-The Power of Ignorance-
An argument on whether we should build the third runway
Aviation industry, for the sake of urban development, undoubtedly holds the key of prosperity. Hong Kong International Airport is an irreplaceable facility contributing a potential net worth of more than HK$80 billion dollars a year with its working capacity to serve 50.9 million passengers with 4.1 million tons of cargo per day according to the Airport authority financial report (2012, p.4), has gained a well-known reputation over the globe. The expansion of the Airport is recently proposed as a must because of the ever-increasing popularity and frequent flows of passengers. However, such a large-scale ...view middle of the document...
Claims held by the supporters stick to the economic estimation on the returns and to the maintenance of the service quality of our aviation industry. The third runway serves as a solution for meeting the rapid-growing demand, so that it will be a vital part in offering high-quality services. According to the summary of the master plan given in the lecture, if the two-runway system is kept and we spend an extra HK$42.5 billion for this investment, Hong Kong can manage a practical maximum capacity of 420,000 flight movements annually. The Airport is treasured as a landmark of Hong Kong development and the GDPs shown in years have close relation with the numbers of flight, thus the growth at 6% each year acts as a dominant pillar to local prosperity.
However, that proposed suggestion has shortcomings with the project itself. First, it can only be a medium-term solution as the estimated demand and the relevant services will exceed the serving capacity between 2019 and 2022. Do other things being sacrificed with the project implementation worthy? Second, there is an illogical assumption hypothesising inabundant landing spaces for planes hinders the progress of our development. The fallacy here makes rooms for debate, public consultation and other solutions to the problem.
Another drawback that associates with the proposal is the artificial harm to the environment. Production of construction wastes is one of the inevitable consequences which intensify the burden of our landfills. There seems to be a contradiction with the provoking environmental policies. The proposed strategy of the new runway appears to be an over consumption of the natural resource, regardless how many jobs opportunity it can bring, how many surplus it can generate, or even how the brand new runway can be so-called environmentally-friendly. As long as the project starts, we need to have more reclaimed places. What if the development reaches the limit in 2080 or the years far beyond? By that time, will we unquestionably build a fourth one? I recall Mencius, the great philosopher following Confucius, “Farm in the right season, never over-consume the agricultural production. Trawl in the right pond, never over-catch the fish. Log in the right time, never over-use the wood.” indicates people the indispensable bond of natural environment and their living. Though translating into another language carries defect, the message conveyed reminds the supporters the adverse consequences and even devastation after over-consumption will be the result. We are in debt with the Mother Nature and now we are borrowing more from it with an uncertain chance of repayment. Traditional wisdom mentioned in the Chinese classic could be a reference for the current society to re-evaluate the net value of the project.
Development should be planned for sustainable uses and therefore, the proposed project does not match in what development is and how we should develop our city. The definition of...