Milestones in Hong Kong Environmental Protection

1959

  • Enactment of Clean Air Ordinance to control dark smoke emissions from fossil fuel burning installations.


1962

  • Declaration of Shatin as the first smoke control area.


1970

  • Establishment of Air Pollution Control Unit in Labour Department.

  • Requirement of Hok Yuen Power Station to burn low sulphur fuel oil in order to reduce air pollution during adverse meteorological conditions.


1972

  • Enactment of the Summary Offences (Noise at Hong Kong Airport) (Exemption) Order 1972 to require all aircraft movements and engine run-ups between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. to conform with specified conditions.

  • Amendment of the Summary Offences Ordinance to provide for the control of general noise at night between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and the banning of use of pile-drivers between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. on public holidays.

  • Enactment of the Summary Offences (Night Work) Regulations to restrict works other than piling between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. through a permit system.


1973

  • Banning of aircraft movements between midnight and 7 a.m.


1974

  • Consolidation of Advisory Committees on Land, Water, Air and Noise to form a new more broadly-based committee: the Advisory Committee on Environmental Pollution.

  • Declaration of the whole Territory as smoke control area.

  • Commissioning of Environmental Resources Ltd. (ERL) to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the growing need for environmental controls in Hong Kong.

  • Enactment of the Clean Air (Restriction and Measurement of Smoke) Regulations to impose emission limits on combustion plants.


1975

  • Establishment of the Environment Branch as the policy branch for the land, transport and environmental programme areas.

  • Enactment of the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Ordinance to make oil pollution liability insurance mandatory for all cargo-carrying vessels.


1976

  • Enactment of the Public Health and Urban Services (Minor Amendments) Ordinance to prescribe control of air conditioner noise.


1977

  • Establishment of the Environmental Protection Unit (EPU), within the Environment Branch (based on ERL's preliminary report), as a small unit responsible for developing policy and formulating legislation on environmental protection.

  • Completion of ERL study and submission of proposals for noise abatement, waste disposal, water pollution control, air pollution control and environmental impact ordinances.


1978

  • Enactment of the Summary Offences (Night Work) Regulations to provide for the general banning of the use of powered mechanical equipment for works between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and on general holidays.

  • Replacement of the 1974 Advisory Committee on Environmental Pollution with an Environmental Protection Advisory Committee supported by three Special Committees: Land and Water, Air and Noise.


1980

  • Enactment of the Water Pollution Control Ordinance to provide statutory powers over the control of effluents to the aquatic environment.

  • Enactment of the Waste Disposal Ordinance to provide statutory powers over waste collection and disposal.


1981

  • Separation of the Environmental Policy Unit from the Government Secretariat to form the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Dissolution of the Environment Branch, with the Home Affairs Branch becoming the policy branch for the environmental programme area.

  • Publication of the first issue of "Environment Hong Kong" describing all Government activities on pollution prevention and control.


1982

  • Declaration of the Tolo Harbour as the first Water Control Zone.

  • The Health and Social Welfare Branch replaces the Home Affairs Branch as the policy branch for the environmental programme area.


1983

  • Enactment of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance which introduced air control zones and air quality objectives in respect of these zones and designated the Commissioner for Labour as the Control Authority.

  • First visit of a delegation from the Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau, led by Director Jin Yang, to Hong Kong in January.


1984

  • Revival of the Environmental Pollution Advisory Committee and disbandment of the Special Committees on Land and Water, Air and Noise.


1985

  • Inclusion of an "Environment" Chapter into the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines.

  • Launching of Hong Kong's first international conference on "Pollution in the Metropolitan Environment: POLMET '85."

  • POLMET series of conferences on 2nd to 5th December.


1986

  • Establishment of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) on 1st April, bringing the majority of pollution prevention and control activities under one umbrella. Dr Stuart Reed was appointed as the first director of the department.

  • Enactment of Water Pollution Control Regulations under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (1980).

  • Issuing of government circular on the Environmental Review of major public sector development projects.

