When addressing Legislative Council yesterday, Chief Executive CY Leung brought up the issue of air pollution, a move that CAN very much welcomes.
Hong Kong’s air is in need of substantial improvement, as its current polluted condition is hurting the city’s competitiveness and causing serious harm to the health of its seven million citizens.
In view of this, CAN hopes that the Government will put forth a concrete timetable for implementation of several policies as proposed by CAN below.
Formulation of air quality policies that involve the Department of Health
In order to strengthen the Environmental Protection Department’s (EPD) understanding of the public health impacts of air pollution, the Department of Health should be included in the formulation of air quality policies. With proper consultation of professionals with authoritative expertise, the EPD will be able to propose policies that prioritize and effectively protect public health.
Elimination of old diesel commercial vehicles
According to data received from the Transport Department, as of the end of 2011, there were as many as 111,164 diesel commercial vehicles on Hong Kong’s roads, over seventy percent of which are still using engines which are pre-Euro IV. These vehicles account for about eighty percent of respirable suspended particulates and approximately seventy percent of nitrogen dioxide emissions from the entire road transport sector.
CAN believes that removing all commercial diesel vehicles from our roads to be a measure that would prove very effective and that implementing measures that utilize both carrots and sticks would have the most impact. For example:
(i) implement a scrapping subsidy with greater subsidized amounts for those who scrap their vehicles earlier;
(ii) increasing annual licensing fees where older vehicles would have to pay higher fees;
(iii) setting a date for phasing out of all pre-Euro II vehicles.
Use of low-sulphur fuel in Hong Kong’s waters
Legislation that will require ships within Hong Kong’s waters to use fuel with less than 0.1 percent sulphur content would significantly cut down on air pollution in the region. The Government should work with the Guangdong authorities to reach a consensus and set-up a marine low emission zone within the Pearl River Delta region.
To read the Chief Executive’s remarks, click here. (Chinese only.)