3rd Runway EIA Misleading the Public with Numbers

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(20 June 2014, press release) Hong Kong International Airport’s environmental impact assessment of the 3rd runway has been completed. With regard to the section on air pollution, Friends of the Earth (HK) (FoE(HK)) believes that the report has selectively extracted the necessary data, supporting its hypothesis with shoddy evidence. As the results does not reflect the facts, FoE(HK) deems this report unsatisfactory and urges the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) not to sacrifice its professional principles for the sake of political needs.


Selective Extraction of Data:


The report used deceitful methods to interpret the empirical data. For example when comparing NOx emission treads, the 2008 and 2012 data from the Tung Chung monitoring station was used to compare the 2008 and 2011 data from the Lung Kwu Chau station. It is clear that since the 2011 Lung Kwu Chau station data was chosen because it met the report’s needs. The most basic requirement of an objective & representative analysis is the use of data with the same parameter. However, the report selectively chose the required data. FoE(HK) believes such practices mislead the public.



Unfounded and Surreal Forecasting:


The report assumed that by 2031 – when the 3rd runway will reach maximum capacity – the region’s emission reduction efforts will also be more than satisfactory, therefore the air quality of Tung Chung and neighbouring disctricts will not exceed the AQO standard. However, FoE(HK) checked the data and believes this assumption is unrealistic. The report used the 2010 emission reduction results within the Guangdong region, and speculated that the region’s air pollution level will continue to fall according to the result’s trend. Alas according to Hong Kong 2012 Air Pollutant Emission Inventory, NOx levels have continued to increase. The report did not use the latest data available. If erroneous assumptions are made, then the forecast will also be wrong


As the report used incomplete figures and is full of contradictions, the public has no way of understanding the real impact of the project.  The Airport Authority Hong Kong also has not developed any appropriate mitigation measures. Since the project involves large amount of public funds and will cause significant & irreversible impact on the marine ecology & environment, FoE(HK) urges EPD to review the report with the most stringent standards.

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