  • Enactment of the Civil Aviation (Aircraft Noise) Ordinance to provide the statutory powers required for the control of noise from aircraft.

  • Endorsement by Executive Council of the general principle of providing equitable redress to persons affected by new roads, in the form of direct technical remedies such as barriers and enclosures.

  • Declaration of the Harbour and Tsuen Wan - Kwai Chung Air Control Zones.


1987

  • Declaration of 1st April as First Appointed Day for Tolo Harbour Water Control Zone.

  • Commencement of the Sewerage Master Plan programme.

  • Enactment of the Civil Aviation (Aircraft Noise) (Certification) Regulations and the Civil Aviation (Aircraft Classes) Notice to prohibit those Hong Kong registered aircraft, which do not possess a noise certificate, from operating in and out of Hong Kong.

  • Enactment of the Air Pollution Control (Specified Processes) Regulations to bring potential major emitters known as Specified Processes under control.

  • Establishment of Statutory Air Quality Objectives for declared Air Control Zones.


1988

  • Declaration of 1st August as First Appointed Day for the Southern Water Control Zone.

  • Implementation of the Livestock Waste Control Scheme commenced.

  • Enactment of the Noise Control Ordinance to provide statutory powers for the control of noise from domestic and public places, construction sites, industrial and commercial premises and noisy products.

  • Establishment of Planning, Environment and Lands Branch as the policy branch for the environmental programme area.


1989

  • Publication of White Paper on Pollution: A Time to Act.

  • Declaration of 1st August as First Appointed Day for the Port Shelter and Junk Bay Water Control Zones.

  • Publication of Statutory Waste Disposal Plan under the Waste Disposal Ordinance.

  • Formulation of the Sewage Disposal Strategy for Hong Kong.

  • Enactment of the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance (1989) to comply with the requirements of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

  • Banning of use of solid and liquid fuels in industrial and commercial plants in Sha Tin.

  • Declaration of eight additional Air Control Zones to cover the whole Territory.

  • Implementation of major provisions under the Noise Control Ordinance on the control of noise from construction work during nighttime and holidays, and from industrial and commercial activities.

  • Endorsement by Executive Council of the general principle of using acoustic insulation for institutional buildings affected by increased noise from new roads.

  • Enactment of the Civil Aviation (Aircraft Noise) (Limitation on Operation of Engines and Auxiliary Power Units) Regulation and the Civil Aviation (Aircraft Noise) Notice to limit the noise from aircraft operations both on the airside and on ground activities.


1990

  • Declaration of 1st December as First Appointed Day for the Deep Bay and Mirs Bay Water Control Zones.

  • Major amendments to the Water Pollution Control Ordinance to eliminate exemption for existing dischargers and to introduce a Technical Memorandum on discharge limits.

  • Commissioning of Hong Kong's first Refuse Transfer Station at Kowloon Bay.

  • Phasing out of the Lai Chi Kok incinerator and Jordan Valley landfill.

  • Launching of the first Environmental Protection Festival by the newly established Environmental Campaign Committee (ECC).

  • Implementation of the Air Pollution Control (Fuel Restriction) Regulation to limit the sulphur content and viscosity of fuel oils.

  • First meeting of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Environmental Protection Liaison Group on 11th July.


1991

  • Publication of the 1st Review of the 1989 White Paper.

  • Introduction of unleaded petrol on 1st April.

  • Establishment of the first two Local Control Offices in EPD.

  • Launching of the Marine Dumping Action Plan to strengthen control over marine dumping operations and to deter marine dumping offences.

  • Commissioning of the Sha Ling Livestock Waste Composting Plant.

  • Enactment of the Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations to require all new vehicles up to 2.5 tonnes to comply with stringent emission standards, and for all new vehicles with petrol engines to operate only on unleaded petrol, as from 1st January 1992.

  • Enactment of the Noise Control (Air-Compressors) Regulations 1991 and the Noise Control (Hand Held Percussive Breakers) Regulations to require the equipment to comply with prescribed noise standards and to be affixed with a noise emission label before they could be used in Hong Kong.


