B. Impacts of Our Policies and Programmes

Our main work is to improve and protect Hong Kong's environment. We do this by addressing specific problems, such as air pollution; by preventing harmful impacts through planning and assessment; and by working with polluters and our regional and international counterparts to ensure our efforts are sustainable and take account of economic and social factors, as well as the environment.

Main areas of work:

Better Air Quality
Better Water Quality
Environmentally Sound Waste Management
Greener Energy Management
Nature Conservation
Quieter Environment
Cross-boundary and International Co-operation
Prevention and Mitigation Through Environmental Assessment
Sustainable Development
Building Partnerships and Encouraging Compliance

1.   Better Air Quality

To protect the health and well being of the community by achieving and maintaining satisfactory air quality through intervention in the planning process and by enforcing the controls in the Air Pollution Control Ordinance and the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance.

Air Quality in 2008

1.1     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) monitors air quality at 11 general stations and three roadside stations and uses this information to inform its policy-making and programmes. General air quality has improved in the past five years due to the joint efforts of the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments in reducing emissions. There was also an increase in the number of general stations complying with the long-term (annual) Air Quality Objectives, from six in 2007 to nine in 2008.

1.2     Air quality has also improved at roadsides since we implemented a comprehensive vehicle emission control programme in 1999. By 2008, the annual concentrations of nitrogen oxides (NOx) , respirable suspended particulates (RSP) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) had dropped by between 19 per cent and 23 per cent as compared with 1999. However, we experienced more high pollution days at roadsides (above 100 on the Air Pollution Index) in 2008 compared with 2007 due to unfavourable weather conditions that induced photochemical smog and trapped pollutants. The results can be seen here.

Figure 1 - Air quality trends in Hong Kong, 1999 - 2008

Review of Air Quality Objectives
1.3     We have launched a review of Hong Kong's Air Quality Objectives to revise them with reference to the World Health Organisation's latest air quality guidelines and standards applied in the European Union and the United States. The review includes a study, which began in June 2007 and will be completed in 2009 after allowing extra time for modelling and analysis of the results, and public consultations both during and after the study. The outcome of the review will be used to draft future air quality management programmes.

Ms Anissa WONG, the Permanent Secretary for the Environment (third from right), and members of the Advisory Panel on Review of Air Quality Objectives and Development of a Long-Term Air Quality Strategy for Hong Kong, at a public consultation forum.

Regional air quality
1.4     Hong Kong and Guangdong jointly monitor regional air quality and have established targets to reduce air pollution to well below 1997 levels by 2010, under the Pearl River Delta Air Quality Management Plan. Hong Kong is making steady progress in controlling emissions, particularly from power plants, and expects to achieve its goals (see Cross-boundary and International Co-operation for details).

Reducing Emissions

1.5     To achieve our goal of cleaner air, emissions are being reduced from the following sources:

Power plants
In 2007, power plant emissions account for 89 per cent of Hong Kong's SO2, 46 per cent of NOx and 28 per cent of RSP. The New Scheme of Control Agreements signed with the power companies in January 2008 include penalties for failing to meet emission caps and incentives for overachieving them. A related legislative amendment was made in July that provides for the stipulation of emission caps for SO2, NOx and RSP from 2010 by technical memorandum and the use of emissions trading. Lamma Power Station was the first to have its specified process licence renewed under the new provisions.

Motor vehicle emissions
Motor vehicles are the chief source of roadside air pollution and also contribute to regional air pollution. Intensive efforts have been made to reduce this problem, resulting in a drop of roadside levels of NOx by 23 per cent, RSP by 22 per cent and SO2 by 19 per cent since 1999. New initiatives to control vehicle emissions in 2008 included:

an extension of a one-off grant scheme to encourage owners of pre-Euro and Euro I diesel commercial vehicles to replace them with cleaner vehicles;

- a waiving of the duty on Euro V diesel; and
- concessions on first registration tax for buyers of newly registered environment-friendly commercial vehicles.
Case Study 1 : Financial Incentives to Reduce Motor Vehicle Pollution
For more than a decade, the Government has used taxes, grants and duties to provide incentives for drivers to use cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels. The result has been cleaner roadside air as most of the most-polluting vehicles have disappeared from Hong Kong's roads. The programme began in 1999 with $1.4 billion earmarked to replace diesel taxis and light buses with ones running on liquefied petroleum gas. There were also incentives for owners of older diesels to replace them with new vehicles that meet stricter emission standards. In addition, concessionary duties have been offered on cleaner fuels, and taxes have been reduced for buyers of environment-friendly vehicles.

