The Government should phase out all fuel-propelled vehicles, including franchise bushes by 2040, and use the next round of franchise renewal as an opportunity to encourage the bus service sector to use zero-emission vehicles, such as electric vehicles. The Government also needs to speed up the installation of relevant infrastructure to fully establish zero-emission road transport.
The government will complete updating the “Control of Air Pollution in Semi-Confined Public Transport Interchanges” practice note by 2022, and launch the updated Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) in 2024. In addition, The Government will launch the “Pilot Cohort Study to Assess the Long-term Health Outcomes from Exposure to Air Pollution for the General Population of Hong Kong” this year, of which 6000 residents of different age groups will be studied.
We believe that the Government should review and update of the “Control of Air Pollution in Semi-Confined Public Transport Interchanges” practice note as soon as possibleand focus on setting stricter an upper limit for nitrogen dioxide and conduct more regular air quality monitoring. The Government should review and update of the “Control of Air Pollution in Semi-Confined Public Transport Interchanges” practice note as soon as possibleand focus on setting stricter an upper limit for nitrogen dioxide and conduct more regular air quality monitoring.
The Government should review the AQHI as soon as possible and take steps to enhance public education on the AQHI.
The Food and Health Bureau should coordinate relevant departments, such as the Department of Health, to better manage the public health risks associated with air pollution. They should also publish relevant data regularly, including that of the number of hospital admissions, clinical visits and instances of disease linked to air pollution, to increase public awareness on the issue.
Comprehensive Emissions Reduction
The Government is investigating the tightening of the sulphur content limit of locally supplied marine light diesel from 0.05% to 0.001% in the next few years.
The Government should assist local marine and river vessels in fully switching to clean fuel, such as electric vessels, hydrogen fuel powered vessels, hybrid electric vessels, etc.
The Government will explore strategies to push for the adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in ocean-going vessels.
Currently, under government regulation, all marine vessels, whether at sea or at berth, must use one of the specified and approved fuel types. These include low-sulphur marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%, LNG and other EPD-certified fuels. In addition, Hong Kong waters are located within the Domestic Marine Emission Control Area (DECA) in the Peral River Delta, which again mandates that marine vessels run on low-sulphur marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%. CAN believes that the Government should coordinate with administrative bodies in Guangdong to update the DECA regulations, or list the Peral River Delta as an Emission Control Area (ECA), which further restricts the sulphur content of marine fuels to 0.1%.
Short-term air quality monitoring will be conducted at different districts in addition to the existing air quality monitoring network in the coming 2 to 3 years, to collect more comprehensive data and identify pollution distribution across Hong Kong. Tentatively, the northwest New Territories and Kowloon urban areas will be among the first locations to be monitored.
Micro-sensors will be installed at smart lampposts in new development areas, such as Tung Chung, to monitor air quality within a few years’ time to collect real-time district-based data. These sensors are also capable of monitoring indoor air quality and the data can be fed back into the air-conditioning management system of buildings to improve indoor air quality.
The EPD has only established 3 roadside air quality monitoring stations, which is not an adequate representation of roadside air pollution in all districts. The government needs to install a significantly larger number of roadside stations, as well as air quality monitors in public transport interchanges, sports grounds, schools, and residential areas, in order to establish a comprehensive data management system and to better grasp the air pollution situation, which would aid in formulating more targeted and effective policies to improve air quality in Hong Kong.
The Government should clearly define air pollution standards and utilize data analysis for pollutant concentrations, population density and distance to the source of pollution, to identify local air pollution exposure hot spots, and compile such data into an Exposure Hot Spot Index which residents can refer to.
To tackle the regional ozone problem, the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have launched a 3-year joint study on “Characterization of Photo-chemical Ozone Formation, Regional and Super-Regional Transportation in the Greater Bay Area” in 2021 to monitor air quality at sea, land and air for an in-depth understanding on the formation and transportation characteristics of ozone in the Greater Bay Area. This study provides a scientific foundation for the formulation of policies to reduce regional ozone pollution.
The Government should enhance coordination with neighbouring regions within Guangdong to regulate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions and reduce regional ozone levels. All governing bodies within the Daya Bay area should establish a governmental organisation to administer and coordinate regional air quality control policies, emission reduction goals, etc.