Man and River

Since ancient times, humans have relied on nature to supply their needs. Nature provides for our basic needs for food, shelter, clothing and transport, and also regulates climates and gives us places for cultural entertainment, among other things. These are called “ecosystem services”.

Ecosystem services provided by Tung Chung River include:

  • Sediments in the middle and lower courses of the river fertilised the lands in the valley. People have been farming these lands since the Ming Dynasty, providing food and agricultural development opportunities;
  • Water filtered by vegetation in the river basin flows into Tung Chung River and is then collected at Shek Pik Reservoir, supplying us with clean potable water. The natural filtration reduces the resources that we would have to use in water treatment;
  • In heavy rainstorms, vegetation and soil in the catchment area absorb rainwater, preventing it from entering the river rapidly and thus reducing the scale and impact of flooding;
  • The large area of mangroves at the estuary cleans water and helps guard against flooding;
  • Natural rivers and banks help relieve the urban heat island effect, cooling the dense city and reducing the use of air conditioning and the associated carbon emissions;
  • Open river channels can become "wind corridors", which enhance circulation in the city centre and remove air pollutants;
  • Natural rivers are delightful to look at, they make our living environment more appealing;
  • Rich ecology along the river courses are essential ecotourism assets.