Disney Environmental Impacts (Hong Kong)
This following report is based on the environmental impacts and issues Hong Kong Disneyland has on the hospitality and tourism industries.
Disneyland was first opened in Los Angeles in the year 1955 and is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. It was aimed for entertainment and family and is one of the most popular and well-known theme parks in the world. Later on, Disneyland opened in three more countries, which includes Florida, Japan and Europe. Visitors were offered exciting roller coaster rides, meeting their favorite Disney character, parades and shows.The Hong Kong Disneyland is the fifth Disneyland styled theme park in the world that was opened in 2005 September and is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. The park includes 4 themed lands , Fantasyland, Main Street U.
S. A. , Adventureland and Tomorrowland. Although it is the smallest Disney Park, 5. 6 million visitors were expected during the first year.
Many other rides will be constructed and finished in the ongoing years to come. Hong Kong officials anticipate that Disneyland would be a good boost for tourism and a great place to establish a foothold in China.It is located in Penny Bay, Lantau Island that is famous for being the green part of Hong Kong. Before construction, Penny Bay was an untouched vegetation area, treasured for the old relics from its days as a port for trading ships but now after Disneyland has been built it has affected a lot of areas around Lantau island and these are the environmental impacts that will be discussed next.
Reclamation on Lantau Island and water pollution The Hong Kong Government has spent a lot of money on reclaiming land to build Hong Kong Disneyland.Reclaiming land has always been an issue in Hong Kong as the harbor is growing smaller compared to years ago where it would take longer for a ferry to travel from Hong Kong side to Kowloon side. If one looks up from the Peak, they can see that the harbor is turning into a river. Stated by the South China Morning Post article , Christine Loh said, “Our problem is the government has always used the harbor as a land bank to generate maximum revenues”.
This argues that the government makes the best use of any piece of land for money.When reclaiming the land to build Disney, the shipyard at Pennys Bay had to be dismantled and over 87,000 cubic meters of soil had to be removed as well as cutting 42,100 cubic meters of soil and rock for slope stabilization. These reclamation works were carried out before an environment report was concluded. There was also a failure to discover the 30,000 cubic meters of dioxin in the soil when trying to construct the man made lake for Disney. This ended up in making them pay $450million to clean up the area. This was not planned.
The removal of rocks at Tung Chung River had also ruined the natural habitat and it was also illegal, as they did not get permission to do so. Piles of mud filled the surrounding waters and this resulted in problems for fishermen. More than one million coastal fish were killed from the soaring levels of toxin from the dredging of land. Fishermen were then not compensated for the fish that made them lose business, thus caused fishermen to relocate their farms further into the sea. It was reported that many fish and coral that lived around and under the shipyard have now died because of the reclamation.
This water pollution has destroyed the habitat and species around the area. Around Hong Kong, Lantau and Macau there have also been threats facing the pink dolphins known as Hong Kong’s mascots as the marine habitat was turned into large amounts of land from reclamation for roads and train stations for the park. This could easily affect tourism as many tourists enjoy going out on the “Dolphin Watch” junks to see the dolphins and their habitat. All these issues above limit the chance of the local tourism industry to explore tours on marine life.
It ruined the surrounding views and mountains and makes the area not natural anymore and lessens the chances of tourists being able to walk around and see the breathtaking views of Lantau as it was once known as the greenish area of Hong Kong. Air and Noise Pollution Another main concern in Hong Kong is air pollution . It is usually caused by motor vehicles, power plants and other industries that produce smoke but for Hong Kong Disneyland it is the cause of the daily fireworks. Residents of Discovery Bay have complained of the smoke and the noise that will already add to the bad pollution of Hong Kong’s air and skies.Fireworks produces airborne particles that might be hazardous to people with cardiac and respiratory diseases Disneyland has done nothing to improve smoke that the fireworks produce even though the California Disney uses environmentally friendly fireworks.
This means they use “compressed air to launch the pyrotechnics for fireworks as an alternative to gunpowder” . To deal with the air and noise pollution from the fireworks, Disney had met up with the Environmental Protection Department but has refused their proposal in using air and noise pollution monitors around its Penny’s Bay site to gauge the effects noise.Tokyo, Japan has these monitors installed as to help lower the air and noise pollution. Complaints about this have done nothing to budge Disney’s mind as they have not changed anything or improved the situation. This will simply result in residents and locals complaining of pollution, especially to those who live nearby and affects the tourism industry as no tourists would want to be around somewhere, where an area it is polluted with dirty air or a lot of noise. Chopping Fins In an effort to appeal to Chinese visitors, Hong Kong Disney Resort had started recently serving sharks fin for weddings, as it is an “integral part of banquets” .
Environmentalists had put a stop to this cruel act as shark populations are crashing. In order to get these expensive fins, sharks are captured and the fins are sliced off and then they are tossed back into the ocean left to bleed to death. It has been dealt with and now wedding couples who decide to order sharks fin for their weddings will receive many pamphlets and information on how sharks are killed and the environmental impacts of their deaths. Shark fins will no longer be offered in Disneyland.Even though Hong Kong Disneyland has caused a few environmental issues for Hong Kong, we cannot say everything is negative because Hong Kong Disneyland has been apart of a partnership program called Jiminy Crickets Environmental Challenges. It is an environmental pledge and a competition for schools where they are taught how to recycle, reuse, to protect the environment and to identify different environmental issues and problems.
California and Florida Disneyland are also a partner of this program encouraging schools to take part to educate children on environment.Adding to above, Hong Kong Disney following all the other World Disney’s, is taking part in operating practices such as recycling, energy conservation, waste and water management. They have joined the Hong Kong International Theme Parks Limited (HKITPL) in doing this and had come up with aims as to have recycling bins, reduce use of tissue paper in lavatories and encouraging the use of hand dryers and more. They have a waste management plan implemented by HKITPL to collect, transport and dispose of different waste material generated during the operation of the park.In conclusion there are many facts in how Hong Kong Disneyland have affected surrounding and different areas of environment but they have also taken part in trying to teach people on how to improve and save resources and environment. Many of these problems such as reclamation, noise and air pollution and ecological damage for sharks are factors that could deeply affect Hong Kong Disneyland and its reputation.
Not only would it affect Hong Kong’s Disney but the other 4 in California, Florida, Japan and Europe.Tourists and environmentalists who strongly agree about saving the environment and species like the 1 million fish that were killed and the destruction of vegetation around Lantau Island might be enraged and not support Disney at all. I personally think all these issues are balanced out as Disney is trying to redeem itself by helping reuse waste products and recycle items. Although I think the fishermen should be compensated as their everyday lives have changed and they had to move away further into the sea to make money for themselves and their families.
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