Redevelopment is typical in Hong Kong. According to the Urban Renewal Authority, they have launched over 60 redevelopment projects. New construction takes up the used land for a new purpose. The new definition revitalises the land – from contaminated land to sustainable urban development. In redevelopment, we need to care about how the land was operated. How it was operated underlies the potential adversely impact the surrounding neighbourhoods and threaten human health and the environment in the new development.
Land contamination happens at old abandoned gas stations, for example. Places utilised for boat/shipbuilding or repairing, chemical manufacturing/processing, concrete and asphalt production, motor vehicle repair, petrol filling stations, oil storage installations, metal scrap yards are likely contaminated. Oil installations demolition, improper waste disposal and discharge of waste or polluting matter into the inland waters or water bodies are some causes of land contamination. Land polluted by hazardous substances because of industrial or commercial operations is contaminated land, defined by the Environmental Protection Department of HKSAR.
In Hong Kong, the four types of land – urban residential, rural residential, industrial and public parks – are under the scope of risk-based assessment. The assessment is based on the nature and extent of the potential risks posed to human receptors. In the US, the determining factors are founded on the release volume, total population exposed, proximity or impact to groundwater aquifers, drinking water wells contaminated, source water protection areas, unique exposure pathways, or environmental justice communities.
Globally, the United Nations regarding the land (soil) contamination has no border – as the contaminants penetrate everywhere without a trace. Such pollution degrades humans’ quality of living, causing poverty (against SDG 1 No Poverty) and bad health (against SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being). Companies and organisations that set corporate targets based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should have known better than anyone. Addressing corporate environmental issues in achieving SDGs is essential to themselves and the communities. The scientific-based approach to environmental performance is embedded in the laws that lead to regulated daily operation, reflected in the environmental performance or ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) report.
At the beginning of 2021, BBC News reported that the oil giant was sued for polluting the community. The news illustrates the corporate effort in maintaining good health in the operating area concerning its reputation. The neglect would cause the lawsuit and cost penalty for the improper supply chain management. (ref: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56041189)
It is critical to comply with the regulations of the operation, for corporate reputation, for community relations, for the environment, for avoiding penalties, for complying with the regulations. The industries likely/potentially causing land pollution are suggested to hire a professional environmental consultant to assure the function required for regulation-complied.
By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)