In response to the 2019 Policy Address, Clean Air Network would like to make the following statements.
Fail to provide long-term planning to clean air
The Government remains ambiguous on the long term plan to clean up Hong Kong’s air. There is no Government’s commitment on master planning such as –
to provide a strategy with time-bound pollution reduction targets, control measures and action items to clean up HK’s air in 5 – 10 years term;
to launch of the next Clean Air Plan beyond 2020. The last Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong, published in 2013, will expire by 2020;
to provide a timetable for Hong Kong’s Air Quality Objectives to be tightened to World Health Organization’s recommended safe level.
Lack of commitment on electrification of franchised buses
We welcome the Government to implement trial scheme on electric public light buses. We urge the Government to provide the details of the scale of the scheme (such as the no. of PLB in trial, the route of the trial, the no. of charging stations newly constructed in the trial, etc).
However, the Government lacks a commitment on making a transition of franchised bus, which is a major roadside air pollution emitter, towards electric. Currently, there are only 40 electric buses (less than 1%) in trial, as compared to 6,000 buses of the total bus fleet.
Besides, the current Government’s proposal to tighten minimum emission standard of franchised bus in the Low Emission Zones is not aggressive enough as it is merely a transition from Euro IV to Euro V. The gain on air quality and public health will be a lot more if the transition reaches minimum Euro VI standard. Also, the area of the Low Emission Zones is not enlarged from only Causeway Bay, Central, Mongkok districts to wider areas; and there is no Government’s commitment to extend the regulation to other vehicle types.
Commercial road vehicles (including public transport) accounts for over 90% of roadside air pollution. While the Government is investing HK$2 billion on subsiding the electric charging facilities for private vehicles, we urge the Government to pro-actively seek progress for enabling electric charging facilities for electric public transport.
Welcome the measures to reduce emission from local vessels
To strengthen control over ship emission, it is disappointing to see no Government’s commitment to further tighten the fuel standard of Ocean-Going Vessels from the prevailing 0.5% sulphur content to 0.1%. The International Maritime Organization is going to set the same 0.5% sulphur content limit for all oceans (outside Emission Control Areas) from 1 Jan 2020. We urge the Government to re-consider to tighten the emission standard of PRD and HK waters to maximum 0.1% sulphur content, in order to maximize public health gain.
Clean Air Network welcomes the tightening of the emission standard of local vessels from current 0.05% to 0.001% sulphur content limit. Regarding HK$7 billion subsidy for ferry operators – the Government should clarify how the budget is allocated to invest on purchasing new vessels and constructing associated facilities; the expected gain in air quality and public health; and questions remained on operational details – whether the newly purchased vessels are to be owned by the Local Ferry Operators; or the vessels are operated and managed by the Local Ferry Operators; and the institution to be responsible for the maintenance of the vessels.
Also, it is worrying to see no specific Government’s measure to strengthen control over Ozone, which has hit record high for the past 20 years, other than consulting industry on the use of volatile organic compound.
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