APCO, Air Pollution Control Ordinance, is the most important piece of legislation regulating air pollution in Hong Kong. Environmental Protection Department is the department responsible for issuing permits or licenses to control emissions. APCO sets out Hong Kong’s Air Quality Objectives (AQO), which are aspirational targets to be achieved by the government. AQO basically means the government has a duty to act reasonably to maintain the air quality in Hong Kong, by keeping all seven listed air pollutants below a particular level. The level listed in AQO should be reviewed for at least once every 5 years, as required by APCO.
When coming across wordings like ‘control’ and ‘ordinance’, you might presume that the air which we breathed in is under regulation. On top of that, air quality not complying with the written guideline is consequence-bearing. Whilst they are theoretically true, there are actually loopholes between sentences.
When standards are lenient and the legislation is penalty-free, the actual effectiveness of supervision is extremely in doubt, not to mention improving air quality.
Does this ordinance seem distant from you? The next review of the AQO is taking place in 2019. This is your chance to speak out! Please keep an eye on Clean Air Network for future updates and action.