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Environmental impacts of iron ore tailings—The case of Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong

Abstract

Disposal of iron ore tailings along the shore of Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong has altered the adjacent environment. Due to the ever-expanding population, the vast development of various industries, and the lack of sanitary control, the existing pollution problem of Tolo Harbour is serious. The iron ore tailings consist of a moderate amount of various heavy metals, e.g., copper, iron, manganese, lead, zinc, and a lower level of macronutrients. A few living organisms have been found colonizing this manmade habitat. Higher metal contents were also found in the tissue ofPaphia sp. (clam);Scopimera intermedia (crab);Chaetomorpha brychagona (green alga);Enteromorpha crinita (green alga); andNeyraudia reynaudiana (grass). The area can be reclaimed by surface amelioration using inert materials, soils, or organic substrates, and by direct seeding, using nontolerant and tolerant plant materials. Reclamation of the tailings would improve the amenity of the adjacent environment and also mitigate pollution escaping to the sea.

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Wong, M.H. Environmental impacts of iron ore tailings—The case of Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong. Environmental Management 5, 135–145 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01867333

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Key words

  • Tailings
  • Shore animals
  • Marine algae
  • Higher plant
  • Iron ore
  • Soil fungi
  • Restoration procedures
  • Hong Kong