we are lucky that we have 40% green area around us and a great biodiversity, but just like many of our heritages in this city, we are seeing our green properties declining, weakening and dying.
our white dolphin population is plunging. developers and even the government are hawking our wetland and country parks. we are losing valuable old trees and it seems to me that they are killing themselves as they are facing no respect and even harm doing on them.
yes, i am talking about the century-old chinese banyan stonewall but i am also talking about all the trees around us, in our city and countryside.
for some reasons, our government our businessmen love trees, in the sense that they plant a lot of them. however i cannot sense any love in their action. trees to them are more like ornaments and installation. they don’t put much thoughts in the species they plant and are always inconsiderate in their living and growing space. we see a lot of trees in our urban areas but more i see only tiny and thin patches of sandy ground are giving to them. seldom will there be aftercare, support and maintenance are the initial planting.
what happen when there needs road extension, slope maintenance, development and redevelopment, trees are slaughtered without a blink of eye.
there is an official “register of old and valuable trees” and the society is well aware of and quite respect its existence. the register however is rough and vague in the selection and minimal in information. for one when you say this is a register of old trees, there is no information of the age of each of the tree on the register. another thing i cannot forgive is that once a tree is gone due to sickness or put down for certain reasons, its value immediately vanishes. the record of the once old and valuable tree will be erased from the register. another evidence that this is a city of no history and the negligence of public records and archive law. another crucial matter is that i don’t see actions corresponding to the introduction of the register that says “It is Government policy to provide priority protection to Old and Valuable Trees.” there is regular checkups but i don’t see regular care and maintenance giving to these trees.
there is a slogan gaining increasing popularity in recent years social and political movements – we can only count on ourselves to save our hong kong. i am also a believer to this spirit. if we care about something in this city, we have to act and pay effort living them protecting them.
ok. enough moaning. i would like to share this tree map 城西樹木地圖, i call it “victoria city tree map” (click to check the map) as there is no official english name yet. i am one of the helpers adding entries to this map that display trees on hong kong island focusing on the west side.
hope that more people will treasure our green assets in this city.