Environmental Protection Department Environmental Performance Report 2004 Environmental Performance Report 2004
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5
Our Contribution to the Environment
  5.4  Building Partnerships
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The EPD has developed partnerships with stakeholders and professionals at the local and national levels to exchange views and work jointly on environmental improvement programmes. It has also developed partnerships with operators in polluting industries to encourage greater compliance with the letter and spirit of environmental controls.

Locally

Formal partnerships

Formal partnerships were initiated in 2001 with four industries that attract a large number of pollution complaints – the construction industry, restaurants, vehicle repair workshops and property management. The partnerships involve training, producing manuals and offering advice, among other activities. The intention is to promote compliance and understanding without compromising enforcement actions (see 5.3 Effective Enforcement and Emergency Response for details).

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Construction Industry: The EPD and Hong Kong Construction Association jointly held three workshops for 710 participants in 2003. A 30-hour course on green construction management was introduced for the trade at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Green construction examples taken from Hong Kong construction sites were posted on the EPD website. And the EPD agreed to shorten the processing time for noise permit application from 18-23 days to 14 days, provided applications were in good order.
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Restaurants: Two local restaurant trade associations and related stakeholders worked with the EPD to organise a mooncake containers recovery programme. About 25 000 containers were collected, which were subsequently compacted and transported to the Mainland for recycling. An Environmental Help Desk Service, comprising a Hotline and a dedicated website, has been set up since June 2001 to provide free one-stop assistance advice for restaurants. In addition, a six-month trial was jointly conducted with the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute in 2003 on a water-saving device seen during a study trip to Japan in 2002.
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Vehicle Repair Workshops: A guidebook and educational VCD on how workshops can comply with environmental regulations was released in 2003. Preparations were also made for a “Green Garage Election 2004” to be held in 2004 with the Hong Kong Vehicle Repair Merchants Association Ltd and the Environmental Vehicle Repairers Association Ltd.
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Property Management: A dedicated web page was developed to offer green advice to property managers in 2003. Six large property management companies were invited to give talks on how they are addressing environmental issues. The EPD was also assisting the Lands Department draft environmental clauses for Deeds of Mutual Covenant.

Government partnership
The EPD organises training and exchanges with other government departments to enhance understanding and compliance with various environmental regulations. In 2003 we organised exchanges with the Highways Department focusing on noise pollution. We also organised 143 seminars and education sessions on general environmental knowledge for about 2 300 civil servants.

Since 1999 the EPD has worked with the Government Logistics Department to establish green product specifications for commonly used items such as paper products. By the end of 2003, 37 product categories carried green specifications. The information is available on the EPD website so the private sector and outside organisations can refer to it. The EPD commenced a consultancy study in December 2002 to update green specifications of products which should be useful for future reviews of this issue.

The EPD also advises the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau’s Safety & Environmental Advisors Committee on compliance with environmental legislation and waste management matters to be implemented by the Works Department. The committee was formerly called the Safety Advisors Committee and its ambit was expanded in 2003 to include environmental management, in line with developments overseas and in the private sector.

Waste partnerships
The EPD has facilitated the Airport Authority, hotels, hostels, university and tertiary institutions, the recycling trade, the packaging trade and retailers, among others, in preventing and reducing waste. This has been done through the Wastewi$e Scheme, regular discussion forums and ad hoc meetings and dedicated programmes. The department has also worked with hospitals and clinics on addressing the problem of clinical waste.

The EPD is also keen to promote Product Responsibility Schemes (PRS), in which Hong Kong lags behind many other developed countries. A PRS trial involving mobile phone batteries was begun in 2002 but the response was unsatisfactory. A trial to extend the collection network to housing estates is being conducted to increase public participation. In 2003 a working group on waste tyre management was formed with the Hong Kong and Kowloon Rubber Tyres Commercial General Association, which looked at collection and end uses. The EPD also commissioned two community groups, the Caritas Youth and Community Service and the St James Settlement, to conduct trials on recovering used computers and used electrical and electronic equipment.

Construction waste is another area of concern. A task force chaired by the Hong Kong Construction Association aims to provide a forum for the construction industry and the Government to pursue construction waste reduction.

Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance partnerships
Four User Liaison Groups have been formed in connection with the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO). These groups cover government departments, consultants, utility companies, and contractors and private developers. In 2003 eight User Liaison Group meetings were held and seven interim guidance notes were issued.

An EIAO Support Section was established in 2002 to carry out an EIA Training and Capacity Building Programme for government works departments and provide assistance to the private sector. Between November 2002 and mid-December 2003, a total of 23 workshops were held for 550 participants from both the private and public sectors, including 18 tailor-made workshops for government departments. Also, a Training Manual for the EIA Mechanism, based on a project development cycle, was produced in 2003 to assist understanding of the EIA process.

