Key Recommendation 1:
Formulate an ambitious “New Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong”

 

Current Status:

The  “Clean  Air  Plan  for  Hong  Kong”,  published by  the  HKSAR Government  in  March  2013,  sets  out  a  series  of  air  quality  improvement  measures  with  a  view  to  broadly  attaining  the  Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) by 2020. [1]

The current AQOs took effect in January 2014. After the Environment Bureau and Environmental Protection Department embarked on the AQOs review in mid-2016 and completed the review in December 2018, the new AQOs are still not promulgated [2].

The current Hong Kong AQOs adopted different levels of stringency compared to WHO’s standard. The HK AQOs of major air pollutants, except for Nitrogen Dioxide (annual and 1-hr average) are still NOT levelled with WHO’s most stringent level. Under HKSAR Government’s proposal of the new AQOs, the Fine Suspended Particulates (annual and 24-hr average), Respirable Suspended Particulates (annual and 24-hr average), Ozone (8-hr average), and Sulphur Dioxide (24-hr average) are NOT reaching the WHO’s most stringent level. There is no commitment made by the HKSAR Government on when Hong Kong AQOs will reach the most stringent level.

Since the launch of the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong” in 2013, the roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (annual and 1-hr average) level and the ambient Ozone (8-hr average) level have never successfully complied with the current AQOs.

The “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong” was presented by the Environment Bureau in collaboration with the Transport and Housing Bureau, Food and Health Bureau, Development Bureau [3]. However, the roles and targets to be achieved by the supporting bureaus and departments are not obviously communicated to the public. There is limited transparency and accountability to the general public.

 

Recommendations:

1.1       CAN urges the Environment Bureau to establish a timetable in the New Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong’s ambient and roadside air quality to fully comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended safe standard no later than 2030. Over 50 cities, including London and Singapore, have pledged to achieve WHO’s Air Quality Guidelines (WHO’s most stringent level) and halve the number of air pollution-related deaths no later than 2030.

1.2      CAN urges the New Clean Air Plan to be more transparent in terms of accountability of relevant HKSAR Government bureaus and departments. Measurable goals should be established for Transport and Housing Bureau, Development Bureau, and the Food and Health Bureau. Without high-level pro-active participation from the mentioned Bureaus on transport, planning and health polices, it is difficult for Hong Kong to achieve clean air relying on environment (tailpipe) policy alone.

1.3       We urge for a cross-disciplinary participation in the formulation of the New Clean Air Plan. The community participation process should be commenced prior to the launch and serve as a basis for the formulation of the New Clean Air Plan. It should aim to collect opinions on the challenges and potentials to clean air from experts and professionals on air science, public health, transport and planning sectors, as well as the general public. It will be helpful for the Environment Bureau to publish a final report detailing the successes and challenges of the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong” as a basis for wider community participation in the formulation of the New Clean Air Plan.

1.4       CAN urges the HKSAR Government to promulgate the new AQOs immediately, summarize the experience from the last cycle (2014-2019) of AQOs Review, and announce the plan for the next cycle (2019-2024) of AQOs Review.

 


[1] Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs (2017). Progress of the Review of Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) p.1. Retrieved from: https://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/sites/default/files/epd/english/boards/advisory_council/files/ACE_Paper_12_2017_Appendix.pdf

[2] Environmental Protection Department, HKSAR Government. Review of Air Quality Objectives (updated 2020). Retrieved from: https://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/air_quality_objectives/aqoreview2016.html

[3] The Environment Bureau (2013). A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong “Message from the Chief Executive” Retrieved from: https://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/New_Air_Plan_en.pdf

Story posted on
24th Sep, 2020

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