Other emissions
A study was commissioned by the EPD in 2007 to examine the spatial distribution of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) across the region. Preparations were also underway to extend the existing controls on the VOC content in products, to vehicle refinishing and vessel paints, adhesives and sealants.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


2.   Better Water Quality

To achieve marine and fresh water quality objectives that will safeguard the health and welfare of the community and meet various conservation goals, by planning for the provision of sewage facilities, intervening in the planning process and enforcing the controls in the Water Pollution Control Ordinance and the Dumping At Sea Ordinance.

Water Quality in 2008

2.1     Water quality is monitored at beaches, marine waters, and rivers and streams to provide a scientific basis for water policies and programmes. In 2008 we achieved 80 per cent compliance or better with our Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) across all water bodies (see Figure 2 and Figure 3 below). However, as these WQOs have been in use for more than two decades, we recognise the need to review and update them in line with the latest scientific knowledge and international practices. This process began in October 2008 and will involve consultations with the public and stakeholders.

Figure 2 -  Overall compliance with marine Water Quality
Objectives in Hong Kong, 1986 - 2008
Figure 3 -  Overall compliance with river Water Quality
Objectives in Hong Kong, 1986 - 2008
Regional water quality
2.2     Hong Kong shares its waters with Guangdong and efforts have been increased in recent years to co-ordinate water pollution control. The EPD and Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau developed an advanced numerical water quality model for the Pearl River Estuary in 2008, which will be used to formulate regional water quality management plans. Hong Kong and Shenzhen also have joint strategies for managing Deep Bay and Mirs Bay, and in 2008 they compiled their first review of the Deep Bay programme and launched a separate review of the Mirs Bay programme (see also Cross-boundary and International Co-operation for details) .

Reducing Water Pollution

2.3     Up to 20 per cent of marine and river waters still do not meet our WQOs. Two major programmes, among others, aim to help rectify that: the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) and village sewerage.

2.4     HATS is an extensive project to collect and treat all sewage from around Victoria Harbour. Stage 1 was completed in 2001 and treats 75 per cent of the harbour's sewage. Despite overall improvements, water quality has worsened in the western waters where the treated effluent is discharged. The two-pronged Stage 2 will address this problem. Stage 2A, costing $11 billion, will collect the remainder of untreated sewage and provide disinfection. Construction work on Advance Disinfection Facilities began in 2008 for completion in October 2009, and the remainder of Stage 2A will be completed by 2014. Stage 2B will provide a higher level of treatment and is still undergoing investigation - in 2008 a study on the co-use of land with port facilities commenced. To help pay for the operation of these facilities, sewage charges are being increased.

Village sewerage
2.5     A number of rivers and streams have been contaminated by sewage from village houses so a programme is underway to connect 330 000 village residents to sewers. By the end of 2008, a total of 5 972 village houses in around 120 villages had been connected to the public sewers.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


3.   Environmentally Sound Waste Management

To safeguard the health and welfare of the community from adverse environmental effects associated with the handling and disposal of wastes by developing a sustainable waste management strategy, providing waste management facilities and enforcing the controls in the Waste Disposal Ordinance.

Waste Arisings in 2008

3.1     The rapid increase in waste over the past two decades and a shortage of land have put enormous pressures on waste management in Hong Kong. Landfills are running out of space and this has spurred efforts to reduce waste, with some notable successes. Total quantities of solid waste at landfills have fallen steadily since 2002 (see Figure 4), and in 2008 dropped 3 per cent to 13 500 tonnes per day, helped especially by a decline in construction waste at landfills due to construction waste disposal charges, reduced activity and other factors. Domestic waste loads at landfills have also fallen by more than 10 per cent since 2005 and by more than 4 per cent in 2008 alone. Commercial and industrial waste climbed by 10 per cent in 2008, but this is being addressed (see below).

