GUANGZHOU: Environmental protection officials in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and neighboring Guangdong Province said on Monday they are confident of achieving their targets to reduce air pollution by 55 percent from 1997 levels within the next three years.
Reviewing their efforts to clean up the environment over the past four years, Li Qing, director of Guangdong's environmental protection department, and Edward Yau, permanent secretary for Hong Kong's environmental protection department, said they were on target to reach their goals for 2010.
Based on a report released by both authorities in October, the daily average content of sulfur dioxide in Guangdong and Hong Kong was 0.0715 mg per cubic meter of air, lower than the national standard of 0.5 mg.
Levels of other pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone and inhalable particulates in the two regions are also lower than national standards, the report said.
In 2003, the authorities in Guangdong and Hong Kong signed an agreement to jointly protect the environment of the two regions and decrease the amount of air pollutants.
They aimed by 2010 to reduce emissions of inhalable particulates and volatile organic compounds by 55 percent from 1997 levels; emissions of sulfur dioxide by 40 percent and nitrogen dioxide, 20 percent.
Over the past four years, the authorities have adopted various measures to lower the amount of pollutants discharged into the air.
In Hong Kong, all cars are now required to meet the EU IV emission standard and all power plants are encouraged to use liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Similarly, the authorities in Guangdong promised to build six large LNG power plants and started to provide LNG for residents in the Pearl River Delta last year.
Officials from both regions have said they will next year continue to implement the measures set in 2003.
Huang Wenmu, vice-director of the public relations division of Guangdong's environmental protection department, told China Daily yesterday: "The environmental protection departments of Guangdong and Hong Kong have already laid down a working scheme for next year."
The authorities in both regions will also reinforce the protection of water resources to ensure adequate supplies and also enhance energy-saving and marine resources protection, he said.