Like most modern cities, Hong Kong's air is affected by pollutants emitted from
different sectors, such as transport, power generation and construction. A number of
measures are being taken to reduce emissions from motor vehicles, one of the major
polluters. Between 1999 and 2006, the concentrations of respirable suspended
particulates and nitrogen oxides, the two major air pollutants at the roadside, fell by
13 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.
The Government plans to commission in 2007 a review of Hong Kong's Air
Quality Objectives, having regard to the latest international findings and to develop a
long term air quality management strategy.
The EPD operates a range of controls under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance
and its subsidiary regulations, including licensing of some large industrial facilities
and specific controls on furnace and chimney installations, dark smoke emissions, fuel
quality, open burning, dust emissions from construction works, emissions from petrol
filling stations and perchloroethylene emissions from dry-cleaning facilities. A
regulation was introduced into the Legislative Council in November 2006 to impose
limits on the amounts of volatile organic compounds in paints, printing inks and
certain consumer products. The Air Pollution Control Ordinance bans the import and
sale of the more dangerous types of asbestos, namely amosite and crocidolite.
Moreover, anyone intending to remove asbestos must engage registered
professionals, and submit asbestos investigation reports and plans to the department.
Air pollution arouses much public concern, especially when factories are near
homes. In 2006, the department handled 13 264 complaints of air pollution (of which
6 436 were about smoky vehicles) and issued 2 398 legal notices instructing offenders
to abate air pollution.
To improve air quality and conserve energy, the Government launched the Action
Blue Sky Campaign in July to solicit community support and participation in
combating air pollution in Hong Kong. A series of publicity and educational events
has been held to encourage the public to take action at an individual level, such as
switching off idling engines, setting air-conditioned temperature at 25.5 degrees
Celsius in summer and reducing the consumption of products containing volatile
The Montreal Protocol which calls for controlling substances that deplete the
ozone layer, is applicable to Hong Kong. The Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance
prohibits manufacture and import of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons for local
consumption. The EPD also sets a quota on the import of hydrochlorofluorocarbons.
Vehicle emissions are the major source of air pollution and nuisance experienced
at roadsides. The Government's policy is to apply the most stringent motor vehicle
fuel and emission standards whenever they are practicable and available.
Hong Kong mainly follows the European Union on emission standards and, since
January 1, 2006, had introduced Euro IV standards in phases in tandem with the
European Union for all newly registered vehicles except newly registered diesel private
cars, which must meet emission standards that are more stringent than the Euro IV
standards. Cleaner fuels and tighter emission standards introduced in the past few
years have significantly reduced the pollution from motor vehicles.
Nearly all of Hong Kong's taxis are now running on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
and about 56 per cent of the public light buses are fuelled by LPG. Starting on
April 1, 2007, it will be a mandatory requirement for all pre-Euro emission standard
diesel vehicles to have particulate reduction devices. Another motor vehicle emission
control strategy is to tighten control over smoky vehicles. Under the Smoky Vehicle
Control Programme, all vehicles reported must be tested for smoke levels to find out
whether the owners have corrected the smoke defects. The number of smoky
vehicles on roads has decreased by about 80 per cent since 1999.
Apart from having cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels, it is essential to promote
mass transit systems that are pollution-free at street level. The Government has
adopted a policy that gives priority to rail over road and encourages innovation