1992

  • Completion of Hong Kong's first "over-road" noise barrier at Tate's Cairn Tunnel approach roads to protect adjacent high rise dwellings from road traffic noise.

  • Commissioning of the Island East Refuse Transfer Station.

  • Enactment of regulations under the Waste Disposal Ordinance for the control of chemical wastes.

  • Declaration of 1st April as First Appointed Day for the North Western Water Control Zone.

  • Completion of the North West Kowloon sewage treatment and disposal project.

  • Launching of the Dr Catherine Lam - the EPD's new marine environment monitoring vessel.

  • Governor's Address to the Legislative Council introducing a new requirement that all Executive Council policy and project papers should contain an Environmental Implications paragraph.

  • Introduction of requirement for Environmental Implications paragraph in all Public Works Sub-Committee and Finance Committee papers.

  • Signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between Hong Kong and Canada on Environmental Collaboration.

  • Amendment of the Road Traffic Ordinance to empower the Commissioner for Transport to direct traffic on environmental grounds.


1993

  • Commissioning of comprehensive Chemical Waste Treatment Centre - the first in South East Asia.

  • Phasing out of the Kennedy Town Incinerator.

  • Commissioning of West New Territories (WENT) Landfill, the first strategic landfill of Hong Kong.

  • Declaration of 1st June as First Appointed Day for the Eastern and Western Buffer Water Control Zones.

  • Amendment of the Water Pollution Control Ordinance to provide powers to require existing premises to connect to new sewers.

  • Opening of three new Local Control Offices in EPD bringing the total to five.

  • Amendment of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance to empower the Secretary to remove exemptions from licensing control previously enjoyed by the existing specified processes, and to extend control to environmental asbestos particularly on the management and removal of asbestos in buildings.

  • Enactment of the Ozone Layer Protection (Products Containing Scheduled Substances) (Import Banning) Regulation to prohibit the import of products containing CFCs or halons from countries which are non-parties to the Montreal Protocol.

  • Enactment of the Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation to prohibit the venting of, and to require the use of, approved equipment to recover CFC-based refrigerants during the maintenance or dismantling of motor vehicle air-conditioners or chillers containing more than 50 kg of refrigerant, as from 1st January 1994.

  • Commissioning of Hong Kong's first flue gas desulphurisation system at Hongkong Electric's Lamma Power Station.

  • Commissioning of Hong Kong's first low nitrogen oxide burners at China Light and Power's Tap Shek Kok Power Station.

  • Launching of Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation's $500m programme to reduce the effects of noise from its operations.

  • Publication of the Second Review of the 1989 White Paper.

  • Opening of the first Environmental Resource Centre at the Wan Chai Old Post Office.

  • Governor's Address to the Legislative Council introducing requirement for Government Departments to appoint a "Green Manager".


1994

  • Expansion of the Environmental Pollution Advisory Committee's (EPCOM) advisory role on pollution control to sustainability of the environment; EPCOM renamed the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE).

  • Banning the import of halons from 1st January and implementation of a quota and licensing control on 3,4-hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), 3,4-hydrobromo-fluorocarbons (HBFC), and methyl bromide under the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance.

  • Quarterly release of the list of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to the press media.

  • Establishment of the EIA Subcommittee under the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) to consider EIAs.

  • Holding of Canada/Hong Kong Joint EIA Seminar in Hong Kong under the Canada/Hong Kong Memorandum of Understanding.

  • Introduction of Technical Memoranda for Issuing Air Pollution Abatement Notices to control air pollution from stationary polluting processes, and for specifying Air Quality Objectives for Hong Kong.

  • Enactment of the Air Pollution Control (Motor Vehicle Fuel) Regulation to require the use of better quality automotive diesel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.2% which became effective on 1st April.

  • Launching of the first territory-wide action-oriented waste reduction programme the year-long "Use Less Plastic Bags Campaign".

  • Publication of the first Performance Pledge of EPD.

