Environment Bureau Environmental Protection Department ENVIRONMENT HONG KONG 2008
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4 Customer Service and Partnerships

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To work with others and continue to build partnerships in the pursuance of sustainable development objectives.


Highlights in 2007
  • The Compliance Assistance Centre provided about 450 help services per month to businesses and the general public.
  • The "Environmental Guide for Smart Business" was published to facilitate environmental compliance by local industries.
  • Training courses were developed with the construction industry for environmental officers, managers and supervisors on construction sites.
  • Technical specifications for mechanical truck covers were developed with the Development Bureau and truck operators.
  • A project by the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades to develop practical measures for controlling cooking fumes was supported by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).
  • A seminar on recent environmental challenges facing the vehicle repair trade was organised with the support of the Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee) and vehicle repair associations. 64 new environmental ambassadors were appointed.
  • The EPD and the Airport Authority collaborated to organise the 2007 Airport Environmental Best Practice – Air Quality Management Competition at the Hong Kong International Airport.
  • 25 150 pollution complaints and 35 811 general enquiries were received.

Many businesses want to improve their environmental performance and help make Hong Kong a cleaner city. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is keen to help them. We provide operators with information on environmental compliance, training, research and other assistance. Although we do not advise individual businesses directly on how to control their pollution, we try to ensure they have the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. Our efforts are paying off, as prosecutions and convictions for pollution offences have decreased in recent years (see Environmental Compliance for details). We will continue to expand our services and look for new opportunities to help operators comply in achieving a quality living environment for Hong Kong.

The partnership's spirit.

The partnership's spirit.

Compliance Assistance Centre

One of the most direct ways we help operators is through the Compliance Assistance Centre. The Centre opened in September 2006 next to a Mass Transit Railway station in Wanchai, making it easy for operators to drop in and get advice. The Centre assists about 450 businesses and individuals each month, helping them to understand their obligations and regulatory requirements and to find cost effective means of complying.

The most popular areas of enquiry are waste recycling, new technologies for environmental protection, and setting up a new business in Hong Kong. We also attach importance to corporate environmental management and to establishing systems that enable operators to go beyond legal compliance and achieve the highest green standards possible.

There is a strong customer-centric approach to the Centre's work, which is proving to be beneficial on several levels. First, we can serve operators directly and address their specific needs. Second, we can build up trust among the trades. A 2007 survey of companies that had used the Centre found 88 per cent rated its services "excellent/good"and more than 85 per cent had taken steps to improve their environmental performance after receiving our help or advice.

Average Distribution of Compliance Assistance Enquiries

A further benefit of our customer-centric approach has been recognition from within Government of the effectiveness of our work. During the year, the Efficiency Unit invited the EPD to share its experiences at the Centre with other departments and with overseas visitors.

Partnerships with key industries

The development of the Compliance Assistance Centre sprang from our partnerships with four key polluters – the construction trade, restaurants, vehicle repair workshops and property managers. These industries had been subject to increasing prosecutions and complaints and it was felt better progress might be made by listening to their concerns and providing advice on reducing non-compliance. The approach has worked. Since 2000 convictions against the four industries have dropped from a high of 1 095 to 152 in 2007.

Construction trade: Construction and demolition work by its nature has undesirable impacts, such as noise, waste, dust and water pollution. We have been working with operators for many years to train workers and control these problems. Recently we established partnership programmes with key stakeholders of mega projects such as the Kowloon Southern Link to enhance environmental awareness and compliance. We are also helping the industry to meet the Government's stricter environmental requirements for public works projects.

Since 2006 all new public works construction sites have had to appoint trained and qualified Environmental Officers to oversee implementation of environmental protection measures. By the end of 2007, more than 300 officers had been trained by the Construction Industry Council Training Academy, with the EPD contributing to curriculum development and the provision of teaching staff. The EPD has also advised the industry on developing mechanical truck covers for containing dust during the transportation of construction waste, as required for all new public works projects, and participated in award schemes that recognise good environmental practices, notably the Development Bureau's Annual Considerate Contractor Site Award Scheme and the Hong Kong Construction Association's Annual Hong Kong Construction Environmental Award Programme.

The Mechanical cover fitted to this truck contains dust when construction waste is being transported.

The Mechanical cover fitted to this truck contains dust when construction waste is being transported.

Restaurants kitchens are a constant source of cooking fumes.

Restaurants kitchens are a constant source of cooking fumes.
Restaurants: Our recent focus with restaurants is on technological solutions for controlling cooking fumes. A study being carried out by the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades and funded by the Trade and Industry Department, aims to develop practical guidelines and measures to help local restaurants tackle the problem. The EPD is providing technical advice and other support. So far the researchers have surveyed international trends and technologies, tested on-site cooking fume control at 20 restaurants and carried out laboratory studies of various control systems. The results will be finalised in 2008 and shared with the trade, and a support package will be distributed to restaurants.

Vehicle repair workshops: Recent environmental developments and challenges facing the vehicle repair trade were discussed at a seminar in July 2007, attended by more than 290 members of the trade. The event was organised jointly by the EPD, Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee), Hong Kong Vehicle Repair Merchants Association Ltd and Environmental Vehicle Repairers Association Ltd. The EPD in collaboration with the IVE and vehicle trade associations also organised an Environmental Ambassadors Appointment Ceremony in June to appoint 64 new ambassadors. Courtesy visits were made to 196 garages to promote the event and the partnership programme, and 110 stakeholders from the trade attended the appointment ceremony.

Property managers: The EPD is working to involve property managers in proper waste management, particularly in regard to the large waste loads produced by renovation work on housing estates. Sometimes the waste is illegally dumped so in 2007 we promoted the Flytipping Spotter Scheme to property managers. We also offered advice to property managers on practical measures for handling this waste.

Environmental Guide for Smart Business

The Compliance Assistance Centre and partnership programmes provide general advice and assist targeted industries, but there is still scope for reaching out to more operators. The Environmental Guide for Smart Business was launched in October 2007 to help specific trades understand the requirements they face and the assistance available to them.

Environmental Guide for Smart Business

The Guide provides a clear, concise overview of local environmental legislation and infrastructure, both as it applies to all trades and to 11 selected trades. The latter are considered to be the most affected by environmental legislation and include chemical processing, clinics and related laboratories, construction and building renovation, electrical and electronic industry, fisheries and poultry, food and beverage, laundry, dry-cleaning and garment services, metal products, recycling, textiles and clothing, and vehicle repair and services.

The Guide is available in a handy printed form and online so operators can easily access the information they need. In addition to explaining laws and regulations, it includes information on the technical and funding support available for local private enterprises, and tips on green management so operators can go beyond compliance.

Reaching out to operators requires persistence and ingenuity. We need to continue to drum home our message of "compliance and beyond", while finding new ways of delivering that message. An open door at the EPD, and an open approach in dealing with operators, help us to achieve a high degree of co-operation among industries and, in the end, a healthier, cleaner environment for Hong Kong.

An EPD officer promotes the Environmental Guide for Smart Business to a packed audience at a seminar.

An EPD officer promotes the Environmental Guide for Smart Business to a packed audience at a seminar.

Looking Ahead
Looking Ahead
  • The EPD will help the restaurant trade promote a support package on practical measures and guidelines for reducing cooking fumes from restaurants.
  • Collaborations will continue with related stakeholders to promote environmental compliance.
  • The web sites for partnership programmes will be enhanced to make them more user friendly.

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