Figure 4 -  Solid waste disposal at landfills in
Hong Kong, 2001 - 2008
Figure 5 -  Progress of recruitment of housing estates for
Programme on Source Separation of
Domestic Waste
Reducing Waste

Source separation of waste

3.2     One of the first steps in reducing waste is to encourage people to separate their waste for re-use and recycling. The EPD has a Programme on Source Separation of Domestic Waste that aims to bring source separation of domestic waste to 80 per cent of the population, i.e. 1 360 housing estates, by 2010. By the end of 2008, 996 housing estates had signed up against a target of 920. These efforts are being supported by legislation requiring space to accommodate refuse storage and material recovery facilities on building floors in new domestic premises, which was passed in 2008. The programme has been extended to cover the commercial and industrial sectors. Separately, we set up a second-hand exchange website in October 2007 to encourage people to re-use products and by the end of 2008 it had received 216 000 visits.

A housing estate provides separate bins for collecting paper, plastics, metals, clothes, toner cartridges and rechargeable batteries at its podium floor (left), and walled mounted plastic baskets in the refuse rooms on building floors for collecting recyclables (right).

Producer responsibility
3.3     The producers and users (i.e. the community) of products are being asked to support recovery and recycling through producer responsibility schemes (PRSs). The Product Eco-Responsibility Ordinance was enacted in July 2008 to provide a legal framework for mandatory PRSs and the first scheme, an environmental levy on plastic shopping bags, is expected to be introduced in 2009. In the meantime, voluntary recycling programmes funded and administered by the trades have been introduced for rechargeable batteries, computers, fluorescent lamps, and glass bottles generated by hotels business (see Case Study 2).
Case Study 2 : Voluntary Recycling Programmes
With the support of EPD, the relevant trade and industry fund and administer various voluntary recycling programmes to collect and recycle their used products. The first voluntary recycling programme started in 2005 for rechargeable batteries and so far 164 tonnes have been collected and 135 tonnes have been sent to an overseas centre for recycling. In 2008, programmes were launched for computers, fluorescent lamps and glass bottle from hotels.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) charging
3.4     MSW charging is considered an effective measure to promote waste reduction and recovery. A Baseline Study was launched in November 2008 to gather information on waste generation and management practices of commercial and industrial establishments.

Waste Facilities

3.5     The three strategic landfills are running out of space so the EPD has proposed to extend them. Progress in 2008 included an Environmental Permit granted for the South East New Territories Landfill Extension; the commencement of land rezoning and resumption processes for the North East New Territories Landfill Extension; and conducting an EIA for the West New Territories Landfill Extension.

Waste treatment

3.6     The EPD plans to develop modern integrated waste management facilities to reduce the bulk of waste and recover energy using incineration as the core technology. Two potential sites were identified in 2008, Shek Kwu Chau and Tsang Tsui ash lagoons, and they are undergoing engineering and EIA studies. Other facilities are also being developed to treat specific types of waste: an animal waste composting plant started operation in April 2008 and provided treatment of horse stable wastes from the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events and, afterwards, from the Hong Kong Jockey Club; an EIA report for sludge treatment facilities to handle sewage sludge was available for public inspection in December 2008; and work has begun on an EIA for organic waste treatment facilities.

Location Map of Shek Kwu Chau and Tsang Tsui ash lagoons, the two proposed sites for integrated waste management facilities.