Corporate Environmental Management partnerships
As part of the Government’s drive to save paper, the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB) has announced that all bureaux and departments should, on a voluntary basis, aim to reduce their photocopying paper consumption by an average of 2.5% a year from fiscal year 2003/04 to 2006/07, representing an overall 10% reduction. To help all Green Managers (our partners) in the bureaux and departments attain the above voluntary targets, the ETWB and EPD jointly organised a seminar in December 2003 to share views and experiences on practical paper saving measures and other useful green office initiatives. More than 170 officials from about 70 bureaux and departments attended the seminar. Useful case studies on paper saving in both public and private organisations were presented. To further help bureaux and departments to fulfil the paper saving target, all the presentation materials have been uploaded to the Government’s internal web site for easy reference.

Government green managers attend a paper saving seminar.

Government green managers attend a paper saving seminar.
Government green managers attend a paper saving seminar.

The EPD has also been seeking support and advice on promoting the ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) to small and medium sized enterprises (SME). A study on the issue was carried out in 1999 and, as a follow up, the department has liaised closely with various strategic partners, including the University of Hong Kong (Corporate Environmental Governance Programme), the Hong Kong Electronic Industries Association, the Federation of Hong Kong Industry (Hong Kong Electronics Industry Council), the Centre of Sustainable Design, and members of the ISO 14000 Liaison Group (the Trade and Industry Department, Business Environment Council, Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency, Hong Kong Productivity Council and EPD). They have been asked to give their expert advice in formulating strategies to provide targeted support on environmental management information and ISO 14001 EMS for two priority groups, the electrical/electronic sector and the construction industry.

The EPD also promoted wider adoption of environmental performance reporting in the private sector and acted as an independent endorser of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ Environmental Reporting Award in 2002 and its Sustainability Reporting Award in 2003.

Other Partnerships
The EPD also works with the private sector on trial schemes, such as bus companies with whom we tested Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel fuel and the transport trades with whom we tested particulate removal devices. In 2002, the EPD joined with the Hong Kong Society of Accountants to provide training in environmental management to its members.

Consultation
Formal consultation on environmental issues is conducted through the Advisory Council on the Environment and the Environmental Affairs Panel of the Legislative Council. In addition, the EPD participates in District Council, industrial and business association meetings to explain new environmental initiatives and to seek their views. District Councils also work with the Environmental Campaign Committee on waste reduction and awareness-raising campaigns, as do green groups and community groups. The EPD meets regularly with these groups to exchange views.

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

We actively encourage businesses and other organisations in Hong Kong to adopt environmental management systems and pollution prevention measures.

Nationally

The EPD maintains regular contacts with authorities on the Mainland to tackle cross-boundary environmental issues. The department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mainland State Environmental Protection Administration on the control of cross-boundary waste shipments. In 2003 a joint action was carried out against shipments of hazardous electronic waste. An MOU has also been signed with the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) to provide for Hong Kong's participation in China's National Marine Environment Monitoring Network, which is undergoing re-structuring. A report on the EPD-SOA marine monitoring method validation exercise was completed in 2003 to ensure the compatibility of each other’s monitoring data. In 2003 the EPD also received approval to liaise directly with the State Environment Protection Administration on EIA matters.

Closer to Hong Kong, the EPD works with its counterparts in Guangdong on shared environmental issues. Through the Joint Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection, which was launched in 1999, a number of initiatives were carried out on the problem of regional air pollution in 2003 (see 5.2b Better Air Quality for details). The Joint Working Group has also set up a Pearl River Delta Water Quality Protection Special Panel, which is continuing with work to develop a numerical water quality model for the estuary region.

In 2003, the EPD and the Shenzhen Environmental Protection Bureau completed a joint study on the Mirs Bay water quality regional control strategy and drew up an action plan to protect the clean waters of Mirs Bay. Work also progressed on several cross-boundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies, including the completion of the EIA for the submarine gas pipelines from Shenzhen to Tai Po and the start of the EIA for the Tonggu Channel of Shenzhen Port in 2003, as well as the upcoming EIA for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (see 5.1 Our Contribution to Strategic Decision-making for details). Joint celebrations for World Environment Day were organised with our regional counterparts in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Macau, Dongguan and Zhongshan.

Internationally

The EPD’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canada was renewed in 2003. It was first signed in 1992 and a number of useful exchanges and workshops have been organised under the MoU over the years.

The EPD also organised an international seminar on noise barriers with the Highways Department, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics, involving speakers from Australia, Belgium, Britain and Japan, and a workshop on stormwater management attended by environment officials from Canada and Australia.

     
   
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