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Speech by SEN at opening ceremony of Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre (English only) (with photos)

    Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the opening ceremony of Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre today (April 16):

Prof Tsui, Sarah, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

    It is my great pleasure to be here at this opening ceremony of the Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre, witnessing an important milestone in the operation of a new education centre through a joint venture agreement between the University of Hong Kong and the Government.

    The idea of this education centre was initiated by my predecessor Dr Sarah Liao and the university and I am happy to be associated with this project and to see a very good idea being put into implementation through the joint efforts of the university and my department.

    Residing in a cluster of three historical buildings on the fringes of the Lung Fu Shan Country Park and the campus of HKU, the new centre offers distinctive opportunities for visitors, both local and overseas, to appreciate the natural beauty of Hong Kong that surrounds our busy and hectic metropolitan city.

    The centre presents the very unique setting of Hong Kong - a highly built up area with a multi-million population situated against a highly accessible green hinterland with high ecological value and biodiversity. 

    Compared with metropolitan cities around the world, one can hardly find a city of comparable size and development that enjoys such a high degree of green coverage of natural vegetation and habitats like Hong Kong.  Within our tiny city, we have nurtured more than 50 types of mammals, 480 species of birds, 110 types of dragonflies, 160 freshwater fish, and 230 species of butterflies...  What a pleasant surprise that all these habitats are found in our neighbourhood that is within a 15-minute drive from our city core or central business areas and they are all serviced by well maintained trails or public transport links.

    This new centre also opens a new door to the greener part of our city.  Through guided tours, workshops, exhibitions and training programmes organised by the university, the centre will help reinforce the public's sense of responsibility towards protecting our natural habitats and enable them to better enjoy the green suburb in our proximity.

    We see nature conservation as a vital and integral part of our environmental policy.  While the Government strives to double its efforts to fight pollution, to improve the quality of our air and water, and to better dispose of our municipal waste, nothing is better than engaging our citizens and instilling among them a sense of responsibility towards our environment through bringing ourselves closer to nature, and to live a greener life.

    This new centre is a landmark for the collaboration between the government and the university and we are grateful for the university's support in making available these heritage buildings for conservation and education purposes.  It is a clear demonstration of how nature conservation can climb new heights through government/public body co-operation.  I am happy to tell the audience that this indeed is a happy partnership that we should encourage and we are hopeful of seeing more examples to come.

    Once again, I must tell you how grateful I am to see this centre beginning its service.  While I am pressing hard for legislation on a plastic shopping bag levy, imposing control over idling engines, and fighting hard to curb SO2 emission from our power plants, the opening of this new education centre is a breath of fresh air that makes the message loud and clear - we want to see not just cleaner air and less waste disposal, but also a greener lifestyle that is so dear and yet so close to all of us.

    With this belief, I congratulate the university as well as my colleagues for a job well done.  I love it and I believe that you all will love it and make use of it.

    Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Issued at HKT 14:32


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