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Advisory Council on the Environment

Proposed Air Pollution Control (Dry-cleaning Machines) (Vapour Recovery) Regulation
(without Annexes 1&2)

(ACE Paper 34/2000)
For discussion

PURPOSE

This paper seeks Members' advice on the draft Air Pollution Control (Dry-cleaning Machines) (Vapour Recovery) Regulation (Annex 1), to be made under Section 43(1) of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance.

BACKGROUND

  1. Members considered and endorsed the proposed scheme for the control of perchloroethylene (PCE) emissions from dry cleaning operation at the meeting of 28 July 1997. The relevant ACE paper (35/97) is attached in Annex 2. The trade and the relevant government departments/bureaux (Annex 3) have since been further consulted, and the draft regulation prepared.

REVISIONS OF THE PROPOSED SCHEME

  1. Some revisions were made to the endorsed control scheme as a result of further comments from the trade and the relevant government departments/bureaux. When compared with the old scheme proposed in 1997 (ACE Paper 35/97), the major revisions are:
     
    New Dry-cleaning machines
  1. To facilitate the dry-cleaning operators to purchase a machine meeting the standards of 300 ppmv in the drum, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) will type-approve a list of machines which have been certified by the machine manufacturers to meet the specified standards. The approved model list will be put on a register for public inspection.
  Existing dry-cleaning machines
  1. As the non-vented substandard machines are usually much newer and emitting 60% less PCE as compared with the vented type machines, a longer grace period of 7 years instead of 5 years is allowed for the replacement or modification of these substandard non-vented machines to comply with the new standards.
 
  1. The modified machines will also need to comply with the standards for new machines (i.e. 300 ppmv in the drum). This will simplify the system for having a unified standard on one hand, and better protect the environment on the other.

CONSULTATION

  1. The trades and the concerned Government Departments and Bureaux have been consulted. They in general supported the revised scheme of control, though some of them still have concern on the following issues:
    1. the grace period of 5 years for the vented machines and 7 years for the non-vented machines should be further extended; and
       
    2. the Government should subsidize the machine modification or replacement through compensation or low interest loan.
       
  2. The initial grace period proposed in 1997 was 5 years. After taking into consideration views expressed by the trade, the grace periods have been extended to the current proposed 5 years and 7 years. We consider that further extension of the grace periods is inappropriate because of the following reasons:
    1. based on the information obtained by EPD, it is estimated that over 90% of the existing vented machines will approach their normal retirement age, i.e. 10 years old, at the expiry of the 5-year grace period for vented machines, and have to be replaced anyway;
       
    2. a longer grace period of 7 years is proposed for the non-vented machines because they emit around 60% less PCE than vented machines and they are in general younger in age. However, further extension of the grace period beyond 7 years is not recommended due to the potential health risk to the public from long term exposure; and
       
    3. in fact, most of the PCE will be recovered and can be reused in the non-vented dry-cleaning machines which comply with our proposed standards, this will lead to a substantial saving in PCE consumption. The dry-cleaners will benefit in the long run.

IMPLEMENTATION

  1. Subject to the Council's endorsement, the plan is to introduce the proposed regulation to the Legislative Council in November 2000.

PUBLIC REACTION

  1. As the proposed regulation will reduce the exposure of the public to air toxic pollutants, it should be welcomed by the public.

ADVICE SOUGHT

  1. Members are requested to advise whether they endorse the draft Regulation as attached in Annex 1.

Environment and Food Bureau
September 2000

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Friday, 28 April, 2006