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Marine Pollution – Questions from LegCo:
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Section 50 of the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (Cap. 313) stipulates that no vessel in the waters of Hong Kong shall emit smoke in such quantity as to be a nuisance, except in circumstances affecting the safety of life or of the vessel. Regarding the emissions from vessels, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the respective numbers of complaints received by the authorities concerned about emission of smoke from vessels, verbal warnings issued to and prosecutions instituted against the shipowners concerned by the Marine Department, and convictions in the past three years;
(b) whether it has assessed the adequacy of the current arrangement whereby law enforcement actions are taken by the Marine Department only; whether it will consider empowering the Environmental Protection Department to take law enforcement actions in this respect, particularly in cases involving excessive smoke emitted from the vessels berthing at the piers along both sides of the Victoria Harbour (for example, the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui and piers for inner harbour and outlying island services);
(c) given that the above provision only targets the quantity of smoke emitted from vessels and does not specify limits on the concentrations of various harmful substances contained in the smoke, whether it will consider amending the legislation to specify the emission standards applicable to vessels;
(d) whether it has conducted tests on the concentrations of harmful substances in the emissions from vessels and assessed their impact on public health and the air quality; and
(e) whether it will draw up measures to encourage the installation of emission reduction devices in vessels?
Marine Pollution – Answers From Governement
(a) The numbers of complaints received, warnings issued and prosecutions instituted by the Marine Department (MD) regarding emission of smoke from vessels during 2002 to 2004 are as follows:
(b) Emissions from vessel engines are subject to control under the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (the Ordinance) (Cap. 313). As the enforcement of the Ordinance requires marine expertise and relevant equipment, the responsibility rests with the MD. Upon receiving a complaint about emission of smoke from a vessel, the Environment Protection Department (EPD) will refer the case to the MD for follow-up action.
(c) At present, it is an offence under the Ordinance for a vessel to “emit smoke in such quantity as to be a nuisance”. The Government is considering amendment to the relevant provisions so that the Ringelmann Chart as adopted in the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311) will be used to determine the concentration of smoke. When the concentration of smoke emitted by a vessel exceeds the statutory limit for a specified period of time, prosecution may be instituted.
(d) As regards other pollutants, most vessels operating in Hong Kong waters use diesel or fuel oil. The air pollutants produced by the combustion of these fuels are more or less the same as those emitted by other fuel-related emission sources, such as diesel vehicles, power generation facilities or industrial boilers. The major pollutants include nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), suspended particulates and carbon monoxide (CO). According to the estimates by the EPD, the amounts of suspended particulates, SO2, NOx and CO emitted by vessels in 2003 accounted for about 6%, 4%, 16% and 3% respectively of the total emissions in Hong Kong. In contrast with the terrestrial environment, the expanse of the sea facilitates the dispersal of smoke and vessel emissions thus have a smaller impact on the public than other emission sources in urban areas such as vehicles.
(e) To further reduce vessel emissions, the Government is considering how to implement the proposed controls on vessel emissions in the new annex (Annex VI) of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The Government is now consulting the industry on the matter.
SCMP Saturday March 5 2005 – Cheung Chi-fai
Greens plead for tolls to kill bypass and save harbour
Clean the Air wants electronic road pricing study dusted off.
A green group has called on the government to update a study on an electronic road pricing scheme for the Hong Kong Island harbourfront to see if reclamation to build a bypass can be avoided.
Clear the Air, which opposes harbour reclamation, has asked the Town Planning Board to consider whether electronic road pricing (ERP) would be a faster and cheaper alternative to the controversial reclamation.
It says it is time to take the scheme off the shelf, following a study in 2001 that concluded it was not needed before next year. The call came after Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said the public was facing a choice between reclamation and congestion.
The green group said the board, despite having no role to play on road planning, should press transport officials to update the 2001 ERP feasibility report and outline an implementation plan.
The group suggested a substitute Central-Wan Chai bypass could be created by using Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road, Gloucester Road, Victoria Park Road and the Aberdeen Tunnel flyover. Motorists would be charged for using these roads, but the fee could be waived, depending on traffic conditions.
An ERP zone could also be set up, and an entry charge imposed. The proposed zone could extend from Macau Ferry Pier near Hillier Street and stretch to Hing Fat Street, Caine Road, Upper Albert Road, Kennedy Road, Queen’s Road East, Morrison Hill Road, Leighton Road and Causeway Road.
Group vice-chairwoman Annelise Connell said overseas experience has shown the ‘guaranteed success’ of ERP in relieving traffic congestion. The scheme would promote public transport and the car-driving minority should have to change their habits for the sake of saving the harbour.
‘We believe the government wants to implement ERP and has said so many times. And we are giving them the encouragement they need and showing them the public supports ERP rather than reclamation,’ Ms Connell said.
According to the ERP study, traffic in the central business district would be reduced by 24 per cent if a charge of $80 was imposed on vehicles. A spokeswoman for the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau insisted that a bypass was still needed to divert traffic from the ERP zone.
‘Without the bypass, ERP alone cannot effectively tackle the congestion problem,’ she said.
To fully assess the potential benefits and impacts of food waste disposers, Japan‘s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport—in cooperation with the Hokkaido government and Town of Utanobori—designated Utanobori as the subject area for a disposal field test conducted over four years, from 2000 through 2003. The study assessed the impacts of disposals on the sewage system, solid waste collection, local economy and environment, as well as the daily lives of town residents. Findings of the technical report on the study included that popularization of disposers would cause no changes to the environmental burden, and that the convenience benefits coupled with the cost of purchasing and installing a disposer provided an excellent value compared to any changes in administrative and disposal operation costs.