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January 9th, 2008:

Delta Emissions Up 18pc In 2003 Despite Pact

SCMP -Helen Wu and Cheung Chi-fai
Jan 09, 2008

The Pearl River Delta has reported a rise in emissions of up to 18 per cent in 2003, a year after a cross-border agreement with Hong Kong to reduce major pollutants by 2010, according to a document released yesterday.

It was the first time Guangdong had released figures on its progress towards the 2010 targets – ranging from 20 to 55 per cent reductions for pollutants including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

The mid-term review of the Pearl River Delta Air Quality Management Plan showed that regional emissions, excluding Hong Kong, rose by 1 per cent for particulates, 2 per cent for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide and 18 per cent for VOCs in 2003. The base year for comparisons was 1997.

In a separate release of Hong Kong’s 2006 emission figures by the Environmental Protection Department, further progress was reported in meeting the 2010 targets, with a reduction ranging from 23 to 48 per cent for the three major pollutants in the 2006 levels compared with 1997. However, sulfur dioxide emissions rose by 12 per cent.The review was conducted by experts from the department and Guangdong’s Environmental Protection Bureau. The 2003 emission figures for the delta region were the latest available based on a mutually agreed methodology.

An environment department source yesterday said the review was essential as Guangdong had been through rapid economic growth, making assumptions adopted in the previous cross-border air study obsolete. “It is possible that the mainland will miss the targets if they do not adopt enhanced measures to cut emissions,” he said.

According to the review, both sides could still meet the 2010 targets – or surpass some of them.
But Man Chi-sum, chief executive of Green Power, said the lack of legislation to prevent the creation of VOCs on the mainland made the prospects of a significant reduction “dim”.

Hahn Chu Hon-keung, of Friends of the Earth, also said the pace of development would make meeting the targets difficult.

HK, Guangdong Vow To Hit Air-Quality Targets

Environment News

HK, Guangdong vow to hit air-quality targets

The emission-reduction and control measures Hong Kong and Guangdong have adopted could bring about a positive impact, cutting air-pollutant emissions in the region, and are conducive to achieving the agreed 2010 emission-cut targets by both sides, according to findings of the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan’s mid-term review.

The mid-term review report was considered by the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference’s 10th working meeting today. It concluded that upon implementation of the current and committed emission-reduction measures under the management plan, Hong Kong should be able to fully meet the mutually agreed targets by 2010.

The report said by 2010, Hong Kong’s economy will rise 72%, population 11%, electricity consumption 43% and vehicle mileage 8%, using 1997 as the base year.

Pollutants reduced

Implementing the existing preventive and control measures will significantly cut 2010 emissions of sulphur dioxide 54% to 30,000 tonnes, nitrogen oxides 25%, to 90,000 tonnes, respirable suspended particulates 58%, to 5,000 tonnes and volatile organic compounds 55%, to 30,000 tonnes, when compared to 1997 levels.

In respect of the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, with its significant socio-economic developments which well exceeded the original estimates, the emission-cut targets could be achieved by 2010 upon implementation of additional enhanced control measures as recommended in the mid-term review report.

These include:

* nitrogen-oxides removal for newly built power plants;
* tightening emission standards of air-pollutant emissions for local boilers;
* enhancing cleaner production requirement for volatile organic compounds-containing products;
* setting limits on consumer products’ volatile organic compound contents; and
* tightening control on emissions from local vessels.

To read the report’s executive summary, click here.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to continuing control measures set out in the management plan. The Guangdong Provincial Government will implement additional emission-control measures in the Pearl River Detla Economic Zone, taking account of the review’s recommendations.

Both sides also reaffirmed their determination to achieve the mutually agreed emission-reduction targets by 2010.

Transport Sector In Idling Show Of Force

Timothy Chui – Wednesday, January 09, 2008 – The Standard

Transport sector representatives yesterday told lawmakers the proposed ban on idling engines is impractical for their trade.

Packing the Legislative Council chamber in response to a public consultation over idling engines, more than 40 representatives said only allowing the first two vehicles at taxi and public light bus stands to keep their engines running would be unworkable as some minibus stands service multiple routes.

They also pointed out that the no-idling rule would mean taxis starting their engines nearly 30 to 40 times a day. Kowloon Taxi Owners Association chairman Yum Tai-ping said this would reduce battery life to one to two months from eight to 10 months.

Many taxi organizations also resented being included in the ban after having complied with calls to switch over to liquefied petroleum gas.

Taxi Operators Association chairman Leung Shiu-cheong warned that forcing taxis to switch off engines when it rains would be dangerous. Leung said without air-conditioning the windscreen would be clouded, and reduced visibility could pose risks when the driver takes off again.

China, Hong Kong and Macau Boundary Crossing Bus Association secretary-general Chan Chun-yee said the windows of many coaches cannot be opened for circulation and that temperatures inside the cabins can reach 60 degrees Celsius in the summer without air-conditioning.

The transport representatives said a ban would hurt quality of service and undermine their trade because passengers and tourists would be reluctant to travel in a sweltering cabin.

Liberal Party lawmaker Howard Young sympathized with the representatives, but said: “We must all accept one point – if we want to improve air quality we have to accept a price … We shouldn’t just focus on cost. I understand if you have to start engines more often it would aggravate wear and tear, but we have to be prepared to pay a certain price and the level of comfort is the same.”

Exemptions were proposed for turbo-charged and air-brake trucks by Kowloon Truck Merchants Association chairman Leung Kun-kuen who said the two systems needed five minutes to idle before shutting down.

The Hong Kong Institute of Engineers joined calls for the ban to be adjusted for different engine types, but it added that the intentions of the bill could also be served by raising the excessively low temperatures inside franchised buses.

Annelise Connell, a spokeswoman for Mini Spotters, a group of activists pushing for fuel efficiency, gave six examples of police not enforcing existing laws and expressed the hope that any law aimed at reducing idling engines would have enough resources for enforcement.

Conservancy Association director Hung Wing- tat said most cases of idling engines by taxis, buses and coaches occurred in urban business areas with tall buildings and poor ventilation. This would compound roadside pollution, Hung said.

The environmental affairs panel decided to extend its hearing of public views to next Wednesday.