The animal waste composting plant at Ngau Tam Mei.
Location map for the proposed sludge treatment facilities.
Chemical waste treatment
3.7     The Chemical Waste Treatment Centre (CWTC) treats a variety of chemical wastes. In 2009 a new follow-on contract for the CWTC will be awarded and it will include measures to enhance the CWTC's environmental performance, such as upgrading emission controls and further reducing permitted sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions in line with the latest European Union standards. There will also be provisions for the CWTC to handle clinical waste from 2010-11.
Figure 6 - Chemical waste collected at CWTC in 2008
3.8     The EcoPark provides land and support facilities for the recycling and environmental industries. By the end of 2008, five out of six Phase I lots had been awarded for recycling waste wood, used computers, waste cooking oil, waste plastics and waste metals.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


4.   Greener Energy Management

To ensure reliable supplies of energy at reasonable prices, promote its efficient and safe use, and at the same time minimise the environmental impacts in the production and use of energy.

4.1     The Government is committed to reducing its energy intensity by at least 25 per cent by 2030 (using 2005 as a base year), a target supported by APEC Economic Leaders. This commitment was reinforced by the Chief Executive in his 2008-09 Policy Address when he pledged to enhance energy efficiency, use clean fuels, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote a low carbon economy based on low energy consumption and low pollution.

4.2     Two areas were targeted for specific measures in 2008: electricity generation and reducing energy consumption.

Electricity generation
4.3     Using clean sources of energy is our chief goal in electricity generation. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a continuous supply of nuclear electricity and natural gas to Hong Kong for 20 years, was signed between the HKSAR Government and the National Energy Administration in August. The MoU ensures a long-term and stable supply of clean energy, bringing both environmental and economic benefits. It also means there is no need at this stage to build a new liquefied natural gas terminal here.

4.4     To reduce emissions from the two Hong Kong power companies, we finalised New Scheme of Control Agreements (SCAs) with the companies in January 2008. The SCAs include goals to improve the companies' environmental performance, penalties if they fail to achieve emission caps, and incentives if they over-achieve the caps and adopt renewable energy.

Reducing energy consumption
4.5     Initiatives have been implemented to promote the use of energy efficient equipment and reduce energy use at source:

Energy efficiency labelling . The Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Products) Ordinance (Cap. 598) was enacted in May to require mandatory labelling for certain products. The first phase covers room air-conditioners, refrigerating appliances and compact fluorescent lamps. Preparations are underway to cover more products in the legislation in view of public support for the scheme.

Energy labels for room air-conditioners (left), refrigerating appliances (middle) and compact fluorescent lamps (right).

Building Energy Codes (BECs). Buildings account for almost 90 per cent of the total electricity consumption in Hong Kong. A public consultation was carried out in early 2008 on the proposed mandatory implementation of BECs, which impose minimum energy performance standards on building services installations (lighting, electrical system, air-conditioning, and lifts and escalators) in new buildings and in major retrofitting works in existing buildings, and require energy audits in commercial buildings. The majority of the views received support the Government's proposal. Relevant legislation will be introduced to the Legislative Council in 2009.

Carbon audit. Carbon audit guidelines for building users and managers were jointly promulgated by the EPD and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. The guidelines provide a systematic and scientific approach for calculating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions arising from building operations in Hong Kong, and identifying areas for improvement. Organisations are invited to become a 'Carbon Audit • Green Partner' by signing the Carbon Reduction Charter and undertaking activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Government performance. The Government will continue to lead by example in promoting green buildings. A comprehensive target-based environmental performance framework will be adopted for Government buildings. Targets will be set in various environmental aspects, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, water management, waste management, indoor air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


5.   Nature Conservation

To conserve natural resources and the bio-diversity of Hong Kong in a sustainable manner, taking into account social and economic considerations, for the benefit of the present and future generations of the community.

5.1     The Government has adopted a two-pronged approach to nature conservation. Some activities it undertakes itself in consultation with the community; others involve partnerships and input from non-government organisations. The aim is to fortify the community's stake in protecting Hong Kong's natural resources.

Protecting natural sites
5.2     Parks: 24 country parks, four marine parks and one marine reserve have been established to protect large areas of land and sea from development, ban harmful activities and encourage appreciation of nature. In 2008 the Chief Executive proposed in his Policy Address to set up a Geopark centred on Hong Kong's unique geological resources. The Lantau North (Extension) Country Park was also officially opened.

