Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
2015 Policy Address by Chief Executive (9)

VIII. Environmental Protection and Conservation

161. In the past two years, the Government formulated several blueprints for environmental protection and launched a number of important measures.  This year, we will keep on monitoring the situation closely to ensure the effectiveness of our efforts.

Air Quality

162. Air quality monitoring results from 2010 to 2014 reflect a continuous improvement in Hong Kong's overall air quality.  The annual average concentrations of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and respirable suspended particulates decreased by 8%, 6% and 4% respectively.  The concentration of ozone increased by 18% during the same period, mainly due to regional changes.  Our air quality is expected to further improve.

163. The Government will introduce new legislation to require ocean-going vessels at berth in Hong Kong to switch to low-sulphur diesel.  We will set up low emission zones in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok at the end of this year where franchised bus companies can only deploy low-emission buses.  In addition, franchised bus companies will try out single-deck electric buses in mid-2015.

164. We are working with the Guangdong authorities to explore the feasibility of requiring ocean-going vessels berthing at the ports in Pearl River Delta to switch to cleaner fuel.  We also plan to allocate $150 million to extend the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme to encourage Hong Kong-owned factories in Guangdong to adopt cleaner production technologies.

165. The Government will soon introduce legislation to require non-road mobile machinery newly supplied for local use, including generators and excavators, to comply with statutory emission standards.

Waste Management

166. The Government is taking forward a number of initiatives to achieve the target of reducing our per capita municipal solid waste disposal rate by 40% in a decade as set out in "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources".  

167. As to waste reduction at source, the Environment Bureau is examining how specific arrangements for the quantity-based charging for municipal solid waste should be finalised in light of the recommendations by the Council for Sustainable Development and experience from the pilot scheme.  It will report on the proposed framework this year.

168. To realise the polluter-pays principle, the Government is reviewing the charge level for construction waste disposal and will report on the review findings this year.

169. The Government will introduce a Recycling Fund to upgrade the operational capabilities of the recycling industry, increase the quantity of the recyclables recovered, raise the quality of treated materials and establish a stable outlet for recycled materials, thus promoting the sustainable development of the industry.  The Steering Committee to Promote the Sustainable Development of the Recycling Industry will continue to explore and formulate complementary measures such as manpower training, research and development of technology and products, and operational parameters.

170. We will introduce legislative proposals later this year to implement the Producer Responsibility Scheme on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.  Furthermore, we are expanding the glass bottle recycling network to prepare for the implementation of the Producer Responsibility Scheme on Glass Beverage Bottles.  

171. In addition to using such media as mobile phone applications and webpages to provide the locations of some 7 000 recycling collection points and information about waste reduction, the Government will form a working group on a "clean recycling" campaign this year with representatives from the industry to promote source separation and cleaning of waste at the community level.  By doing so, the recycling value and recovery rate of recyclables will be increased.

172. To set an example, the Government engaged in green procurement worth more than $1 billion in 2013.  We will expand the current procurement list, update the specifications and verification methods, and explore wider use of recycled and other environment-friendly materials in public works projects.  We will also promote green procurement to both the public and business sectors.

173. Last year, the Government introduced "A Food Waste and Yard Waste Plan for Hong Kong 2014-2022", which promotes reduction at source, food donation, recyclable collection and turning food waste into energy.  The plan sets the target of reducing food waste disposal in landfills by 40% in 2022.

174. Since the launch of the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign, nearly 400 trade organisations, NGOs and government departments have signed the Food Wise Charter.  Some restaurants reduced their food waste by an average of 15% or more last year.  The Government will launch the "Food Wise Eateries" campaign for the purpose of reducing food waste at source.  In 2014, the Environment and Conservation Fund set aside over $10 million to support NGOs in collecting surplus food.  It is estimated that 800 tonnes of surplus food will be redistributed to people in need every year.  At the same time, the Government has earmarked $100 million to implement waste-reduction projects with the funding already open for applications.  About one-third of the fund will be allocated to projects relating to food waste management and reduction.

175. Despite enhanced efforts to promote waste reduction, the three existing landfills will be full, one by one, within the next five years.  Hong Kong is in dire need of expediting the extension of landfills and the development of waste-to-energy facilities, both of which are essential.  We will speed up the implementation of these important waste management infrastructure projects and enhance communication with various stakeholders.  The organic waste treatment facility in Siu Ho Wan is expected to commence operation in early 2017 and will convert food waste into electricity as renewable energy.

Green Building and Energy Conservation

176. Today I also announce that the Government is setting a new target of achieving a 5% saving in electricity consumption for government buildings under comparable operating conditions in the coming five years.  Energy audits will be conducted for major government buildings to identify opportunities to enhance energy-saving performance and green building measures.  The Government will work with stakeholders and public and private organisations to further foster a low-carbon and livable built environment to reduce Hong Kong's overall electricity demand.

177. The future fuel mix for electricity generation is closely intertwined with the development of the post-2018 electricity market.  Over 86 000 submissions were received in last year's public consultation on the future fuel mix for electricity generation.  The Government will consider the views received, consult the public on the future development of the electricity market and the regulatory framework, and announce the outcome of the fuel mix public consultation exercise and the way forward.

Water-friendly Culture and Activities

178. There has been a marked improvement in the water quality of Victoria Harbour.  On completion of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 2A this year, water quality in our harbour is expected to improve further.  I have instructed relevant bureaux to explore the feasibility of organising water sports activities in Victoria Harbour.

179. The Government will commission a study this year on how to improve the problem of pollution and odour nuisance caused by the discharge of urban residual pollutants into urban coastal waters, so as to provide venues for water activities along waterfront areas in Kowloon West, Wan Chai and Central.

180. Beyond Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong waters cover a large area, which can be used for promoting water recreational and sports activities and a water-friendly culture.  Relevant bureaux and departments will continue to identify desirable locations to build new water sports centres.

181. We will adopt the concept of revitalising water bodies in large-scale drainage improvement works and planning drainage networks for NDAs so as to build a better environment for the public.  In the completed widening works of Ho Chung River in Sai Kung, ecological features were also included to beautify the river and enhance river biodiversity.

Nature Conservation and Historic Buildings

182. Our rural areas have great conservation, ecological, visual and traditional value.  We will proactively work with NGOs to adopt a flexible approach to supporting and promoting the protection of our rural areas through harnessing the effort of the community.  I have asked the Environment Bureau, in conjunction with other relevant departments, to map out a plan.  At the same time, we will continue to assess the suitability of incorporating enclaves into country parks in accordance with the established principles and criteria to better protect areas with high landscape or recreation value.  We will also manage these areas with an innovative mindset.

183. We are formulating the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Hong Kong with a view to stepping up conservation efforts and supporting the sustainable development of Hong Kong in the next five years.

184. The Government plans to designate the waters around the Brothers Islands as a marine park and is carrying out preparatory work.

185. We will study the implementation of the recommendations submitted by the Antiquities Advisory Board on the built heritage conservation policy, including making preparations for the establishment of a built heritage conservation fund.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:54


Print this page