Is of a Hong Kong
which enjoys an environment that is both
healthy and pleasant;
in which the community places a premium
on sustaining such an environment for both
themselves and future generations.
Is to contribute towards realising this vision
by applying our professional knowledge and judgement
and drawing on our experience in environmental
protection and conservation
to formulate policies and plans on environmental
protection and conservation;
to increase community awareness of environmental
protection and conservation issues;
to implement environmental protection legislation
and plans; and
|to participate in the
town planning process
|with a view to achieving and maintaining
a high standard of environmental quality and conservation.
Hong Kong is a high consumption society. While the
Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has achieved
some success in managing and controlling the liquid,
solid and gaseous wastes being generated, our environment
still has much room for improvement. The EPD recognises
that a sustainable environment requires everybody in
the community to share responsibility, a message we
promoted in 2005.
In terms of water pollution, we need
to press ahead with the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme
(HATS) Stage Two to clean up the rest of Victoria Harbour
and enhance sewage treatment. This will be expensive
and businesses and households have to pay the full cost
of treating their sewage in line with the polluter pays
Cost was also on the agenda for waste. The Waste Disposal
Ordinance was amended to allow construction waste charges
to be introduced. We plan to introduce a bill on municipal
solid waste charges to the Legislative Council in 2007.
We are also putting much effort into encouraging people
to recycle and reduce their waste.
Another major issue in 2005 was air pollution. Power
plants are a significant contributor to smog and we
introduced new limits on their emissions. The general
public was also asked to be less wasteful with electricity.
A Government initiative to set summer air-conditioning
temperatures at 25.5 degrees Celsius was promoted to
the community. We were also developing a mandatory energy
efficiency-labelling scheme for electrical appliances.
Furthermore, the Government has adopted a 4-pronged
approach to tackle environmental noise problems. We
are encouraging individuals and different sectors of
the community to contribute towards a quieter environment.
Protection Department (EPD) established a division to focus
on cross-boundary and international co-operation in April
2005, following our merger with the environment arm of the
Environment, Transport and Works Bureau. Many of our programmes
have an element of cross-boundary collaboration and the new
division will deal with this. It will also handle Hong Kong's
compliance with international conventions on the environment,
and promote our work abroad.
The high-level Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint
Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental
Protection held its sixth meeting in December 2005. The emphasis
was on air and water pollution.
Hong Kong and Guangdong have agreed on a joint plan of action
to reduce air pollution to well below 1997 levels by 2010.
Details of Hong Kong's efforts to reach its targets are in
Chapter 6 of this pamphlet. Guangdong has
also introduced a wide range of measures to reduce pollution.
the two administrations launched a joint regional air quality
monitoring network comprising 13 stations in Guangdong and
three in Hong Kong, which provides the daily Regional Air
Quality Index for each station. Separately, members of the
Pan Pearl River Delta Co-operation agreed in 2005 to co-operate
to control water pollution along the length of the Pearl River.
The members include nine Mainland provinces, Hong Kong and
The EPD consulted stakeholders on the preparation
of the Hong Kong Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention
on Persistent Organic Pollutants. We also made preparations
to implement in Hong Kong the Rotterdam Convention on the
Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals
and Pesticides in International Trade.
environment requires everybody in the community to adopt
greener practices. This is an on-going challenge. In
2005 the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) sought
to improve the community's performance by focusing on
two areas where people can make the most difference,
waste reduction and energy conservation.
Our landfills are depleting faster
than expected. To help the situation the EPD is expanding
recycling opportunities. In 2005 we promoted waste separation
and recycling through two television programmes. Our
officers also visited housing estates, shopping malls
and other places to explain and demonstrate waste separation.
In December the annual Environmental Protection Festival
adopted the theme "Reduce and Avoid Waste" and featured
a "Zero Waste" walk and a Waste Electrical and Electronic
Equipment Recycling Day.
In addition to waste reduction, we
promoted energy conservation. In 2005 the Government
set its summer air-conditioning temperatures at 25.5
degrees Celsius. The community was urged to follow suit
in an Announcement of Public Interest produced for World
Environment Day, June 5.
Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has
adopted the polluter pays principle, but financial
tools are not the only means of encouraging responsible
behaviour. We have formed partnerships with targeted
trades in recent years with the result that non-compliance
and complaints have dropped dramatically.
Our four formal partners are
the construction industry, restaurants, vehicle
repair workshops and property management. Since
2000 complaints against these industries have
dropped a total 22% and convictions more than
90%. Some of the initiatives launched in 2005
included working with the Environment, Transport
and Works Bureau to introduce payment to contractors
for a good environmental performance, and developing
guidelines on cold water thawing for restaurants.
