To work with others and continue to
build partnerships in the pursuance of sustainable development
Launched a Safety and Environment Payment Scheme for contractors,
in which environmental payments are linked to performance.
Developed an ISO
14001 support package to help small and medium enterprises
in the electrical/electronic sector improve their environmental
Updated the environmental
management system support packages for SMEs to incorporate
the latest requirements for ISO 14001 certification.
Held a seminar and a workshop for restaurant operators on minimising
water use and pollution.
Conducted an Interactive Voice Response Survey on our Customer
Service Centre, with 98 per cent of respondents satisfied to
extremely satisfied with the service.
Launched a revamped Green
Restaurant web site and a new Green
Garage web site.
Held an appointment ceremony for Environmental Ambassadors
and a paint spraying seminar for the vehicle repair workshop
is a policy that rightly puts the onus for cleanup on those
who pollute. Fees and fines underscore the notion that operators
are obliged to redress the damage caused by their activities
and protect the environment. Yet financial tools are not the
only means of encouraging responsible behaviour. Education
and support can be just as effective, if not more so. The
Environmental Protection Department’s (EPD) partnership
programme is based around this concept. If we educate polluters
about environmental problems and how they can minimise them,
we can reduce offences. True, there will be holdouts, as discussed
in Chapter 11, but overall this
approach has achieved impressive results.
Non-compliance has plunged among our formal partners –
the construction trade, restaurants, vehicle repair workshops
and property management companies. These four were singled
out in the late 1990s because they received the most complaints
and convictions. But since 2000 complaints against them have
dropped 22 per cent, in line with a general decline for all
pollution complaints. More importantly, convictions are down
90 per cent. The four industries amassed 1 095 convictions
in 2000, or 65 per cent of the total, and only 111 convictions
in 2005, or 37 per cent of the total. The EPD’s efforts
to reach out to them with training, general advice and educational
programmes are bearing fruit. We are now seeking to extend
our reach to other operators.
Our formal partnership programmes began in response to a sharp
rise in complaints and convictions in the late 1990s. The programmes
were intended to be a carrot to the stick of enforcement. Rather
than only trying to catch operators polluting, the EPD began putting
greater effort into educating them on how to minimise their pollution.
As a result, improvements have been achieved in all four industries.
A spirit of goodwill has also been cultivated enabling the EPD and
operators to share views on a range of environmental issues and
understand each other’s needs.
Our first partnership was formed with the construction trade where
convictions have dropped from a high of 730 in 2000 to 60 in 2005.
We have organised conferences and workshops, published materials,
adapted the processing time of some applications to meet industry
needs and supported education programmes. In 2005 we worked with
the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau to expand a safety payment
scheme for contractors to include payment for good environmental
performance. Contractors who show they are meeting good environmental
standards – for example, by submitting an environmental management
plan, training staff and installing pollution abatement measures
– will receive the payment. The measure is intended to be
a positive means of encouraging compliance, rather than simply barring
contractors from tendering for certain projects.
|Officials of the Environment,
Transport and Works Bureau hold a seminar in July 2005 to brief
representatives from the construction sector on the main features
of the "Pay for Safety and Environment Scheme".
With restaurants, we have focused
on promoting technology to reduce water use and, as a result,
sewage flows. Special throttles installed in water taps were
tested in a pilot trial with the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute
in early 2004 and reduced consumption by 20-25 per cent. Guidelines
on cold water thawing, developed by the University of Hong Kong
with EPD support, were presented at an experience-sharing seminar
in February 2005 on green restaurant practices. A workshop in
March also looked at how to manage food waste, control pollution
and increase energy efficiency. Related findings and guidelines
have been placed on the Green Restaurant web site so restaurant
operators can access them easily. To make it more user-friendly,
this dedicated web site was revamped in August 2005.
|Various types of water saving
devices, which can fit easily into water taps, are available
in the market.
|Members of the restaurant trade and
EPD attend an experience-sharing seminar on green restaurants.
Green Restaurant web siteprovides useful information to
Pollution from vehicle repair workshops has been tackled through
an outreach programme. The Collaboration Scheme with Vehicle Repair
Workshops to Improve Environmental Compliance has helped to confine
problem workshops to a few blackspots. Volunteers from trade associations,
who are nominated as Environmental Ambassadors and receive training
from the EPD, educate their colleagues about the environmental problems
they are causing and how they can reduce them. Their efforts have
coincided with a drop in convictions for the industry from 65 in
2000 to six in 2005. In April 2005, 55 Ambassadors were appointed
for a new tenure. The EPD also launched a Green
Garage web site early in the year to provide garages with easy
access to guidelines, legal requirements and other relevant information.
|EPD officials with newly-appointed
Environmental Ambassadors for the vehicle repair industry.
