2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (8)

VI.  Environmental Protection and Nature Conservation

Climate Change and Energy

132. At the end of last year, an inter-departmental committee chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration submitted a report proposing to adopt measures of mitigation, adaptation and resilience to combat climate change, with a view to reducing the carbon intensity in Hong Kong from the 2005 level by 65% to 70% by 2030.  I have accepted these recommendations.

133. In respect of adaptation and resilience, the Working Group on Infrastructure under Climate Change has been established to co-ordinate efforts among works departments to combat climate change, including updating infrastructure design standards and comprehensively reviewing the resilience of the existing infrastructure.  We will continue to enhance analytical work related to climate change.

134. The Government will gradually replace most of the electricity generated from coal-fired plants with cleaner energy by 2030.  When negotiating the new Scheme of Control Agreements with the power companies, the Government will study how to further promote energy saving and renewable energy (RE) generation.  We will set higher targets for government buildings in the use of RE, and have earmarked $200 million for the provision of RE installations in government buildings and venues, as well as community facilities.  We will actively take forward a number of large-scale RE (including solar power generation) projects.

135. The Government has completed energy audits of over 200 government buildings, and will earmark at least $500 million to gradually achieve the targets of energy saving.  We will actively encourage private building owners to make use of various tax concessions, loan schemes and funding schemes to procure energy saving installations.

Nature Conservation

136. The Government will enact legislation to phase out the local trade in ivory and impose heavier penalties on smuggling and illegal trade of endangered species.  We will step up co-operation with the Mainland law enforcement agencies to combat the smuggling of endangered species, including ivory and incense tree.

137. The Government will implement the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Hong Kong and strengthen conservation of biodiversity by conducting studies, enhancing public awareness, and promoting the mainstreaming of biodiversity issues and values.

Air Quality

138. In recent years, the Government has made strenuous efforts to improve air quality, including allocating $11.4 billion to phase out 82 000 diesel commercial vehicles of pre-Euro IV emission standard by 2020, strengthening emission control on vehicles, and making Hong Kong the first Asian city to mandate ocean-going vessels at berth to switch to low-sulphur fuel.  Notable results have been achieved.  In the past few years, air pollutants (including nitrogen dioxide and PM 2.5 which are more difficult to tackle) have been reduced by up to about 30%.  Last month, the HKSAR Government signed an agreement with the Mainland to jointly promote the establishment of an emission control area in the Pearl River Delta waters to regulate emissions from marine vessels.  Furthermore, the Government is exploring technologies that can improve the fuel efficiency and environmental effectiveness of local ferries.

Water Quality of Victoria Harbour

139. The waters of Hong Kong not only have great visual and ecological values, but are also ideal for recreational and sports activities.  With the completion of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 2A a year ago, the water quality of Victoria Harbour has significantly improved.  We will maintain our efforts and construct dry weather flow interceptors and rehabilitate trunk sewers in Kowloon and Tsuen Wan to reduce the discharge of residual pollutants into Victoria Harbour and ameliorate the odour problem of the inshore water.  A consultancy study to further upgrade inshore water quality and the general environment of Victoria Harbour will be completed next year.

Marine Cleanliness

140. We have strengthened collaboration with Guangdong in examining ways to reduce marine refuse and set up a notification system.  Relevant departments will allocate additional resources to enhance their capacity in handling marine refuse.

Waste Management

141. The Government is pressing ahead with preparations to implement quantity-based municipal solid waste charging in accordance with the "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources".  Community involvement projects funded by the Environment and Conservation Fund have also commenced to prepare the community for waste charging.  The Government plans to introduce the bill for implementing waste charging in the current legislative year.  Meanwhile, the new construction waste charges will take effect in April this year.  The Government is also preparing the legislation required to mandate the use of a Global Positioning System on construction waste collection vehicles to combat illegal depositing of construction waste.

142. Two producer responsibility schemes (PRSs) targeting five types of waste electrical and electronic equipment and glass beverage containers have entered the final stage of preparation for phased implementation in the coming two years.  We will also commission a feasibility study on how to implement a PRS targeting suitable plastic containers, mainly those carrying beverages or personal care products.

143. Phase 1 of the Organic Waste Treatment Facilities (OWTF) will be completed this year to further waste-to-energy efforts.  Tendering for phase 2 of the OWTF has commenced.

144. To encourage the commercial and industrial sectors to recycle and handle food waste properly, the Government will implement a pilot project to source separate food waste from wet markets and cooked food centres managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, as well as wet markets and shopping malls managed by the Hong Kong Housing Authority, for delivery to the upcoming OWTF for treatment.

145. The Government will provide tertiary institutions and primary and secondary schools with suitable support for on-site treatment of food waste, with a view to enhancing student and teacher awareness of the "food wise" culture.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:16