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...