Our fourth formal industry partner, property management, was heavily
involved in a scheme to promote floor-based source separation of
waste in 2005 (see Chapter 8 for details).
Some 223 housing estates have signed up and the EPD aims to have
80 per cent of the population in Hong Kong participating in the
source separation scheme by 2010. In addition, the Property Management
Ambassador Scheme has continued to enrol new members, with 576 ambassadors
appointed by the end of 2005. The EPD also continued to provide
advice, guidelines and training materials to the trade.
Partnerships have brought many environmental benefits to the participating
industries. Unfortunately, the EPD does not have the resources to
form partnerships with every industry in Hong Kong. We therefore
are seeking other ways to reach out to a wider range of operators.
Our aim is to promote compliance by providing operators with information,
pointing them in the right direction, answering questions and being
The EPD has developed ISO
14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) support packages
that can help businesses develop their own EMS and meet the latest
international requirements for improving environmental performance.
The first package, produced in December 2004, was targeted at small
and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the construction sector and another,
released in January 2005, was tailor-made for the electrical/electronic
sector. Both packages contain a User Manual and Generic ISO 14001
EMS Templates that can apply to any type of business.
The EPD also updated the two support packages in November 2005
to incorporate new requirements for ISO 14001, as existing certificates
will expire in May 2006. Tools like these, combined with a commitment
from senior managers, can help businesses meet ISO 14001 requirements
on their own and save on consultants’ fees.
We have also been developing a new platform to provide more specific,
tailor-made information for enterprises of all sizes. The Compliance
Assistance Centre will be launched in about mid-2006 at Southorn
Centre, near the Wan Chai MTR station. The accessible location will
make it easy for operators to drop in, collect up-to-date materials
and speak to staff about their needs. The intention is to provide
enhanced assistance to concerned trades in achieving environmental
compliance, pollution prevention and environmental management.
Partnership programmes and outreach like the Compliance Assistance
Centre aim to create a win-win situation for operators and the environment.
The EPD does not want to discourage industry, but to encourage it
to adopt better practices. A co-operative approach means we can
show operators that good practices can result in cost savings, as
well as a healthier environment. There are still a few bad apples
and our enforcement team is dealing with them. But they are increasingly
becoming isolated as more businesses realise the value and the rightness
of going green.
Protection Interactive Centre (EPIC) was upgraded
in 2005 to enable on-line application and processing of ten
types of licences. The response has been unsatisfactory so
far, possibly because people still prefer to apply for such
documents in person or by mail. The EPIC also provides access
to a wide range of environmental information and in 2005 received
440 000 hits.
web site, which was upgraded in 2005, supports the online processing
of ten types of licences.
The EPD’s Customer Service Centre
is the first stop for pollution complaints and enquiries from
the general public. In 2005 we received 56 779 calls, of which
19 389 were related to complaints. We resolved about half
the complaint calls over the phone and referred the other
half to our compliance team. The remaining calls were mostly
enquiries about our work.
The volume of calls makes customer service
a high priority for the EPD. We have established a system
where calls are handled by our staff, not machines, and the
average waiting time for getting through is six seconds. Less
than one per cent of calls are abandoned. An Interactive Voice
Response Survey in 2005 showed this approach was regarded
favourably by callers. 98 per cent of callers were satisfied
to extremely satisfied with our Customer Service Centre; 32
per cent of them were extremely satisfied. The centre was
also honoured in the Civil Service Outstanding Award Scheme
2005, receiving a merit award for its front line/counter service.
We were assessed for our commitment to service excellence,
our efficiency and user-friendliness and the manner and attitude
of our staff.
at the Customer Service Centre answer calls within six seconds.
Customer Service Centre received a merit award in the Civil
Service Outstanding Award Scheme 2005.
Set up a Compliance Assistance Centre to provide a one-stop
business facilitation service.
Work with a local trade association to develop a support package
for controlling cooking fume emissions from small and medium
Promote the use of more environmentally friendly paint spraying
technology and practices to vehicle repair workshops.
Launch an Interactive Voice Response Survey to gauge public
feedback on the quality of service provided by enforcement staff.
Develop tools and guidelines to help the construction trade
meet the requirements of the newly launched Pay for Safety and
Develop appropriate indicators to monitor and enhance the environmental
performance of contractors.
Promote implementation of waste management measures for private
Develop a plan to require ISO 14001 certification for public
sector construction projects.