The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of February 16, 1996
Facts about Hong Kong.
CURWOOD: 1996 marks the 155th anniversary of China's concession of Hong Kong to Great Britain at gunpoint. The colony was used as a calling station for British ships, and played a key role in the opium trade. Today, Hong Kong is a capitalist mecca. On July 1st of next year, China gets Hong Kong back, much richer but much dirtier. Hong Kong's 5-and-a-half million people have exports of nearly $170 billion each year. They also produce 24,000 tons of trash, and dump 1.6 million cubic yards of sewage and industrial wastewater into the ocean each day. And as much as 50% of the seafood available in Hong Kong is dangerously contaminated. The world's busiest harbor is also home to the world's only population of China's pink dolphins. Only about 85 of the animals have been sighted by researchers since 1993, and since then 19 have been found dead. And while the Union Jack is coming down in Hong Kong, China is receiving no compensation for the ecological damage that Britain is leaving behind.
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