5.3     Sensitive sites: The New Nature Conservation Policy of 2004 enables non-government organisations to participate in conserving sensitive sites. Under the Pilot Scheme for Management Agreements, non-government organisations can apply for funding to give landowners financial incentives to protect sites; two such projects received grants from the Environment and Conservation Fund in 2006 and again in 2008 for their continuation. Under the Pilot Scheme for Public-Private Partnerships, applicants can develop less sensitive areas of a site while committing to long-term conservation of the remainder. The proposals are complex and take time to assess, and in 2008 the Government supported one proposal to be taken forward at Sha Lo Tung.

Global conservation obligations
5.4     Hong Kong is committed to meeting its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Parties have recently updated the Convention and in 2008 we started procedures to bring the Schedule to the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance in line with this development. The public was also consulted on extending the Convention on Biological Diversity and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to Hong Kong.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


6.   Quieter Environment

To prevent, minimise and resolve environmental noise problems through formulation of noise policy, intervention in the planning process, implementation of noise abatement measures and enforcement of the Noise Control Ordinance.

Traffic noise

Existing roads
6.1     More than one million people in Hong Kong are affected by excessive traffic noise (greater than 70 db (A)). Engineering solutions help to reduce their exposure. More than 90 existing road sections have been identified as suitable for low-noise road surfaces (LNRSs) and by the end of 2008, 37 had been re-surfaced, benefiting about 70 000 people. Another 36 road sections are suitable for retrofitting noise barriers or enclosures; two have been retrofitted, benefiting about 7 000 people. The EPD is also looking at how to improve noise mitigation measures. Studies are underway to optimise the design of LNRSs, review the scope of the noise barrier programme, improve barrier design and find ways to improve road joints at flyovers so they are less noisy.

New roads

6.2     The goal with new roads is to prevent and mitigate traffic noise problems. Since 1990 more than 500 000 people have benefited from planning measures to reduce noise, such as altering routes, installing road barriers (benefiting 280 000 people at a cost of $2 billion) and making LNRSs a standard feature of new roads. In addition, 7 900 flats have been insulated against traffic noise since 1995, costing $430 million.

Construction noise

Figure 7 -  Screening structures to reduce traffic noise,
1990 - 2008

6.3     Construction noise is controlled at night and on Sundays and public holidays through the Noise Control Ordinance. Designated Areas have been established for tighter controls and, following an earlier review, these were expanded in 2008 for the second time since their introduction in 1996. The intention is to ensure newly-developed areas and areas under active development have the same protection against construction noise as those in existing Designated Areas.

Public engagement

6.4     Two tools have been developed to help people better understand the impacts of road noise. The noise map shows impacts across Hong Kong and has been uploaded to the EPD's website for easy access. 3-D noise modelling tools show the impacts on nearby buildings of specific road projects and are used extensively in public consultations.
Figure 8 - Noise planning cases in 2008

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


7.   Cross-boundary and International Co-operation

To protect the environment by tackling cross-boundary pollution problems and by promoting collaborative efforts through regional and international co-operation.

Regional Activities

7.1     Cross-boundary environmental issues are a core subject of collaboration between Hong Kong and Guangdong. That priority was enhanced in 2008 when the Hong Kong - Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference, co-chaired by the Hong Kong's Chief Executive and the Governor of Guangdong Province, agreed to further deepen environmental co-operation and jointly draw up strategies for transforming the Pearl River Delta region into a green and quality living area.

7.2     The Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection will actively take forward this green initiative. At its ninth annual meeting in December 2008, it also noted achievements in the following areas, which will continue to be priorities in 2009:


Air quality: A report on the Mid-Term Review of the Pearl River Delta Air Quality Management Plan, released in January 2008, concluded that the preventive and control measures being implemented by both sides have helped to substantially reduce air pollutant emissions in the region. Hong Kong should be able to meet its emission reduction targets . Following on from the review's recommendations, Guangdong will implement additional measures and should also achieve the mutually agreed emission reduction targets.


