conducted on the assessment phase as well as during the construction phase. The manner in which the surrounding will embrace the project is also of main importance.
The air quality during dredging process or during reclamation process is tampered. During the backfilling, excavation or wind erosion while reclaiming land renders the air above polluted. During the construction phase, air pollution is expected within the region. Filling up the sea to reclaim the land will need the use of heavy machinery that will also be responsible for air pollution in the area. After completion of the project, the automobiles that make use of the road will be the source of gas emissions that prove to be the next cause of air pollution (Meinhardt Environment LTD, 2011).
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Construction activities are usually the source of noise, mainly due to the powered mechanical equipment put to use in the project. Key construction activities like reclamation are expected to give off plenty of noise due to the functions being carried out. After the construction process, the only other noise that will come out of the project will be from the use of the roads put in place for transportation. Busy roads and heavy traffic will be a source of city life noises in the region (Meinhardt Environment LTD, 2011).
The Po Toi deep area just like the shallow area after the dredging process had a record of low difference in the number of prawn species. There was little dredging in the area. However, there seemed to be a further drop in the number of species but this was owed to extensive trawling in the region. The action seemed to kill a big number of prawn species to extinction.
The Beaufort area is similar to the Po Toi deep area. The water is deep, the substratum is irregular, and there are rocky boulders and outcrops in the region thus making trawling activity a little hard. This action has been able to preserve the prawn species in the area. This makes the region an ideal specimen for monitoring the effect of dredging process on prawns. Repopulation of the prawns seems to be faster in the region thus making the effects of dredging mild (Morton, 2000).
Coral reefs are of abundance to the waters of the Islands. However, with the reclamation process carried out in the regions, there is tampering on the alignment of the reefs. With the coastal reclamation project completed, there has been a widespread loss of sea grass beds. There is a record of high sedimentation on the coastal waters and change in the temperature warming of the sea (Schwartz, 2005).
Reclamation for road constructions leads to blasting of reefs to construct boat channels. These actions, however, lead to plenty of coastal erosion, especially in the heavily populated regions. The immediate need that comes about from this process is a need for sustainable shore from development (Owen & Shaw, 2007). With modifications in place even the marine life needs to find new breeding grounds. Large sea mammals and fishes that migrate on the yearly basis looking for rugged regions and warm waters to breed have to find alternate locations when their favorite grounds have been tampered. This factor may eventually kill tourism in the region for those who came looking for migratory animals on their migrating season (Luck, 2008).
Dredging is a process necessary for the shipping or transport industry. Tons of materials are dumped to the sea or land due to the process. Discharging sediments from the harbor to the sea is a way of contaminating the sea. Random dredging has adverse effects to the sea and is able to kill both plants and animal life just to make transportation means available. Tampering with the coastal life ecosystem has the ability to tamper with the balance in the marine life thus rendering the region barren. Effecting dredging processes make environmental impacts unavoidable thus making it important to cater to the needs of the environment before anything else (Alzieu, 2005).
4. Major Elements of the Surrounding Environment
Air and Landscape Quality
The Hong Kong Island and its surrounding have a unique climate in the region. There are typhoons and strong winds that appear during the months from July to November. These appear at other times, too. The winds originate from the southern China region and blow moving to the northwest and northeast regions. There are also the monsoon winds in the region with the northeast monsoon proving to be stronger than the southwest monsoon. The region also faces tidal currents at great velocity (National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, 2004). These have an influence on the project, especially on the air and land quality in the region. There is also the presence of pipelines laid out in the region. These are built for transportation of natural gas widely used in the region. Care has been important as sailing and docking in the wrong regions could bring out pollution effects and fire hazards in the region.
Dredging on both Islands will affect the region both directly and indirectly during the reclamation process. Various species of different mean heights would reflect a decline with an ongoing reclamation process and the numbers would further reduce after completion. There however would be a different scenario for the case of Polychaete feeding Turrids that would record a growth over the period (Morton, 2003). Oysters have high presence in the Beaufort Island and this population will also be affected by the dredging process. The earlier dredging process between the years of 1998 to 2001 saw the numbers of oysters drop drastically and a further action is known to be able to kill all the remaining surviving species. The increase that started after the dredging process can be killed to zero leaving the waters in the region without any oyster species breeding.
Dredging processes are now being taken up on the elevated level to cater to the needs of the environment and those of various nations at different levels. Taking into consideration the dredging needs of the deep seas located near Beaufort Island, there is a need to use the advanced equipment. With the use of advanced equipment comes a greater threat to the marine life. This includes death of the sea life, especially the plant life. The case of the death of animal life is also experienced in these areas. Dredging on the harbors, estuaries, waterways or lagoons, on the other hand, can pose a great danger. There is absence of tidal flushing and thus a problem with location of the spoil areas (Schwartz, 2005).
There is a great disturbance caused in the region by both climate and biology wise. There will be the death of much life within the marine life. This is not only limited to the marine life but also to human life. Poisoning of the sea life leads to the poisoning of the consumers of the sea animals. Also the use of the waters from the oceans poses a threat to those living close to the sea. The environment above also faces a threat of bad exposure to dusts on the matter dumped on the land. Extensive removal of duct from the sea and dumping it on the land does no good to the residents. The weather in the region will face changes from the regular to near violent weather storms and other negative climatic effects. Facilitation of services like trawling will lead to great imbalance in the sea life and thus causing the death of many plants in the sea.
