LCQ13: Air quality in Tung Chung
In its reply to a question raised by me on February 22 last year, the Government said that the air quality in Tung Chung continued to improve from 2012 to 2016. However, quite a number of Tung Chung residents have recently relayed to me that they feel that the air quality in Tung Chung has deteriorated in recent months. Given the imminent commissioning of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), they are worried that the vehicular flow in Tung Chung will increase upon HZMB's commissioning, thus aggravating the air pollution problem in the district. Regarding the air quality in Tung Chung, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the respective numbers of exceedances of concentrations of various pollutants (including respirable suspended particulates (i.e. PM10), fine suspended particulates (i.e. PM2.5), ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide), as recorded by the air quality monitoring station in Tung Chung last year, against the Air Quality Objectives or other relevant objectives, and the details of the exceedances of each type of pollutants, including the respective average and maximum extent of exceedances and concentrations;
(2) of the measures to be implemented to ensure that the air quality in Tung Chung will not deteriorate upon the commissioning of HZMB; and
(3) whether it has regularly reviewed the effectiveness of the various air quality improvement measures for improving the air quality in Tung Chung; if so, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that?
(1) The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is still validating the air quality monitoring data for 2017 which has just ended. According to the preliminary monitoring data for that year, the levels of air pollutants including respirable suspended particulates (PM10), fine suspended particulates (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) recorded at the Tung Chung Air Quality Monitoring Station (AQMS) were comparable with those recorded in 2016 and fully comply with the relevant Air Quality Objectives (AQOs), except for the ozone level which rose due to the influence of regional pollution. The annual average concentrations of air pollutants recorded at the Tung Chung AQMS between 2013 and 2017 are at Annex I, and the AQOs compliance status of Tung Chung in 2017 is at Annex II.
(2) & (3) The Highways Department completed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report on the Hong Kong Projects related to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) under the EIA Ordinance in 2009. The report included assessment of air quality impact in Tung Chung and the vicinity of North Lantau upon commissioning of the bridge. The results showed that the air quality at sensitive receivers in the vicinity of the HZMB would comply with relevant AQOs.
To improve our air quality and protect public health, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government is committed to reducing local air pollutant emissions. In recent years, the SAR Government has undertaken air quality enhancement measures focused on the control of local pollution sources. Key measures include phasing out some 82 000 pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles by the end of 2019; subsidising franchised bus companies to retrofit their eligible Euro II and III buses with selective catalytic reduction devices; strengthening the vehicle emission control regime for petrol and liquefied petroleum gas vehicles by using roadside remote sensing equipment; progressively tightening emission caps for power plants; tightening emission standards for newly registered vehicles in phases; setting up the Pilot Green Transport Fund to encourage our transport sectors and non-profit-making organisations to try out innovative green transport technologies; introducing new regulations on statutory emission standards for non-road mobile machinery newly supplied for local use; encouraging walking and the use of public transport, offering first registration tax concessions for buyers of electric vehicles (EVs) and lower vehicle licence fees for EVs, capping the sulphur content of locally supplied marine light diesel at 0.05 per cent; and requiring ocean-going vessels to switch to marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5 per cent while at berth in Hong Kong, etc.
Over the past five years (i.e. 2013-2017), the ambient and roadside concentrations of major air pollutants including PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and SO2 have dropped by 26 per cent to 38 per cent, indicating the effectiveness of the control measures implemented in recent years. The SAR Government will continue to take forward emission reduction measures targeting various pollution sources. Such measures include expanding the scope of the control programme for volatile organic compounds (VOC) with effect from January 1, 2018, preparing legislation to require mandatory use of low sulphur fuel by all vessels navigating in Hong Kong waters, etc. To assess the effectiveness of our air quality enhancement measures, we will continue to monitor the air quality in various districts, including Tung Chung, in Hong Kong. The EPD is also reviewing the current AQOs with a view to exploring new practicable air quality enhancement measures.
To keep enhancing the air quality in Hong Kong, we will also continue to work closely and proactively with the Guangdong Provincial Government on reducing air pollutant emissions within the region. Collaborations include a joint study on PM2.5 in the Pearl River Delta region conducted by the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong SAR and Macao, the findings of which can provide solid scientific foundations for the formulating strategies to further enhance regional air quality; and the inclusion of VOC monitoring in the Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network in phases from 2018, so as to collect more data related to the formation and movement of ozone within the region, thereby facilitating the formulation of policies and measures to reduce regional ozone concentrations.
Ends/Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:56
Issued at HKT 14:56