Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ13: Air quality

     Following is a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council today (April 16):


     The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) released by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) reflects the short-term health risks caused by air pollution, e.g. admission of people with respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses to hospital due to exposure to air pollution.  In the month of January this year, there were 21 days on which AQHI recorded 8 or above (i.e. the health risk having reached the "Very High" to "Serious" categories), revealing the seriousness of Hong Kong's air pollution problem currently.  Regarding the problem of air pollution, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has formulated, with reference to the Guidelines on Site Safety Measures for Working in Hot Weather, guidelines on working outdoors when AQHI reaches 8 or above; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(2) given that EPD is conducting, in collaboration with the shipping industry and the relevant mainland authorities, a study to explore the feasibility of requiring ocean-going vessels to switch to cleaner fuels while berthing at the ports in the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) and setting up an Emission Control Area in PRD waters in the long run, of the progress of the study?



(1) The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) launched the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to communicate the short term health risk of air pollution to the public on December 30, 2013. We have also recommended appropriate precautionary actions for different groups of people under different health risk categories, including the elderly and children, people with existing heart or respiratory illnesses, and outdoor workers. In addition, to tie in with the newly launched AQHI, the Labour Department issued in September last year the revised "Checklist for Risk Assessment of Outdoor Work under High Air Pollution Levels" to assist employers in conducting relevant risk assessment and taking appropriate preventive measures, including reducing outdoor physical exertion of the workers and reducing the time of their working at air polluted environment under high air pollution levels.

(2) Since early 2013, the EPD has introduced our vessel emission reduction measures to the governments of Guangdong Province and Shenzhen Municipality, and explored with them the possibility of adopting a regional approach to reduce marine emissions. As regards setting up an Emission Control Area (ECA) in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) waters, we must obtain approval from the Central Peopleˇ¦s Government and complete the relevant assessments and studies in accordance with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization before materialising the plan. The work involved is complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, Hong Kong government and the governments of Guangdong and Shenzhen consider setting up an ECA is our long-term collaboration goal. Before an ECA is set up, we are now actively examining the feasibility of mandating ocean going vessels to switch to cleaner fuel while at berth in ports of PRD. We will report to the Panel on Environmental Affairs of the Legislative Council when there is tangible progress.

Ends/Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:15


Print this page