Last update:
2019-11-01

Sanya Hongtangwan International Airport, Hainan, China

Complains by organizations on the procedure and its negative impacts on the habitat for the protected Chinese white dolphin, a controversial airport island reclamation project at one of China’s top tourist resorts Sanya, was halted for more than two years


Description:

Sanya is the southernmost city on Hainan Island, and one of the four prefecture-level cities of Hainan Province, in Southeast China. The city is renowned for its tropical climate and has emerged as a popular tourist destination and has become known as "China's Florida", drawing many retirees from Northeast China during winter. [1] After seeing a massive influx of visitors in recent years that put great burden on the existing Phoenix Airport (built in 1994 with only one runway), Sanya is looking for a new aviation hub to cope with rising tourism.[2]. Sanya’s new airport, the first airport in mainland China to be built on an artificial island through land reclamation in the sea, will be situated in Hongtang Bay Tourism Resort Zone, Tianya District. The project will involve a total investment of more than 100 billion yuan (~USD 16.3 billion), and the designed annual passenger throughput of the new airport will be 60 million. Scheduled to cover an area of 26 square kilometers on an artificial island in Hongtang Bay, the new airport will have four runways and three terminal buildings upon completion. It will be 5.18 times larger than the current Sanya Phoenix International Airport. Construction began in September 2016 and the airport was originally expected to be put into trial operation on 31 December 2020. Passenger throughput of the new airport is expected to reach 38 million by 2025 and 70 million by 2045. The new airport is expected to be an international transportation hub and a gateway to Southeast Asia and the South China Sea. In addition to the airport, other supporting facilities will be built on the island including an aviation economic zone with an airport and seaport operation area, an international aviation CBD, and an industrial zone in support of the airport. The new airport project is backed largely by HNA Group Co., Ltd., and it is part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan (The Belt and Road Initiative).[3]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sanya Hongtangwan International Airport, Hainan, China
Country:China
State or province:Hainan Province
Location of conflict:Hongtang Bay Tourism Resort Zone, Tianya District
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Ports and airport projects
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
transportation services, Chinese white dolphin
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The project will involve a total investment of more than 100 billion yuan (~USD 16.3 billion), and the designed annual passenger throughput of the new airport will be 60 million. Scheduled to cover an area of 26 square kilometers on an artificial island in Hongtang Bay, the new airport will have four runways and three terminal buildings upon completion. It will be 5.18 times larger than the current Sanya Phoenix International Airport. Construction began in September 2016 and the airport was originally expected to be put into trial operation on 31 December 2020. Passenger throughput of the new airport is expected to reach 38 million by 2025 and 70 million by 2045. [3]

Project area:2,595
Level of Investment:16,300,000,000.00
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:04/2017
Company names or state enterprises:HNA Group Co., Ltd. (HNA Group) from China - main investor and owner
Sanya Airport Construction Co., Ltd. from China - for the construction work
Relevant government actors:- State Oceanic Administration (later as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources since March 2018)
- Oceanic and Fishery Department of Sanya
- Provincial Oceanic and Fishery Bureau of Hainan
- Natural Resources and Planning Bureau of Sanya
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Friends of Nature (FON)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsthreaten to corals and Chinese white dolphins
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsadditional costs for recovery of coastlines due to over-explored tourism
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:As the project was suspended by the state authority and a new EIA was ordered to be submitted, this is considered as a rare victory for the environment according to NGOs like Friends of Nature.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

[8]自然之友致函国家海洋局:对《三亚新机场人工岛工程海洋环境影响报告书》的意见和建议 | 法律与政策倡导 (accessed on 2019-08-23)
[click to view]

[10]国家海洋局“不予批准”三亚新机场环评报告 “暂停审查其用海申请” ((accessed on 2019-08-24)
[click to view]

[12]三亚新机场人工岛工程环境影响评价第一次信息公示(accessed on 2019-09-18)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[12]三亚新机场人工岛工程环境影响评价第一次信息公示(accessed on 2019-09-18)
[click to view]

[11]三亚红塘湾新机场的抢跑及其后果 (accessed on 2019-09-18)
[click to view]

[12]三亚新机场人工岛工程环境影响评价第一次信息公示(accessed on 2019-09-18)

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4]三亚新机场填海之患 (accessed on 2019-08-23)
[click to view]

[5] Fears over white dolphin habitat halt work on massive US$15 billion South China Sea island airport (accessed on 2019-08-23)
[click to view]

[6]CHINESE WHITE DOLPHIN (SOUSA CHINENSIS) :INFORMATION AND CHARACTERISTICS. (accessed on 2019-09-18)
[click to view]

[7] Pod of endangered Chinese white dolphins spotted in S China (accessed on 2019-08-23)
[click to view]

[9] Rampant unauthorized sea reclamation in Sanya threatens oceans: NGO (accessed on 2019-09-19)
[click to view]

[2] Sanya seeks to build new airport on reclaimed land (accessed on 2019-08-23)
[click to view]

[3] Sanya's new airport will have 4 runways, and 3 terminals (accessed on 2019-08-23)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[14] 周星驰电影《美人鱼》(The mermaid)
[click to view]

[13] The Mermaid (2016 film) (accessed on 2019-09-19)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB
Last update01/11/2019
Comments
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