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Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network results for 2016 released
     The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network released today (May 25) a report on its 2016 monitoring results, which showed continual improvement of the air quality in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) last year. The network includes 23 air monitoring stations located in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau and monitors the six major air pollutants (i.e. sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), respirable suspended particulates (RSPs), fine suspended particulates (FSPs) and carbon monoxide (CO)).

     The average annual concentration levels of SO2 and RSPs in the PRD decreased by 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively in 2016 compared with the 2015 levels, while the level of NO2 increased by 6 per cent. The long-term downward trend of pollutant levels was evident despite short-term fluctuations. Compared with the 2006 levels, the annual concentration levels of NO2, SO2 and RSPs have decreased by 24 per cent, 74 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. The figures illustrate that the measures implemented by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau in recent years have contributed to the improvement of air quality in the PRD. The 2016 average annual concentration level of O3 increased by 4 per cent compared with the 2006 level, but decreased by 6 per cent compared with that of 2015. With the enhancement of the monitoring network of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau completed in September 2014, the average 2016 annual concentration levels of newly added parameters, namely FSPs and CO, decreased by 9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively compared with the 2015 levels. The pollution trends of the six air pollutants since 2006 are shown in the Annex.

     To further improve regional air quality, the Environment Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Department of Environmental Protection of Guangdong Province (GDEPD) concluded in November 2012 the emission reduction targets for 2015 and the emission reduction ranges for 2020. Hong Kong unveiled "A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong" in March 2013 and Guangdong announced "The Guangdong Air Pollution Control Plan (2014-2017)" in February 2014, under which both sides put forward a series of air quality improvement measures covering industrial sources, land and marine transport, power plants and non-road mobile machinery. The measures to be taken forward under these two plans will contribute to the further improvement of air quality in the PRD. The two sides have embarked on a mid-term review study on the reduction of air pollutants in the PRD, which will offer conclusions on the achievements of 2015 emission reduction as well as establish the emission targets for 2020. The review study is expected to be finished in around mid-2017.

     Key emission reduction measures implemented in Hong Kong in recent years include tightening the emission caps for power plants, reviewing the fuel mix for electricity generation, progressively phasing out pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles, strengthening the control of emissions from LPG and petrol vehicles, tightening the sulphur content of locally supplied light diesel for vessels' consumption, regulating ocean-going vessels to switch to low-sulphur fuel when berthing in Hong Kong waters, and controlling the emissions from non-road mobile machinery.

     Key emission reduction measures recently implemented in Guangdong include promoting cleaner power generation; enhancing the structure of energy supply; introducing stringent environmental requirements for new projects; phasing out low-technology and polluting industries; embarking on programmes to reduce air pollution by adopting desulphurisation, low nitrogen-oxides (NOx) combustion and de-NOx technologies; designating restriction zones for combustion of highly polluting fuels; fully implementing restriction zones for highly polluting vehicles (commonly known as yellow-label vehicles); implementing National V emission standards for motor vehicles; supplying motor diesel and petrol at National V standards in the whole PRD; and promoting remediation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions in key industries and enterprises. In 2016, Guangdong phased out 380,000 kilowatts (kW) of small-scale thermal power generating units, 14 iron and steel plants (with 3.07 million tonnes of crude steel production capacity), and seven paper mills (with 96,580 tonnes of production capacity). In addition, 354,000 yellow-label vehicles and worn-out vehicles were phased out, and 1,705 remedial measures were taken against thermal power generating units, construction materials industries, boilers and VOCs. Ultra-low emission modifications were completed for 65 coal-fired generating units with a total power of 24.59 million kW. Desulphurisation equipment was installed in all sintering machines and pelletising machines, while de-NOx equipment using a selective non-catalytic reduction method was installed for all cement clinker production lines with a daily production capacity of 2,000 tonnes or above. All 26 plate glass production lines had desulphurisation and de-NOx equipment installed, except for one in which production was suspended pending de-NOx and desulphurisation installation. Coal-fired boilers, unless absolutely required, were basically phased out in urban areas of the cities within the PRD. Furthermore, 1,434 enterprises commenced enterprise-specific integrated remedial measures to reduce emissions.

     The Macau side is also taking forward a series of air quality improvement measures by continuously implementing legislation and formulating scientific standards under the ambient pollution control actions outlined in the Macao Environmental Protection Plan (2010-2020). The improvement measures include announcing the tailpipe emission standards of newly imported and in-use vehicles, enhancing the quality of unleaded petrol and light diesel, implementing subsidy schemes to phase out two-stroke motor vehicles, putting forward the formulation of emission standards and regulatory legislation for stationary sources, and planning the introduction and promotion of environmentally friendly vehicles.

     The Guangdong Environmental Monitoring Centre, the Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong (EPD), the Macao Environmental Protection Bureau (Macao EPB) and the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (Macao MGB) are responsible for the co-ordination, management and operation of the monitoring stations of the three sides, and will continue to release the annual reports on the monitoring results and pollution trends of the PRD as well as the quarterly statistical monitoring results. Members of the public can visit the website of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Regional Air Quality Monitoring Information System ( direct, or the websites of the GDEPD (www.gdep.gov.cn), the EPD (www.epd.gov.hk), the Macao EPB (www.dspa.gov.mo) and the Macao MGB (www.smg.gov.mo) to obtain relevant annual reports and quarterly monitoring statistics.
Ends/Thursday, May 25, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:02
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