Development that is environmentally responsible will provide a sound foundation upon which the people of Hong Kong can seek to sustain a better quality of life, now and in the future. The Government and stakeholders in the community are taking determined action on many fronts to consolidate and build upon the achievements of the environmental protection framework already well established. For its part, the Government will continue to implement effective programmes and adopt forward-looking policies across the broad spectrum of environmental protection: from improving air and water quality to nature conservation, waste reduction and recycling.

HONG KONG'S 1 102 square kilometres of land contain 6.7 million people and one of the world's largest trading economies. Steep mountains and strong planning controls have led to most of the population being housed in 214 square kilometres of urban development, while over 400 square kilometres have been protected as country parks or conservation areas. The concentration of population and economic activity in such a small area leads to intense pressures on the environment. This is compounded by the effects, particularly on air quality, from development across the Pearl River Delta region.

    In October 1999, the Chief Executive announced a major programme to improve the quality of Hong Kong's environment, covering air pollution control measures, improvement to water quality, reform of waste management, strengthening of conservation, greening of the urban environment and development of regional pollution control mechanisms with Guangdong Province. On July 1, 2002, a new policy bureau, the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau, was established and it will continue the momentum of this programme.