|2.1 Environmental Ordinances|
|2.2 Latest Regulatory Requirements|
|2.3 Environmental Infrastructure in Hong Kong - Sewerage Network|
|2.4 Environmental Infrastructure in Hong Kong - Waste Control|
|2.5 Compliance Assistance Centre Regional Offices|
Overview of Environmental Legislation
and Infrastructure in Hong Kong
All trade and industrial activities in Hong Kong must operate in accordance with the statutory environmental standards and requirements set out by Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and other related Hong Kong SAR Government departments. The main environmental laws include:
• Air Pollution Control Ordinance
• Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance
• Noise Control Ordinance
• Water Pollution Control Ordinance
• Waste Disposal Ordinance
• Dumping At Sea Ordinance
• Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
• Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance
• Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance
Under these ordinances, there are subsidiary regulations, technical memoranda and codes of practices, providing controls over specific environmental issues. This section highlights the major ordinances concerned and the existing environmental infrastructure available.
Please see Sections 3 and 4 for details of legislative requirements.
2.1 Environmental Ordinances
Air Pollution Control Ordinance
This ordinance is the principal legislation for controlling emission of air pollutants and noxious odour from construction, industrial and commercial activities and other polluting sources. Subsidiary regulations of the ordinance impose control on air pollutant emissions from certain operations through the issue of licences and permits. For example, for those 31 industrial processes classified as Specified Processes under the ordinance (e.g. cement works, incinerators, petrochemical works, etc.), licences are required from EPD in advance. In case the operators cause excessive air pollution from their processes or machinery, EPD could issue Air Pollution Abatement Notice to ask them to reduce or stop their air pollutant emissions.
Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance
This ordinance prohibits the manufacturing of substances that deplete the ozone layer and imposes control on import, export and recycling of these substances. Through delegated authority from EPD, the Trade and Industry Department manages the import and export licensing system. Subsidiary regulations of the ordinance also impose control on certain refrigerants and import and export of the controlled products containing ozone depleting substances.
Noise Control Ordinance
This ordinance controls the noise from construction, industrial and commercial activities. For general construction activities that are carried out during the restricted hours and for percussive piling at all times, construction noise permits are required from EPD in advance. EPD could issue Noise Abatement Notice to any commercial/industrial operators generating excessive noise during their operations to ask them to reduce or stop their noise emission.
Water Pollution Control Ordinance
This ordinance controls the effluent discharged from all types of industrial, commercial, institutional and construction activities into public sewers, rainwater drains, river courses or water bodies. For any industries/trades generating wastewater discharge (except domestic sewage that is discharged into communal foul sewers or unpolluted water to storm drains), they are subject to licensing control by EPD.
Waste Disposal Ordinance
This ordinance controls the production, storage, collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of wastes. At present, livestock waste, clinical waste and chemical waste are subject to specific controls whilst unlawful deposition of waste is prohibited. Import and export of waste is generally controlled through a permit system.
Dumping at Sea Ordinance
Any waste producers involved in marine dumping and related loading operations are required to obtain permits from EPD. Materials to be controlled by the permit under this ordinance are mostly large quantities of sediment arising from dredging works.
Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
This ordinance is to avoid, minimize and control the adverse environmental impacts from Designated Projects as specified in Schedule 2 of the ordinance (e.g. public utility facilities, certain large-scale industrial activities, community facilities, etc.) through the application of the environmental impact assessment process and the environmental permit system prior to their construction and operation (and decommissioning, if applicable), unless exempted.
Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance
This ordinance aims to regulate, through an activity-based permit system, the import, export, manufacture and use of non-pesticide hazardous chemicals that have potentially harmful or adverse effects on human health or the environment.
Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance
The Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council on 10 July 2008 to provide the legislative framework for the implementation of Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS). The first PRS under the Ordinance is the environmental levy on plastic shopping bags. The objective of the environmental levy is to provide an economic incentive for the community to reduce the indiscriminate use of plastic shopping bags. For details, please refer to the web link:
2.2 Latest Regulatory Requirements
Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags
The levy scheme which commenced on 7 July 2009 provides a direct economic incentive to discourage the indiscriminate use of plastic shopping bags. Under the scheme, prescribed retailers are required to charge customers a 50 cent environmental levy for providing a plastic shopping bag with handle. Prescribed retailers include major and chain supermarkets, convenience stores, personal health and beauty stores, and supermarkets inside department stores.
