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 1 103 square kilometres of land contain 6.8 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 215 square kilometres of urban development, while over 400 square kilometres
have been designated as 'protected areas' including country parks, special
areas and conservation zonings. The concentration of population and economic
activities 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 in 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.