We also launched a Green Garage web site and enlisted
property managers to help us with our waste reduction
The EPD does not have the resources
to form partnerships with every industry, but
we are developing other ways to reach out to a
wider range of operators. Recently we have developed
templates for ISO 14001 environmental management
systems that can help businesses meet ISO 14001
Apart from working with operators,
the EPD has a customer service arm to serve the
community. In 2005 we handled more than 56 000
complaints and enquiries and we received very
favourable feedback on our performance through
an Interactive Voice Response survey.
To avoid future environmental problems and improve
the environment, the Environmental Protection Department
(EPD) seeks to promote responsible behaviour by project
proponents and improve the public's understanding of
the possible impacts of proposed developments. Two tools
help us here: the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
(EIAO) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs).
Since 1998, when the EIAO was enacted,
1.5 million people have been protected from adverse
environmental consequences from proposed developments.
Recent examples of successful application of the EIAO
include the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's Lok
Ma Chau Spur Line project, and land decontamination
at the old Kai Tak airport site.
SEAs are used to assess the impacts
of policies at an early stage. The Chief Executive acknowledged
their importance when he announced in his October 2005
policy address that all major government policies would
be subject to environmental protection scrutiny. The
EPD is keen to encourage public participation in the
SEA process, and in December 2005, we launched a web-based
SEA knowledge centre.
Continuous public involvement is an
approach that aims to facilitate public engagement during
the inception stage of the planning process, to avoid
later problems. The EPD is promoting use of a 3-D EIA
tool to that end, as it gives a clear picture of the
impacts of proposed projects. By the end of 2005 eight
major proposed projects had incorporated this tool into
has become a fairly frequent occurrence in Hong
Kong, generating much concern about public health
and the environmental impacts of poor air quality.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
has introduced programmes to control local air
pollution and is working with Guangdong authorities
to address regional air pollution. One message
we are promoting is that polluters must take responsibility
for controlling their emissions.
The EPD has an extensive programme
to control motor vehicle emissions. As a result,
roadside air pollution has dropped by 14-17% (depending
on the pollutant) since 1999. However, power plants
are still a problem. They emit 92% of Hong Kong's
total sulphur dioxide emissions and high levels
of other pollutants. From August 2005 the EPD
required operators renewing their specified process
licences for power plants to reduce their total
emissions. Previously, only the pollution concentration
in emissions was controlled.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
also contribute to smog. They are contained in
such common products as paints, inks and selected
consumer products. The EPD has negotiated with
suppliers and secured their agreement to a mandatory
control on the VOC content in these products.
It is expected the control will come into effect
One million people in Hong Kong are affected
by excessive traffic noise, a figure that would
be much higher were it not for the Environmental
Protection Department's (EPD) efforts to control
the problem. Since 1990, over $1.3 billion has
been spent on low noise surfaces and road barriers
for new roads. Together with our professional
input provided at the planning stage of project
development, these measures have protected 740
000 people from excessive traffic noise. Low noise
surface has now been a standard practice for high
speed roads. However, noise from existing roads
remains a problem. In 2005 we consolidated our
efforts together into a package of five strategies
that aims to improve public understanding and
support for our initiatives.
First, we will continue to use
planning and prevention to protect citizens from
traffic noise from new roads. We are also looking
at how to make developers take greater account
of road noise in their plans.
Second, we are controlling vehicle noise emission
through legislation for new vehicle registrations.
We are also investigating how to enhance the community's
awareness in proper vehicle maintenance to reduce
Third, we are tackling traffic noise from existing
roads. Some 30 road sections are suitable for
retrofitting barriers, and 72 other local roads
for low-noise surfaces. That still leaves 550
existing roads with unacceptable traffic noise.
For some road sections, traffic management is
an option, but it will require greater support
and co-operation from vehicle operators and the
community to succeed.
Fourth, we are pursuing public education and partnership
to make people more aware of the road traffic
noise problem. A 3-D tool has been developed to
demonstrate road noise impacts on new developments.
We are also developing Practice Guides to encourage
drivers to adopt quieter driving practices.
The fifth strategy is research and development.
The EPD is working with local academics and professionals
to devise technological solutions to our traffic
Kong is rapidly running out of landfill space.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
has exhorted people to "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle".
Now we are adding a fourth 'R': take Responsibility
for the waste they generate. In 2005 we issued
"A Policy Framework for the Management of
Municipal Solid Waste (2005-2014)" addressing
every stage of waste generation and disposal.
Municipal solid waste loads are
growing at about three times the population growth
rate, which is unsustainable. We have three chief
goals to tackle the problem. First, reduce the
total waste generated by 1% a year from 2005-2014.