  • Amendment of the Waste Disposal Ordinance to provide for comprehensive control on livestock waste, to introduce stiffer penalties for illegal dumping of waste and to define an offence for breaching of the licence conditions of waste collection and disposal licences.

  • Enactment of the Waste Disposal (Livestock Waste) (Amendment) Regulation to set out specific statutory requirements in relation to livestock waste control scheme.

  • Amendment of the Noise Control Ordinance to tighten up control on noisy construction equipment and noisy manual construction work during restricted hours in densely populated areas and to double the maximum fines for noise offences.

  • Enactment of the Water Pollution Control (Sewerage) Regulation to require proper connection of wastewater from premises to the public sewerage system and proper maintenance and operation of private wastewater treatment facilities.

  • Enactment of the Water Pollution Control (General) (Amendment) Regulation to improve the enforcement efficiency.

  • Opening of the EPD Visitors Centre in Revenue Tower at Wan Chai.

  • Commissioning of the South East New Territories (SENT) Landfill, the second strategic landfill of Hong Kong.

  • Commissioning of the Sha Tin Refuse Transfer Station, the third refuse transfer station of Hong Kong.

  • Decommissioning of the Mui Wo incineration plant.

  • Completion of two pilot environmental audits of government departments.

  • Endorsement of the overall framework of the EIA Bill by the ACE and the joint Environmental Affairs/Lands and Works Panels of LegCo.

  • Declaration of the Victoria Harbour (Phase One) Water Control Zone with effect from 1st November.


1995

  • Commissioning of the North East New Territories (NENT) Landfill, the third strategic landfill of Hong Kong.

  • Introduction of a charging scheme for the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre (CWTC) to recover the running costs from its users.

  • Establishment of a new Local Control Office (Urban East) to serve the communities of Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City.

  • Introduction of cleaner diesel fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.2 per cent under the Air Pollution Control (Motor Vehicle Fuel) Regulation. Introduction of stringent diesel vehicle emission standards under the Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations.

  • Opening of the Construction Waste Recycling Facility at SENT Landfill.

  • Introduction of charges for MARPOL waste at the CWTC.

  • Implementation of newly localised Dumping at Sea Ordinance.

  • Launching of Hong Kong's first Air Pollution Index (API) and forecast system by EPD to provide the community with a guide to the air pollution levels to which they are exposed.

  • Opening of a new sewage treatment works at Stanley - the first in Asia built in a rock cavern.

  • Control of all livestock farms in the North and Tuen Mun districts under legislation requiring them to meet environmental requirements.

  • First anniversary of the "Use Less Plastic Bags Campaign". Reduction in plastic bags used was over 35 million, from 1 500 major retail outlets. Some retailers achieved reductions as high as 33%.

  • Declaration of the Victoria Harbour Water Control Zone Phase II to control the discharges from Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon City, Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po and a small part of Sha Tin.

  • Extension of the 24-hour pollution complaint hotline service to six local hotlines to handle complaints on a district basis.

  • Endorsement of the completion of the first transboundary EIA study jointly undertaken by Hong Kong and Guangdong for the Shenzhen River Regulation Project by the Advisory Council on the Environment.

  • Launching of the Student Environmental Protection Ambassador Scheme.


1996

  • Enactment of the Air Pollution Control (Open Burning) Regulation to put open burning activities under control.

  • Banning of the import of five groups of ozone depleting substances - CFCs, other CFSs, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and HBFCs for local consumption and importation of HCFCs was subjected to import licensing and quota control from 1 January 1996.

  • Establishment of EPD's homepage in the World Wide Web to disseminate general environmental information of Hong Kong to the public.

  • Declaration of 1st April 1996 as First Appointed Day for the Victoria Harbour Water Control Zone (Phase III) bringing the whole territory under water pollution control.

  • The 10th anniversary of EPD.

  • Appointment of Mr Robert J.S. Law as the new director of the department.

