Conservation experts claim that the population of Chinese pink dolphin living in waters off Hong Kong is at risk if a plan to build a giant bridge to Macau and China goes ahead, .
The Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge, scheduled for completion by 2016, will stretch 30km across the Pearl River Estuary linking the three cities.
Around 23km of the bridge will be in the form of a viaduct rising above the sea while the remaining 7km will be a tunnel which will cut through an area known as a feeding ground of the dolphin.
Around 1,400 dolphins – also known as pink dolphins because of their pinkish colour – are believed to live in the waters of the Pearl River Estuary with around 300 in Hong Kong waters.
Planning officials have promised to protect the dolphin and an environmental impact report published earlier this week gave the bridge its approval on the condition that several measures were put in place to minimize the impact on the dolphins’ habitat.
However, Worldwide Fund for Nature conservation director Andy Cornish said that the only way this project could have minimal or no impact on the dolphins was if they were all dead. He said, "This is a major construction that will cut right through the heart of the areas favoured by the dolphins."
Protecting the dolphin has been one of the major areas of concern among environmentalists with regard to construction of the bridge, which will cost an estimated $5.5bn.
News 24 reports the Hong Kong government claims the bridge will bring more tourism and business to Hong Kong, boost the airport’s status as the transport hub of Asia and connect the city with the western Pearl River Delta region and Mainland China’s rail network. It does not over-emphasize the future of pink dolphins in the over-all scheme of things.