Environment Hong Kong 2006 Chapter 1: IntroductionChapter 2: Cross-boundary and International Co-operationChapter 3: Community AwarenessChapter 4: Customer Service and PartnershipChapter 5: Environmental Assessment and Planning
Chapter 6: AirChapter 7: NoiseChapter 8: WasteChapter 9: WaterChapter 10: ConservationChapter 11: Environmental Compliance
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Chapter 3 Community Awareness
 
Mission:

To promote community environmental awareness through campaigns, publicity, education and action programmes, with a view to harnessing the community’s support for, and contribution to achieving desired environmental goals, thereby securing a long term solution to environmental problems through development of an improved environmental ethic within the community.
 
Highlights in 2005

 

  • Adopted "Fresh Air, Cool City" as the theme of World Environment Day 2005, to encourage people to switch off idling vehicle engines and set air-conditioning temperatures at 25.5 degrees Celsius.

  • Organised the first Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling Day and "Zero Waste" walk for the Environmental Protection Festival 2005.

  • Implemented partnership programmes with private organisations to promote waste reduction and energy conservation awareness.

  • Joined the Pan Pearl River Delta Regional Environmental Protection Industry Co-operation Exhibition with the Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau to promote regional co-operation in environmental protection.

  • Broadcast ten one-minute television programmes and a 30-minute programme to promote waste reduction.


STRENGTH in NUMBERS

Students visit the Fanling Environmental Resource Centre.

Pollution is often the result of a collective impact, of a thousand small actions adding up to one big problem. A thousand plastic bags, a thousand discarded newspapers and a thousand homes and offices with the air-conditioners running too high for cooling can all put strains on Hong Kong’s environment. Getting people to change their actions and adopt greener habits is an on-going challenge. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) hopes that a sharper focus for our messages will help encourage people to do more.

The department is seeking to build on our wide-ranging community programmes, which have successfully helped raise awareness of environmental protection, and focus on those areas where individuals can make the biggest difference. Reducing waste and conserving energy are within everyone’s abilities and circumstances. The EPD concentrated its community-based activities on these two areas in 2005 in the expectation that individual actions will, collectively, help reduce waste and energy consumption.

Recycling Opportunities

Our landfills are rapidly depleting and wider community participation in waste reduction is urgently needed. In 2005 the EPD sought to increase the opportunities for recycling waste. The "three-bin" collection scheme, in which waste paper, aluminium cans and plastic bottles are collected in bins scattered around housing estates, is giving way to a domestic waste source separation programme. This will provide more convenient facilities for sorting waste and enable more types of waste to be collected for recycling (see Chapter 8 for details).

Housing estate residents participate in a road show promoting the Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste. Television programmes explain Hong Kong’s waste problem and show how to practise waste reduction at home.

At the same time, the department is striving to make people more aware of how to reduce their waste. We are doing this in three ways. First, general awareness is being promoted through the local media, including television, radio stations and local newspapers. Ten one-minute television programmes were produced in 2005 explaining Hong Kong’s waste problem and showing how to practise waste reduction at home. A separate half-hour programme on the Government’s waste management policy was also broadcast. We also produced APIs (announcements of public interest) on a variety of waste issues, as well as disseminated waste reduction messages through the printed media.

Our second awareness-raising measure involves sending people into the community to deliver talks, answer questions and give practical demonstrations of waste separation. In 2005 our Community Green Network Programme mainly focused on waste issues. Green Desk was set up in housing estates and public places at times convenient to residents and roving exhibitions, workshops and other activities were organised to promote waste separation during the year. The Mobile Environmental Resource Centre, which also demonstrated waste recycling, had made about 110 community visits, attracting over 11 500 visitors.

Apart from raising awareness and know-how, our third initiative is to build up the capacity of property managers to implement green management and organise waste reduction activities in their estates. Training was provided through the Environmental Protection Ambassador Scheme for Property Management and the response has been overwhelming. More than 500 property managers joined in 2005 reflecting the enthusiasm with which this sector regards waste reduction.

The Mobile Environmental Resource Centre draws the interest of students on the Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste.

Promoting Waste Reduction

The crowning touch to our waste awareness activities in 2005 was the Environmental Protection Festival. This annual event has been organised by the Environmental Campaign Committee (ECC) for 15 years. This year, participants were exhorted to "Reduce and Avoid Waste". Officials from Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Zhongshan and Macao also participated in the event to symbolise the joint efforts of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao in reducing waste.

Dr Sarah LIAO, Secretary for the Environment, Transport & Works (centre), and guests from various Mainland Environmental Protection Bureaux and the Environment Council of Macao launch the "Zero Waste" walk at the Environmental Protection Festival 2005.

The festival was kicked off on December 4 with a "Zero Waste" walk from Siu Sai Wan Mini-Soccer Pitch to Big Wave Bay. More than 2 000 participants were encouraged to bring their own water, use handkerchiefs instead of tissues and leave only footprints behind. The launch also featured a four-metre Christmas tree made of recycled CDs, a demonstration on electronic waste recycling and green performances. It also marked the beginning of a series of waste reduction activities organised by green groups, community groups and District Councils, which will run until March 2006.

Around 2 000 participants join the "Zero Waste" walk from Siu Sai Wan to Big Wave Bay. The Champions of the Environmental Story Telling Competition perform in the opening ceremony of the Environmental Protection Festival 2005.