Plastic shopping bag (PSB) charging has been fully implemented starting 1 April 2015 to promote reduction in the use of PSBs. All retailers in Hong Kong, irrespective of scale of operation and business nature, will have to charge customers not less than 50 cents for each PSB provided in retail sales of goods, save for situations where there is exemption. The PSB charge will be retained by the shops. For details, please refer to the web links:
Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation
The Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation controls the VOC contents of architectural paints/coatings, painting inks and six selected categories of consumer products (air fresheners, hairsprays, multi-purpose lubricants, floor wax strippers, insecticides and insect repellents) in phases starting from 1 April 2007. This regulation was amended in October 2009 to extend the control in phases starting from 1 January 2010 to other high VOC-containing products, namely vehicle refinishing paints/coatings, vessel and pleasure craft paint/coatings, adhesives and sealants. For details, please refer to the web link:
Ozone Layer Protection (Products Containing Schedules Substances) (Import Banning) (Amendment) Regulation
The Amendment Regulation extends the banning of the import of controlled products (including refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, and aerosol products such as metered dosed inhalers) containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons to those containing other scheduled substances including hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and bromochloromethane (BCM). The Amendment Regulation was passed on 2 December 2009 and implemented by phases starting from 1 January 2010. For details, please refer to the web link:
Air Pollution Control (Motor Vehicle Fuel) Regulation
The regulatory control on motor vehicle biodiesel is set out in the amendments to this Regulation with the following key elements:
(a) Biodiesel Specifications
(i) pure biodiesel has to comply with the specifications stipulated in the Regulation; and
(ii) biodiesel blends must be blended from pure biodiesel and motor vehicle diesel.
(b) Labelling Requirements
(i) a label is required for selling diesel with biodiesel content over 5%; and
(ii) the biodiesel content should not deviate from that as claimed by more than 1%.
(c) Penalty for Non-compliance
(i) Non-compliance to (a) or to (b) will attract a maximum fine of $50,000.
For details, please refer to the web link:
| Did you know?
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, used cooking oil, etc. It can be used to power motor vehicles in pure form or in blends with motor vehicle diesel.
Not all diesel vehicles are compatible with biodiesel or its blends with motor vehicle diesel. Vehicle manufacturers generally accept the use of motor vehicle diesel containing up to 5% biodiesel to power their vehicles.
Biodiesel is a form of renewable energy. The carbon dioxide emitted during its combustion will be absorbed via photosynthesis by plants producing the feedstock for making biodiesel. The wider use of biodiesel in lieu of fossil diesel, which is non-renewable, is therefore conducive to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and arresting global climate changes due to the rising greenhouse gas level.
For More Details of Environmental Legislation
All environmental legislation is available through:
For any update on or new environmental legislation, you may visit:
2.3 Environmental Infrastructure in Hong Kong - Sewerage Network
The effluent discharged from most of the population in Hong Kong is collected and transferred to sewage treatment plants for treatment before discharge. There are more stringent requirements for discharging effluent into the area without government sewer. The Drainage Services Department (DSD) is responsible to provide wastewater and stormwater drainage services for Hong Kong. For more details of the sewerage strategy for Hong Kong, please refer to the web link of DSD:
2.4 Environmental Infrastructure in Hong Kong - Waste Control
In Hong Kong, various waste disposal and treatment facilities have been established to handle different types of wastes:
|Waste Disposal / Treatment Facilities||Type(s) of Waste Collected (see Appendix G for interpretation of waste)||Permits / Registration Required for Waste Producers / Collectors|
(Note: Special waste is disposed of at the designated landfills only)
|- municipal solid waste
- livestock waste
- animal carcasses
|- non-inert construction waste||charging scheme started on 20.1.2006|
|certain types of Part A
|register as Chemical Waste Producers and notify EPD prior to disposal|
|certain types of Part B
|register as Chemical Waste Producers|
|Chemical Waste Treatment Centre at Tsing Yi||Part A Chemical Waste (hazardous waste)||register as Chemical Waste Producers and notify EPD prior to disposal|
|Part B Chemical Waste||register as Chemical Waste Producers|
|clinical waste (collectors should apply for a clinical waste collection licence from EPD)||if the clinical waste is a type of Part A or Part B Chemical Waste, follow the same requirements as for Chemical Waste (see Section 4.2)|
|Animal Waste Composting Plant||animal waste||
| Grease Trap Waste Treatment
Facility at West Kowloon
Refuse Transfer Station
|grease trap waste||collectors have to apply for a Grease Trap Waste Vehicle Registration Account with EPD|
|Public Fill Reception Facilities||inert construction materials suitable for reuse in reclamation||obtain dumping licence from Civil Engineering and Development Department|
|Low-level Radioactive Waste Storage Facility at Siu A Chau||low-level radioactive waste||get approval from Department of Health|
You may need to engage suitable waste collectors for proper collection, delivery and disposal of your waste. For the list of special waste collectors, please refer to the web link:
2.5 Compliance Assistance Centre and Regional Offices
|If you have any queries about the environmental legislation or infrastructure, please approach the Compliance Assistance Centre or the nearest Regional Offices of Environmental Protection Department (see Appendix A for their contact details).|