Campaign to bring blue skies back to Hong Kong (with photos)

    Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang today (July 25) officially launched the Action Blue Sky Campaign, reinforcing the Government's determination to improve Hong Kong's air quality.

     Mr Tsang said that the Government needed the whole community's participation to combat air pollution.

     "Every small step taken by each individual to support the clean-air initiatives in our daily lives can help reduce air pollution," he said.

     Members of the public can help save energy by setting their air-conditioners to 25.5 degrees Celsius. This would save about one billion units of electricity each year. Mr Tsang also urged the private sector to dress down in summer.

     "My goal is to reduce electricity consumption in government offices by at least a further 1.5% this year. I hope that every commercial building management will consider measures to save energy íV they will also be saving money and the environment," he said.

     Mr Tsang said that Hong Kong and Guangdong were studying and adopting measures to improve air quality. He hoped that they could give a public account of the discussions on this topic in the Ninth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference to be held in Guangzhou early next month.

     The Action Blue Sky Campaign, with the slogan "Clean Air for a Cool Hong Kong!" is organised by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

     One of the highlights of today's ceremony was the preview of two 30-second TV/radio announcements featuring the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, speaking on regional co-operation in combating air pollution and how the public could help improve air quality at the personal level.

     An EPD spokesman said the two announcements would be broadcast from today.

     At today's ceremony, 17 schools and 13 corporations pledged to implement green measures at their premises to conserve energy and help reduce air pollution.

     "A series of publicity and educational activities will be rolled out in the coming months to encourage the public and the business sector to join us in cleaning up the air," the spokesman said.

     From August onwards, roving exhibitions with quiz booths on air pollution will be set up in 18 districts and publicity materials including posters and leaflets will be distributed.

     The Advisory Committee on the Environment will hold a workshop in September on the review of Air Quality Objectives. Green groups and academics will be invited to join the discussion.

     Also, in September, the Environmental Campaign Committee (ECC) will join with the District Councils and green groups to reinforce green messages, for example, 25.5 degrees Celsius air-conditioning, using energy-efficient products, switching off idling engines and reducing the consumption of products containing volatile organic compounds.

     In the same month, the ECC will hold the Hong Kong Green School Awards and Green Pre-School Awards to promote energy efficiency and conservation as well as the Eco-business Award to highlight the role and contributions of the business community in saving energy and reducing air pollution.

     The Student Environmental Protection Ambassadors Scheme will be launched in October to promote green messages at schools. A series of school-based competitions will be organised to educate students about air pollution.  

     To enhance the environmental awareness of the local business community, a seminar to showcase best environmental practices in business and industrial operations will be held in late November, the spokesman said.

     "Through these publicity and educational activities, we hope to gain the full support of the public and the business community, particularly businesses investing in the Pearl River Delta Region, in achieving our common goal - 'Clean Air for a Cool Hong Kong'," he added.

     Also officiating at today's ceremony were Dr Liao; the Acting Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment), Dr Michael Chiu Tak-lun; and the Director of the Electrical and Mechanical Department, Mr Lai Sze-hoi.

Ends/Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:30