  • Registration of asbestos consultants, contractors, supervisors and laboratories with qualifications set out in the Air Pollution Control (Asbestos) (Administration) Regulation.

  • Prohibition of sale and import of amosite and crocidolite asbestos under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance.

  • Extension of the control of livestock waste to Tuen Mun, Kam Tin River and part of Yuen Long area.

  • Commissioning of a door-to-door livestock waste collection contract to assist farm operators to dispose of livestock waste properly.

  • Requirement for all vehicles, including motorcycles, applying for first registration in Hong Kong to meet stringent noise emission standards.

  • Amendments of the Waste Disposal Ordinance to control the import and export of waste by permit.

  • Gazetting of the Air Pollution Control (Specific Processes) (Removal of Exemption) Order 1996 to remove exemptions granted to existing organic chemical works (i.e. oil terminals and organic chemical plants) and rendering works (i.e. lard boiling factories).

  • Publication of EPD's Green Management Policy.

  • Implementation of new controls on the use of some particularly noisy construction equipment and the carrying out of certain noisy manual construction activities in populated areas during nighttime and holidays.

  • Setting up of a mobile environmental resource centre to provide the public with easy access to information on environmental protection during the Serving the Community Week.

  • Amendment of the Ozone Layer Protection (Products Containing Scheduled Substances) (Import Banning) Regulation to ban the import of portable fire extinguishers containing halons from all countries.


1997

  • Enactment of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance to set out the framework for controlling environmental impacts of major development projects.

  • Introduction of EPD's one-stop-shop service counters at six EPD Local Control Offices to accept applications for environmental licences or permits relating to construction sites irrespective of location.

  • Amendment of the Waste Disposal Ordinance to enable effective implementation of waste disposal charging and maintenance of site safety and order.

  • Production of a promotional video "Green Families" to encourage public participation in household waste separation and recovery.

  • Tightening of vehicle emission standards for all newly registered diesel vehicles over four tonnes to Euro II Standards under the Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulations.

  • Reduction of the sulphur content of auto diesel from 0.2% to 0.05% under the Air Pollution Control (Motor Vehicle Fuel) Regulation.

  • Controls on noise from vehicle burglar alarms.

  • Phasing out of the three noisiest types of percussive piling hammer in built-up areas under the Noise Control Ordinance.

  • Commissioning of a new chemically-enhanced primary sewage treatment plant on Stonecutters Island as part of the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme.

  • Commissioning of a study to develop a long term strategy for treatment and disposal of sludge.

  • Completion of a survey report on the Use of Environmental Teaching Kits in Hong Kong.

  • Introduction of the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation to cut down dust emission from construction activities.

  • Implementation of a new control under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance which requires only registered asbestos professionals be allowed to carry out work involving asbestos.

  • Approval of the Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process by the Legislative Council, setting out clear guidelines and criteria for carrying out EIAs.

  • Implementation of the final phase of the Livestock Waste Control Scheme on 1st July.

  • Introduction of a pilot scheme on the use of a chassis dynamometer to test light duty diesel vehicle emissions more effectively.

  • Approval of the regulation on fees and appeal board procedures under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance by the Provisional Legislative Council.

  • Launching of the liquefied petroleum gas taxis pilot scheme.

  • Uploading of the Environment Campaign Committee Organ (ECCO) Bulletin onto the Internet.

  • Opening of the second Environmental Resource Centre at Tak Wah Park in Tsuen Wan - funded by the Environment and Conservation Fund and the Woo Wheelock Green Fund.


1998

January

  • Extension of comprehensive one-stop-shop service, covering all pollution control licence applications, to all Local Control Offices, Southorn Centre, Revenue Tower and World Trade Square. The service gives the public access to information, application forms and an advisory service about all licensing and pollution control activities in one place.


February

  • Commissioning of a study to upgrade the Tai Po Sewage Treatment Works.


March

  • Commissioning of a study to investigate the feasibility of Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme Stage III/IV.

  • Launching of "Waste Recycling Competition in Housing Estates" for promoting waste reduction and recycling in public and private estates.


