By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
A heritage scholar from the Mainland believes that the construction of a garbage hut right next to the St. Lawrence’s Church needs to be suspended immediately, and in the meantime the Macau Government should seek advice and approval from UNESCO before it is too late.
He Yunao, secretary-general of the World Heritage Forum’s Organising Committee and director of the Cultural and Natural Heritage Research Centre of Nanjing University, China, also stressed that the Government should have announced the construction plan publicly in advance in order to “avoid unnecessary waste and problems”.
Large garbage containers have been placed on the street just next to the St. Lawrence’s Church – a UNESCO World Heritage site situated behind the Macau Government Headquarters – but the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) has now decided to build a closed garbage hut to replace the blue containers due to pollution concerns and possible influence on the heritage landscape.
Although some residents living in the area are outraged by the construction of a permanent garbage hut mainly because of the choice of its location and hygiene concerns, the ICM has argued that the facility will only bring advantages as it can “improve the living environment and preserve the world heritage landscape”, according to Chinese-language newspaper Macau Daily News.
The bureau also pointed out that not only will a mini fountain be built nearby the garbage hut, trees will be planted and recreational facilities will also be provided to beautify the area.
“According to my perspective of protecting world heritage, any construction in a world heritage area should first go through a very cautious consideration,” He Yunao said.
“If we need to build a modern facility next to a historic architecture, we need to take into consideration the size of it and whether we can select an alternate location.
“Does the entire Macau really have no other place for a garbage hut? So from my point of view I don’t agree with it,” he added.
According to He, fundamentally no construction should be carried out in world heritage areas, but he also stressed that if there are needs from local people and tourists, the SAR Government must first make sure that the construction is supported by a thorough study and widespread discussion in society.
“At present people still don’t really understand the value of world heritage, and I also don’t think the Macau people have made good use of their world-class historic centre. There is still much room for development,” He told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference at The Venetian yesterday.
The scholar pointed out that a wide range of opinions from health, cultural, tourism and heritage experts as well as from local residents should have been obtained prior to the commencement of the construction.
In addition, He said “it’d be the best to also ask for the advice from UNESCO experts”, or otherwise Macau might face the risk of being removed from the World Heritage List.
Travel Expo opens
The three-day Third International Tourism and World Heritage Travel Expo will be unveiled at The Venetian Macau today.
Covering an exhibition area of 4,000 square metres, the expo consists of 200 booths from 14 provinces and cities of mainland China, Italy, Russia, Czech Republic, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
A Macau Specialty Pavilion selling local pastries is also set up there.