Second, increase waste recovery to 50% of the
total by 2014 from 40% today. And third, reduce
the total municipal solid waste disposed of at
landfills to less than 25% by 2014 as against
Floor-based source separation
of waste was introduced in some housing estates
in 2005 to make it easier for people to separate
their waste for recycling. This will extend to
80% of the population in Hong Kong by 2010.
User pay schemes are being introduced.
In 2005 new legislation was passed to enable the
introduction of charges for construction waste
disposal. We will introduce the Eco-responsibility
Bill to provide a legal framework for the producer
responsibility schemes in 2006, and a bill on
municipal solid waste charging into the Legislative
Council in 2007.
The EPD will adopt a multi-technology
approach to waste treatment. Biological treatment
will be used on source-separated biodegradable
waste, mechanical-biological treatment will be
used on mixed municipal solid waste, and thermal
treatment will be used on the remainder to reduce
its bulk by 90%. This should reduce pressure on
landfills. However, as landfills are still required
for inert wastes and waste residues from treatment,
we are pursuing a programme costing over $8 billion
to extend the existing landfills.
75% of sewage from Victoria Harbour is now
properly treated, but that still leaves some areas
of the harbour with unacceptable pollution levels.
To secure clean water in all areas in the long
term, we need to collect and treat the remaining
pollution. This will be costly. In accordance
with the polluter pays principle, the Government
has concluded that the community must help to
foot the bill.
The remaining sewage would be
treated under Stage Two of the Harbour Area Treatment
Scheme. In 2005 the Administration decided to
split this into two phases. Stage 2A would gather
the remaining untreated sewage from around the
harbour and introduce disinfection at the sewage
treatment facilities on Stonecutters Island. This
would cost $8.1 billion to build and $430 million
a year to operate and be completed by 2013-14.
Stage 2B would involve building biological facilities
to provide a higher, more expensive form of treatment.
A review of the timing of Stage 2B would be carried
out in 2010-11.
The Government will pay the capital
costs of Stage 2A. For long-term sustainability
to be achieved the polluter must pay the operating
costs. Currently, households and businesses pay
only half the cost of treating their sewage. It
is proposed that the sewage charges be gradually
increased until the full treatment costs are recovered.
When Stage 2A starts operation in 2013-14, an
average household would need to pay in the region
of $30 per month.
Conservation is a
new area of responsibility for the Environmental
Protection Department (EPD), handed over when
the department merged with the environment arm
of the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau
in April 2005. Our focus is on policy-making for
energy and nature conservation.
The Hong Kong Government published
"A First Sustainable Development Strategy
for Hong Kong" in May 2005 and one key focus
was renewable energy. Our target is to generate
1-2% of Hong Kong's electricity needs from renewable
sources by 2012. The two power companies have
agreed to set up production-scale wind turbines.
The EPD also worked on a mandatory energy efficiency-labelling
scheme during the year for room coolers, refrigerators
and compact fluorescent lamps, which will help
encourage consumers to use energy efficient products.
The Government unveiled the New
Nature Conservation Policy in November 2004 to
prioritise and enhance protection of important
ecological sites, particularly those on private
land. In 2005 approval was given to three pilot
management agreement projects proposed under that
policy. Non-governmental organisations will receive
Government funding to provide landowners with
financial incentives for conserving ecologically
sensitive sites. Separately, the EPD tabled a
new bill in the Legislative Council to better
protect endangered species.
Kong has seen a steady reduction in pollution
complaints and prosecutions over the past five
years, but there are still some persistent problem
areas. The Environmental Protection Department
(EPD) is continually developing ways to deal with
these offenders through legal and technological
means. We are also maintaining our vigilance so
we can respond to new and persistent problems.
Some examples of our work are described below.
waste is a grey area. Sometimes it is described
as second-hand goods, yet it has the potential
to harm human health and the environment. The
EPD has communicated with source countries of
this waste and conducted joint operations with
local and Mainland authorities against offenders.
This has helped to reduce offences. We have also
polished our legal arguments to contend that used
electronic appliances abandoned by overseas owners
are indeed waste and should be so regarded by
The on-going problem of livestock
waste is polluting rivers and streams and creating
noxious odours in the New Territories. The EPD
conducts regular enforcement activities against
offenders. In 2005 we also organised a workshop
for farmers and launched the Livestock Waste Information
System on our web site to make the sources of
river and stream pollution more transparent to
In 2005, a real-time monitoring
system was developed to enable the EPD to promptly
detect short dumping (dumped outside permitted
areas) and take immediate actions against these