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LCQ10 : Proper measures to keep marine environment clean


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (April 21) :


Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the categories and amounts of pollutants emitted by marine transportation vehicles, as well as the amounts of litter found in Hong Kong waters, in each of the past three years; and

(b) what measures have been taken by the authorities to reduce the above emissions and dumping at sea; and what would be done by them to further reduce the pollution?


(a) The major pollutants produced by marine vessels in Hong Kong waters include oily water, chemical waste, sewage and air pollutants. The amounts of oily water and chemical waste generated by marine vessels and collected for treatment by the facility provided by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the estimated volume of sewage generated by marine vessels and the quantity of floating refuse scavenged by the Marine Department (MD) in Hong Kong waters in the past three years are set out below -

                    2001                 2002                  2003

**** **** ****

Oily water 22,280 tonnes 15,170 tonnes 16,170 tonnes

Chemical waste 15,450 tonnes 12,940 tonnes 8,490 tonnes

Sewage* 3,800 cubic 3,800 cubic 3,800 cubic

metre daily metre daily metre daily

Floating refuse 9,400 tonnes 9,280 tonnes 11,460 tonnes

We do not have the estimations of the major air pollutants emitted by marine vessels in Hong Kong waters for the past three years.

(b) The Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354), the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 358) and the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311) provide overall control of waste disposal and prevent the pollution of our waters and atmosphere. The Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap.228) is also used to prosecute littering at sea. Moreover, there are also two other ordinances that specifically govern the proper handling of pollutants generated by marine vessels -

(i) the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (Cap. 313) that prohibits pollution of the sea by oil or smoke emissions in such a quantity as will cause nuisance in Hong Kong waters; and

(ii) the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance (Cap. 413) that controls oil pollution, the disposal of garbage and the discharge of noxious liquid substances and harmful substances through preventive measures. This Ordinance gives effect to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the MARPOL Convention) in Hong Kong. The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of marine environment by marine vessels.

Operators of marine vessels have to abide by the above ordinances. The relevant government departments take rigorous enforcement action under them. Apart from stepping up enforcement, we will continue to promote public awareness of the importance of keeping Hong Kong's marine environment clean through various educational campaigns and publicity initiatives.

To further strengthen the control of pollution from marine vessels, the Administration will extend all Annexes to the MARPOL Convention to Hong Kong. In this connection, we are preparing two pieces of new subsidiary legislation, namely, the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage) Regulation and the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution by Ships) Regulation, under the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance (Cap.413) to regulate the disposal of sewage and the emission of air pollutants from marine vessels. After the enactment of two new regulations, the requirements for prevention of pollution under all Annexes to the MARPOL Convention will become applicable to Hong Kong.

* It is estimated that marine vessels generate about 3,800 cubic metre of sewage daily. Such sewage is normally treated by facilities installed on the vessels if it is to be discharged in HK waters instead of open waters. The level of sewage generated by marine vessels constitutes about 0.16% of the total quantity of sewage generated in Hong Kong daily.

Ends/Wednesday, April 21, 2004


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