April

  • Setting up of interdepartmental task force coordinated by EPD to tackle illegal waste disposal. Enforcement was stepped up during a three-month blitz from April to June which resulted in increased prosecutions, a reduction in illegal disposal, and improved coordination between departments to deal with new dumping sites.

  • Start of phase out of noisy piling hammers.

  • Implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance for controlling environmental impacts of major development projects.

  • Introduction of more stringent emission standards for diesel private cars to restrict them from registration and for light duty diesel vehicles other than taxis under the Air Pollution Control (Vehicle Design Standards) (Emission) Regulation.


June

  • Adoption of "Sustainable Development" as the theme for World Environment Day 1998. A series of programmes, such as a radio programme, second-hand bazaars, environmental workshop, exhibition and presentation ceremony for various awards, were organized.

  • Launch of the training programme for Instructors of "Scout Environmental Protection Ambassadors".

  • Enhancement of the Air Pollution Index system and introduction of a new Roadside Air Pollution Index.


July

  • Launch of a leaflet and completion of a series of seminars to promote the adoption of Corporate Environmental Reporting.


August

  • Visits to Shenzhen, Xiamen, Zhongshan and Malaysia by Outstanding Student Environmental Protection Ambassadors, Outstanding Environmental Protection Teachers and ECC members.

  • Visits to Sichuan by winners of the ECC Shell Environmental Awards for University Students. The champion institute was awarded an Environmental Protection Cup to keep for one year.


September

  • Issuing of the Technical Circular (Planning, Environment and Land's Bureau) on Procedures for Environmental Impact Assessment of Development Projects and Proposals.

  • Release of an instructional video on environmental auditing to all Government Green Managers.

  • Completion of a service-wide training programme for environmental auditors from interested bureaux and departments, and a programme on conducting environmental audits of selected government facilities.

  • Commencement of the training programme for more than 300 "Environmental Protection Volunteers".

  • Setting up of an inter-departmental Indoor Air Quality Management Group to coordinate developments on the control of indoor air quality.


October

  • Introduction of a webpage on beach water quality.

  • Launch of new Local Control Division performance pledges.

  • Launch of the Green Living Campaign which consisted of six different programmes: Green Housing Estates Competition, Green Families Nomination, "Bring Your Own Bag" promotion in supermarkets, Radio Programme on Clean Air, TV programme on Green Dining and Green Mother Comic and Essay Competition.

  • Training camps organized for Student Environmental Protection Ambassadors from October 1998 to July 1999.

  • Completion of the Survey on Community Attitudes Towards the Environment 1997/98.

  • Launch of a public consultation for introducing liquefied petroleum gas taxis on a large scale.

  • Approval of a consultancy to study the air quality in the Pearl River Delta Region.


November

  • Commissioning of a study to upgrade the Sai Kung Sewage Treatment Works.

  • Agreement reached at the Hong Kong - Guangdong Environmental Protection Liaison Group to work towards removing all effluent from the Deep Bay catchment as a long term goal.

  • Issuing on-site of records of inspections to polluters, from November 1998. This is a service improvement measure to enhance the transparency of our enforcement work and to improve our communication with polluters.

  • Uploading of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports exhibited under the EIA Ordinance onto a dedicated Internet homepage to facilitate public access.

  • Adoption of "Sustainable Development" as the theme for Environmental Protection Festival 1998. A series of programmes, such as a TV programme, relay race, "Generation Treasure Hunt", and "Seminar on Environmental Management and Competitive Advantage in the 21st Century", were organised.

  • Successful completion of the liquefied petroleum gas taxis pilot scheme.


December

  • Banning of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes in Hong Kong to tie in with the latest requirement of the Basel Convention.

  • Briefing given on Government Environmental Reporting to Controlling Officers as a follow-up to the Chief Executive's Policy Objective.

  • Gazetting of the Air Pollution Control (Petrol Filling Stations) (Vapour Recovery) Regulation to control benzene emissions from petrol filling stations.