Another highlight of the festival was the territory-wide Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling Day held on December 11. Residents could bring their WEEE to about 200 collection points in the community, thus ensuring wide coverage of the waste reduction message. The aim was to encourage people to think beyond the three-bin waste of paper, metals and plastics, and bring in old computers, electrical and electronic appliances such as AV appliances and televisions, and accessories such as CDs, batteries and cassette tapes. About 101 tonnes of WEEE were collected on the day. Two community groups, Caritas Hong Kong and St James’ Settlement, repaired or dismantled the equipment. The repaired equipment was distributed to the needy and the rest recovered for re-use or recycling.

Conserving Energy

Although waste reduction has a high profile in our community work, energy conservation is an emerging concern. In 2005 the EPD took several steps to improve energy conservation, as described in Chapter 10. Of interest in terms of community awareness is an initiative to promote more efficient use of air-conditioners.

Air-conditioners consume one-third of Hong Kong’s total power needs and a one-degree increase in temperature can save about three per cent of the electricity used for air-conditioning. The Government has decided to lead the way and set air-conditioning temperatures at 25.5 degrees Celsius during summer months in government premises. From April to September 2005, government offices consumed two per cent less electricity over the same period in 2004. We are keen to see the public follow suit. The 25.5-degree initiative was promoted through a television API launched on June 5, the date designated as World Environment Day by the United Nations. A second API on energy conservation in general will also be launched in early 2006 to keep the issue in the public eye.

Our messages for both energy and waste are focused on reduction. Like any wealthy society, Hong Kong has become increasingly wasteful, throwing away useful materials and setting air-conditioners to uncomfortably chilly temperatures, often all year round. Clearly this is no longer sustainable. Each individual in the community should recognise that they have a responsibility to help achieve solutions.

Dr Sarah LIAO, Secretary for the Environment, Transport & Works (centre left), Mr K K KWOK, Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment) (centre right), Mr HO Kwong-wai, Acting Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services (right) and Mr Joseph LEE, Chairman of the Environmental Campaign Committee (left) launch World Environment Day 2005.

WORKING WITH SCHOOLS

Schools are a major focus of the EPD’s community work. For example, we engage schools in our waste reduction efforts. About 860 primary and secondary schools are equipped with recycling bins and 870 sets of demonstration bins have been placed in pre-schools. In 2005, 106 workshops featuring waste reduction were organised for schools to increase awareness among young people.

Outstanding SEPAs together with youth leaders from Hong Kong, the Mainland and Macao attend the Environmental Leadership Summer Camp 2005 with sponsorship from the MTR Corporation.

Students and schools are also encouraged to initiate green activities on campus through several long-running programmes. In 2005, 15 447 students joined the Student Environmental Protection Ambassador (SEPA) Scheme, while 778 schools joined the Schools Environmental Award Scheme. Programmes organised for outstanding SEPAs provide further training for young people to take responsibility for protecting the environment. In 2005, an Environmental Leadership Summer Camp was organised, bringing together outstanding and merit SEPAs as well as ambassadors from the Girl Guides, Scouts, Junior Police Call and Pearl River Delta region. Another ten outstanding SEPAs went on an environmental study visit to Singapore.

Schools were also encouraged to practise environmental management through the Hong Kong Green School Award and Hong Kong Green Pre-school Award. In 2005, 135 pre-schools and 147 primary and secondary schools participated in the Awards Schemes.

Students learn about waste reduction and recycling through interactive exhibits at the Fanling Environmental Resource Centre. The Honourable CHOY So-yuk, Chairperson of Legislative Council's Panel on Environmental Affairs (back row 4th from right), and other guests officiate the 5th Hong Kong Green School Award cum 2nd Hong Kong Green Pre-school Award presentation ceremony.

WORKING WITH BUSINESS

The business sector is an essential partner of the ECC in promoting environmental protection. The ECC established the Hong Kong Eco-Business Awards in 1999 to promote environmental management in the business sector. Since its introduction, more than 900 organisations have participated in the Award Scheme. In 2005, 144 organisations competed for the Green SME Award, Green Property Management Award and Green Construction Contractor Award. The winners will be announced in March 2006.

Apart from honouring green businesses, the EPD and ECC also launch activities and programmes in partnership with the business sector. For instance, the EPD and ECC jointly organised the Clean Air Day 2005 in November with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and Hong Kong Business Coalition on the Environment. The event promoted clean air messages such as asking drivers to switch off idling engines.

Mr K K KWOK, Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment) (centre left), and other officiating guests launch the 2005 Hong Kong Eco-Business Awards.

WORKING WITH ORGANISATIONS

The Government is keen to support waste reduction activities organised by green groups, community groups and other organisations. The Government’s Environment and Conservation Fund, for instance, provided grants for 34 Environmental Education and Community Action Projects in 2005.

Another initiative, begun in 2005, seeks to support waste reduction projects and build the capacity of less experienced groups in promoting and organising environmental activities. The goal is to widen community participation. From 2005, funds were provided for three projects that pair large green groups with less experienced groups to work on a one-year project on waste reduction.

Estates joining the Pilot Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste on organise publicity and educational programmes to enhance residents’ awareness of waste recovery.

LOOKING AHEAD

  • Continue to implement territory-wide publicity programmes to promote community participation in waste reduction and energy conservation.

  • Continue to organise education programmes targeting schools and the property management sector with a focus on waste reduction.

  • Promote environmental management in schools and the business sector, especially small and medium enterprises.

  • Spread green messages through the mass media and community outreach programmes.

  • Continue to encourage green groups and non-profit-making organisations to apply for Government funding to organise community-based environmental projects.




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