Water Quality and Contamination
Dumping in the waters from the dredging process has brought about an imbalance in the ecosystems set in place. The results of this action have not been favoring the water life. Sediment contamination from anthropogenically derived materials will dictate the materials needed to stop harm from being caused to the environment. It is these that in turn affect social as well as economic factors of the region. Severely contaminated areas will bring in the need to take care of the problem from the source. On many occasions, an individual has to look carefully into different needs set in place before starting on the dredging process. Even secondary dumping of sediments to avoid sea contamination will pose a threat to the other environment.
Right from construction of the project to the implementation of the project, those living within the region will have to bear with high noises. The noise comes in different degrees depending on the source of the noise. There will be the need to look at the nearing facilities to determine the strategic location to carry out the process.
5. Environmental Protection Measures to be incorporated in the Design and any further Environmental Implications
Dredging is an important process in reclamation. Furthermore, dredging needs to be conducted in the process of reclaiming Beaufort Island for connection. There are safe ways to conduct dredging and disposal to ensure safety as well as balance in the ecosystem that will be affected by the process. Some of the necessary processes include treatment, testing, open water disposal, confined disposal and beneficial use (Schwartz, 2005).
Treatment is taking care of the components to ensure that they measure up to the standards defined in the normalcy capacity. Dredged materials always come with various components in them. While some of the components may be harmless, there is the possibility of having toxic compounds in the content. The treatment procedure is geared at extraction of toxic compounds from the content and ensuring that the remaining dredged material is not hazardous to the environment. The contamination in the material is either completely removed or lowered to a standard measure that is acceptable to the environment, as it poses no danger to the surroundings. Each dredging project poses its own unique danger to the environment depending on the content of the materials in the region and the terrain of an area. The population of the area is also factored in the process.
Conducting physical, chemical and biological tests on the materials brings about plenty of benefits to the environment. Before determining the form of disposal for use, a number of factors about the dredged material have to be looked into. This means performing tests on the materials. These include physical properties, chemical properties and biological properties.
Physical properties tests look into composition of the materials. It will mean looking into the grain size, gravity of the material, water content, water retention ability, permeability and settling behavior. All these play major role when looking into where the material should be deposited and which materials need to go to a particular location.
Chemical properties tests need to look into the pH value of the materials to determine if they are acidic or alkaline. Their calcium value has to be determined as well as the elective ability of the material. Based on the results, an appropriate place for their disposal will be determined.
Biological properties tests, on the other hand, involve looking for the presence of microbial components in the material, as well as toxicology of the material. Microbial components include viruses, parasites, yeasts and other pathogens. This should be especially the case when the dredging sites are close to the sewer lines or other forms of dumpsites. The toxic level should be measured whether it is acute or chronic by nature.
Open Water Disposal
Open water disposal is a means where the dredged material is placed in the open water locations. These include rivers, lakes and oceans. In this process, the material is generally safe and does not necessarily need to be taken off a location. It is just moved from one location to another and at times within the same water body. When the material from the water body during dredging is good for the water but would be harmful to the land region, open water disposal acts as the best form of disposal for the material. Transfer to another location where the material is not harmful is a manner to preserve the environment.
Open water disposal can be conducted in either deep waters or shallow waters. Other processes like capping may be conducted to prevent the dredged material from being carried away. Other keen strategies may have to be put in place to ensure that the dredged materials were not contaminated. Tests are usually conducted on the samples to make sure of this before carrying out a process.
Confined disposal involves enclosing the dredged material in a container before disposal. It can also involve putting the dredged material in secure location where the content is not supposed to get exposure to the general areas where other useful materials are obtained. The dredged material to be disposed is usually not put in contact with other soils or water areas when placement is carried out.
Beneficial use is another factor solution that can be put in place. This needs careful consideration before implementation of this solution. It is good to compare functions of the component before putting it in use. Consider beach sand that is fit for use on the beaches while nourishing the beach area. This type of sand is not similar to that located at the seabeds. There is a need to consider the type of sand that is to be put in use in any particular setting. When considering dredging and the need to fill up a certain location of the sea, it is important to select sand that is friendly to the environment. The beach sand is not in a position to support life at the sea. Dredging using this sand will only pose great danger to the marine life at the area and surrounding area. It will only smother life at the bottom of the area rather than encourage development of the marine life at the particular area. It will also increase the solid suspended concentrations in that particular area.
Use of Previously Approved EIA Reports
EIAO Application No.
Date of Approval
Relevant to this Project
Integration of Siu Ho Wan and Silver Mine Bay Water Treatment Works
13 Jan 2011
Information on the consultation zone size of the Siu Ho Wan Water Treatment Work will offer assistance needed.
New Contaminated Mud Marine Disposal Facility at Airport East/East Sha Chau Area
1 Sep 2005
The location of the project and the construction to be considered by EIA
Tung Chung – Nging Ping Cable Car project
9 Jun 2003
Baseline information was considered inappropriate
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