Cleaner production: The five-year Cleaner Production Partnership Programme was launched in April 2008 with $93 million from the Hong Kong SAR Government to encourage and facilitate Hong Kong-owned factories in the Pearl River Delta region to adopt cleaner production technologies and practices. The funding helps factories to conduct on-site assessments and demonstration projects and verify their improvement measures. The Programme is supported by extensive awareness-raising activities such as seminars, study missions, exhibitions and a dedicated website.

   - Water quality: An advanced numerical water quality model for the Pearl River Estuary region was developed to provide a scientific tool for the formulation of regional water quality management and pollution control plans. New targets for water quality improvement in Deep Bay were agreed with Shenzhen and a review was launched of the Mirs Bay regional water quality control strategy.

7.3     In addition to provincial-level co-operation, a 'Co-operation Agreement on Cleaner Production between Hong Kong and Shenzhen' was signed with the Shenzhen Environmental Protection Bureau. The EPD and Macao's Environment Council also agreed to further strengthen co-operation on air quality monitoring, waste management and public education.

International Activities

7.4     Hong Kong is committed to reducing its contributions to climate change (see Figure 9). It joined the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in October 2007 and attended C40 sessions in 2008 to share experiences in combating climate change. The Chief Executive's 2008-09 Policy Address announced initiatives for meeting the challenges of climate change, emphasising enhanced energy efficiency, cleaner fuels, less reliance on fossil fuels and promotion of a low-carbon economy. In addition, a comprehensive study on the likely impacts of climate change in Hong Kong and how to mitigate them was commissioned in March 2008.
Figure 9 - Hong Kong's greenhouse gas emissions 1990 - 2007


7.5     International conventions on pollution control also apply to Hong Kong. Legislation came into force to support the local enforcement of conventions on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and hazardous chemicals. The Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance (Cap. 595) came into operation in April 2008, following implementation of the Stockholm Convention on POPs in Hong Kong in 2004. The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides became applicable in Hong Kong in August 2008.

Case Study 3 : Sharing Expertise
The EPD and Mainland environmental authorities share their expertise and experience to strengthen joint efforts against pollution. In 2008 activities focused on the following:

Cleaner Production Partnership Programme: Seminars were organised by the EPD and local authorities in Shenzhen, Jiangmen, Huizhou, Zhongshan, Foshan, and Dongguan. The EPD and the Guangdong Economic and Trade Commission also jointly organised a training seminar in Shenzhen.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs): The EPD shared its experience in managing and controlling POPs at a session in Beijing with government officials and experts from the Mainland and overseas. The EPD also organised a two-day exchange on POPs monitoring with the Shenzhen Centre for Disease Control .
Waste and wastewater management: The EPD organised a two-day exchange programme in Hong Kong for a delegation from the Pan-Pearl River Delta region.
Emission control technology : The EPD organised an exchange programme on de-NOx technology for the Shenzhen Environmental Protection Bureau.
Delegates of the EPD and the Shenzhen Environmental Protection Bureau at the Sixth Shenzhen-Hong Kong Environmental
Co-operation Forum held in Hong Kong.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


8.   Prevention and Mitigation Through Environmental Assessment

To pre-empt environmental problems associated with development projects, plans and strategies, by assessing their environmental implications and ensuring that measures are implemented to avoid any potential problems that are identified.

8.1     Legal and administrative tools ensure that environmental assessment and planning is incorporated into decision-making at the project and strategy levels. These tools apply to both government and private sector projects, and promote early public input and involvement.

Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance

8.2     The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008, having protected more than 1.5 million people and many ecologically sensitive sites from unacceptable impacts. To date 127 projects have met EIAO requirements and been approved. A 3-D EIA public engagement tool has been developed to facilitate public involvement and understanding of key EIA findings, and by the end of 2008 was required in 35 major infrastructure projects. An online library of EIA reports with major findings and elements presented through 3-D visualisation was also established.

Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs)

8.3     SEAs are carried out on major planning and development proposals early in the decision-making process, to identify major environmental issues and recommend prevention or mitigation measures. The SEA for Hong Kong 2030: Planning and Vision Strategy was completed in 2007 and another major SEA study on Land Use Planning for the Closed Area is underway.

