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2016 Policy Address by Chief Executive (9)

IX.Environmental Protection and Conservation

Air Quality

198. From 2010 to 2015, air quality has improved considerably.  The average ambient and roadside concentrations of major air pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and respirable suspended particulates, saw drops ranging from 12% to 25%, though that of ozone increased due to the regional smog problem.  The Government will proceed with the review of the Air Quality Objectives within this year.

199. Co-operation with the Mainland will be strengthened.  The focus will be on designating an emission control area in the waters of the Pearl River Delta, reducing emissions from marine vessels, monitoring air quality, and studying the formation and control of ozone and fine suspended particulates.

Water Quality of Victoria Harbour

200. The Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 2A has been completed, and overall water quality has improved further.  In the past year, the biochemical oxygen demand decreased by 20% and the level of Escherichia coli decreased by 74%.  The Government will undertake a study on ways to further tackle the problem of pollution and odour nuisance caused by the discharge of urban residual pollutants into urban coastal waters, as part of our efforts to promote a water-friendly culture.  The target is to complete the study in two years.  At the same time, the Government is preparing for the construction of dry weather flow interceptors and the rehabilitation of trunk sewers in Kowloon and Tsuen Wan to reduce residual pollution discharge along the shore of Victoria Harbour as soon as possible.  Furthermore, a pilot scheme will be implemented to establish angling zones in venues under management of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

Climate Change and Energy

201. The Paris Climate Conference held last month achieved positive outcomes by laying down a clear direction and objectives for global co-operation to address climate change.  To this end, the Government will take forward mitigation measures proactively and has published the Hong Kong Climate Change Report 2015.  The Chief Secretary for Administration will chair an inter-departmental committee to steer and co-ordinate the implementation work.

202. The Energy Saving Plan for Hong Kong's Built Environment 2015~2025+ has set a new target of reducing energy intensity by 40% by 2025.  The Environment Bureau will expand the scope of the Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme to cover more electrical appliances and promote low-carbon living in the community.

203. The Government will discuss with the power companies the new Scheme of Control Agreements to improve the regulatory arrangements, so as to enhance energy efficiency and promote the development of renewable energy.

Electric Vehicles

204. Electric vehicles have zero tail-pipe emission, and their wider use will reduce roadside air pollution.  The number of electric vehicles has increased from less than 100 at the end of 2010 to nearly 4 000 now.

205. The Government will focus its efforts in promoting the use of electric vehicles in the public transport system, and has been working with the franchised bus companies to conduct trial runs of 36 electric single-deck buses within this year.  The Government will also upgrade more public chargers to medium-speed chargers, and support property management companies to install more charging facilities.

Nature Conservation

206. The Government is now consulting the public on the formulation of the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Hong Kong, with a view to implementing enhanced measures on nature conservation and supporting sustainable development in the coming years.  The Government has earmarked additional resources to take forward the relevant initiatives, which include promoting awareness and knowledge of biodiversity among stakeholders and the general public, enhancing conservation of ecologically important areas and species, carrying out studies on biodiversity, and monitoring the biodiversity trends.

207. The Government is very concerned about the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa.  It will kick start legislative procedures as soon as possible to ban the import and export of elephant hunting trophies and actively explore other appropriate measures, such as enacting legislation to further ban the import and export of ivory and phase out the local ivory trade, and imposing heavier penalties on smuggling and illegal trading of endangered species.  Meanwhile, the Government will strengthen enforcement and take rigorous action against the smuggling and illegal trade in ivory.

Waste Management

208. The Government has been pressing ahead with a number of initiatives in accordance with Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources.  Launched in October last year, the Recycling Fund helps upgrade the operational capabilities of the recycling industry.  In parallel with a clean recycling campaign rolled out at the community level and the implementation of Community Green Stations in phases, the Government is vigorously taking forward projects relating to environmental infrastructure and waste-to-energy facilities, along with the extension programmes of landfills.

209. Apart from constructing new facilities, the Government is exploring the use of existing sewage treatment works facilities for food waste/sewage sludge anaerobic co-digestion as an additional part of the network of organic waste treatment facilities to help raise the food waste treatment capability.  A pilot trial will be run to confirm the technical feasibility and installation requirements, and preparations will start this year.  The Government will also study the planning of future waste management and transfer facilities.  Based on the concepts of a circular economy and "smart city", the study will determine the additional waste facilities and technologies needed up to 2041 to support sustainable development.

210. To reduce waste, the Government will proactively introduce a quantity-based charging scheme for municipal solid waste.  In addition to the drafting of legislation, the Government is now pursuing measures complementary to the charging scheme.  The Environmental and Conservation Fund has earmarked $50 million to fund community involvement programmes to prepare the community for the implementation of the charging scheme.

211. The Government is now reviewing the Construction Waste Disposal Charging Scheme and will explore the direction for long-term development, including the scheme's interface with municipal solid waste charging.  The Government has put forward a proposal to raise charges to achieve full-cost recovery as soon as practicable, and will introduce legislative proposals accordingly.

212. Under A Food Waste and Yard Waste Plan for Hong Kong 2014-2022, the Government will take forward the phase two project of the Organic Waste Treatment Facilities as soon as possible, and will carry out tender preparation work this year.  Government departments will continue to reduce, reuse and recycle yard waste in different stages of their greening efforts.

213. The Government will step up efforts to mobilise the community to engage in the food wise culture and implement the Food Wise Eateries Scheme to reduce food waste at source.  Support will be enhanced for NGOs collecting surplus food and redistributing it to those in need, with a view to achieving the dual goal of caring for the needy and waste reduction.  The Food Waste Recycling Projects in Housing Estates will continue to raise residents' awareness and participation.

214. The Government will press ahead with the two producer responsibility schemes on waste electrical and electronic equipment and glass beverage containers respectively.  We will draw on our experience and study the possibility of implementing producer responsibility schemes on other products.

215. To prevent the illegal processing of waste cooking oils into edible oils, the Government will introduce administrative measures to regulate the recycling of waste cooking oils.  Collectors, disposers and exporters of waste cooking oils will be required to register and keep transaction records.  The Government also plans to amend the Waste Disposal Ordinance to strengthen regulatory control.

Light Pollution

216. The Government will launch the Charter on External Lighting to encourage switching off at a preset time lights for decorative, promotional or advertising purposes that affect the outdoor environment.

Heritage Conservation

217. The Government will continue to provide statutory protection for 111 monuments.  Moreover, batch V projects under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme will be launched this year.

218. In the past few years, the Government secured the consent of the owners concerned to conserve 12 privately-owned historic buildings.  We encourage more private owners to conserve and revitalise their buildings.  In this connection, the Government has recently refined the Financial Assistance for Maintenance Scheme for privately-owned graded historic buildings to attract more owners to apply for assistance to carry out maintenance works.

219. The Government will earmark $500 million to implement recommendations of the Antiquities Advisory Board in its review of the built heritage conservation policy to establish a dedicated fund for the conservation of built heritage.  The fund will provide subsidies for public education, community involvement and publicity activities and academic research.  It will also cover certain existing government initiatives and activities on built heritage conservation.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 13:02


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