Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said Monday an education campaign will
start this month to encourage the public and the business sector to help clean
the air in the city.
Speaking at the Legislative Council, Tsang said the government will endorse
the Clear Air Charter initiated by the business sector and will launch a Dress
Down Campaign this summer.
"In response to the green groups' appeal, the Civil Service Bureau will issue
a reminder later today to encourage colleagues to dress in casual, but
appropriate, attire in summer. I hope the private sector will also encourage
their staff to dress casually in summer wherever appropriate," Tsang said.
All government bureaus and departments have raised the air-conditioned room
temperature to the standard 25.5 degrees Celsius in green groups' appeal this
According to experts, the move can save about one billion units of
electricity a year, which means the public can save 900 million HK dollars
(115.4 million U.S. dollars) in electricity tariffs. It will also help cut
700,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 2,400 tons of sulphur dioxide, 1,200 tons of
nitrogen oxides and 100 tons of respirable suspended particulates annually.
Since improving air quality requires the whole community's participation,
Tsang said he hoped citizens could make use of public transport, turn off idling
engines, choose electric appliances with higher energy efficiency, switch off
home appliances such as televisions and lights when not in use before leaving a
room, choose electrical appliances covered by the Energy Efficiency Labeling
Scheme and avoid using goods with volatile organic compounds such as hair spray
and air refreshener.
In recent years, the government has done a lot to improve air quality.
According to the government figures, major pollutants in the air have been
reduced compared with 1997. In 2004, the concentration of respirable suspended
particulates and nitrogen oxides recorded at roadside air quality monitoring
stations fell by 9 percent and 24 percent respectively. Except for sulphur
dioxide, emissions of major pollutants dropped between 16 percent and 28
Four years ago, Hong Kong set targets with the Guangdong Provincial
government that would see, by 2010, a significant reduction in emissions of four
major air pollutants in the region.To achieve this target, Guangdong and Hong
Kong have put in place a series of measures.
Guangdong is adopting measures to expand the use of cleaner fuels, restrict
the level of sulphur in fuels, phase out small-scale and highly polluting power
plants, install desulphurization systems in generation units, and strictly
control vehicle emissions.
In Hong Kong, power plants are still the major source of pollution in terms
of emissions, with the amount of sulphur dioxide released accounting for 92
percent of the total. The government has imposed emission caps in the licenses
of the power plants. In the long run, the government expects to require power
companies to reduce emissions drastically and impose penalties for failing to
meet the emission caps through the new Scheme of Control Agreements after 2008.
To meet the 2010 emission reduction targets, the government has also
implemented other measures, including tightening the specifications for petrol
to the Euro IV standard; introducing Euro IV emission standards to newly
registered vehicles; requiring the installation of vapor-recovery systems at
petrol stations; controlling volatile organic compounds emissions from specific
products; and introducing a mandatory energy efficiency labeling scheme covering
room coolers, refrigerators and compact fluorescent lamps.
"Hong Kong is a small place. Air pollution affects everyone regardless of
age, wealth, status and profession. So, citizens should shoulder the
responsibility together. I hope all Hong Kong people, the local business
community, and businessmen investing in the Pearl River Delta Region fully
support the activities to be launched by the Environmental Protection Department
for a blue sky, " Tsang said.