Government policies and programmes

8.4     All bureaux and departments are required to report the environmental implications of their policy and programme proposals in submissions to official bodies such as the Policy Committee, Executive Council, Legislative Council's Public Works Sub-committee and Environmental Affairs Panel. In 2008, the EPD vetted nearly 300 funding and policy proposals. Government bodies are also required to produce sustainability assessments (see Sustainable Development for details).

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


9.   Sustainable Development

To promote sustainable development in Hong Kong.

9.1     Priority sustainability issues are identified with the advice of the Council for Sustainable Development, which was established in 2003 and has members from the environment, community and business sectors and the Government. As the involvement of stakeholders is a key element of sustainability, the Council has designed and implemented an inclusive and stakeholder-led engagement model to harness public opinions on key sustainability issues, most recently on air quality. In 2008 it presented a report to the Government that contained the findings from the public engagement exercise on air quality and the Council's recommendations on this issue (see also Working With Stakeholders for details). The Council also organises awareness raising activities and advises on the approval of applications to the Sustainable Development Fund.

9.2     The Council is supported by the Environment Bureau's Sustainable Development Division, which also oversees the Government's internal Sustainability Assessment System. All bureaux and departments are required to conduct sustainability assessments of their major policy and programme initiatives and include the findings in their submissions to the Policy Committee and the Executive Council, and in public consultation documents. In 2008, the Sustainable Development Division processed 139 sustainability assessments.

See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.


10.   Building Partnerships and Encouraging Compliance

To serve the community through enforcing pollution control laws to safeguard people's health and welfare, to work with others and continue to build partnerships, and to promote corporate environmental management (CEM) in both public and private sectors, in the pursuance of sustainable development objectives.


10.1     We have formed partnerships with four key polluters to encourage compliance and good environmental practices: the construction industry, restaurants, vehicle repair workshops and property management companies. This has resulted in a drop in complaints against these industries and in convictions for environmental offences. Examples of partnership activities in 2008 included:

organising 26 seminars and speeches for nearly 2 500 participants from the four industries;

- holding 44 meetings and 117 environmental site audits to facilitate the smooth implementation of new controls on sulphur and volatile organic compound content in fuel and paints, and to promote good practices against fly-tipping;
- promoting equipment that reduces the environmental impacts of construction activities, such as Quality Powered Mechanical Equipment, mechanical truck covers and non-tungsten lighting;
- supporting a local restaurant association study on controlling cooking fumes;
- organising an environmental forum in collaboration with two vehicle repair trade associations and the Hong Kong Productivity Council.

Corporate Environmental Management

10.2     We encourage the public and private sectors to adopt corporate environmental management (CEM), especially environmental performance reporting. A dedicated website has been set up that contains published environmental information from listed companies in Hong Kong. In May 2008 we further promoted environmental reporting at a meeting with the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Limited (HKEx). We also endorse ACCA Hong Kong's annual Awards for Sustainability Reporting.

10.3     To communicate our messages more clearly and concisely, we have consolidated the numerous handbooks and other CEM tools into a more user friendly form. Previously we had published separate tools on everything from ISO 14001 EMS to environmental performance reporting and audits, often in printed form. In November 2008 a CEM Resource DVD-ROM was produced with all published environmental management tools in one disk, thus also saving paper resources.

Compliance Assistance Centre (CAC)

10.4     One way to encourage operators to perform better is to make it easier for them to comply with environmental requirements. The Compliance Assistance Centre is a one-stop shop where they can get information and help in applying for licences relating to all areas of the EPD’s work. The CAC handles about 440 cases a month and has adopted a 'customer-centric' approach that has been cited by the Government's Efficiency Unit and other organisations. The CAC also took on a new activity in 2008, promoting its services to local and international businesses from a booth at the Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum and Exhibition.

CEM Resource DVD-ROM.
Mr Edward YAU, the Secretary for the Environment (centre left), and Mr Edmund HO, the Chief Executive of Macao SAR (centre right), visit the CAC booth at the Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum and Exhibition.
See also: Targets - Our Progress and 2009 Aims.