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February, 2011:

Environmental Industries FOR HK

23 Feb 2011

120.      The environmental industries, while at an initial stage of development, are growing impressively. In 2009, the value added of the green industries rose by 12.4 per cent and the number of employees also increased by 3.6 per cent. We have been promoting the development of environmental industries and a green economy through multi-pronged policies and initiatives. They include enhancing building energy efficiency and promoting the use of energy-saving household appliances by legislation, setting up the Pilot Green Transport Fund, making more use of electric vehicles, and taking forward other measures such as expanding the list of products with green specifications for government procurement, piloting the use of new green materials in public works, encouraging scientific research on environmental protection and building environmental infrastructure.

121.      We have been making good progress in promoting energy saving and improving energy efficiency. With the mandatory compliance of the Building Energy Codes, which will take effect shortly, it is estimated that 2.8 billion kWh of electricity will be saved for new buildings and carbon emissions will be reduced by about 1.9 million tonnes in the first ten years. The construction of the first district cooling system at the Kai Tak Development will commence this year. Upon its completion, we expect to save as much as 85 million kWh of electricity and reduce approximately 60 000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Participation of the environmental industries is essential to the implementation of these energy saving and emission reduction measures which will in turn create business opportunities for them.

122.      On improving roadside air quality, the new Pilot Green Transport Fund, set up to encourage the transport sector to test out green and low-carbon transport modes and technology, will be open for application by end-March. We are also preparing for a number of trial schemes in collaboration with the franchised bus companies, including the trying out of hybrid buses on busy corridors and retrofitting of Euro II and III buses with catalytic reduction devices to meet the Euro IV emission standard. The above schemes, involving trials and retrofitting processes, will help promote a green economy.

123.      Over the past two years, the Steering Committee on the Promotion of Electric Vehicles chaired by me has been actively promoting the use of electric vehicles through various policy initiatives and measures. Currently, there are about 100 electric vehicles on Hong Kong roads and over 260 charging stations across the territory for public use. A number of electric vehicle models have been rolled out on the market. Subject to the availability of suitable models on the market and the operational needs of bureaux and departments, we will give priority to electric vehicles when replacing government vehicles in the two financial years of 2011-12 and
2012-13. We expect to have an intake of close to 200 electric vehicles of various types in these two years. In addition, we plan to install more charging facilities for electric vehicles in government car parks, and will encourage the business and non-government sectors to join hands in expanding the charging network across the territory.

Hong Kong air pollution claims 1,860 lives a year, experts say

21 Feb. 2011

Hong Kong – Worsening air pollution in Hong Kong is causing 1,860 extra deaths a year and costing the city 2.5 billion US dollars in health costs and lost earnings, experts said Monday.

A new study by a team of scientists from the University of Hong Kong team said the failure to clean up the city’s notorious smog was having a deadly impact on people’s health.

They estimated that air pollution was responsible for 92,745 extra hospital bed days and 5.2 million doctor visits.

The researchers from the university’s School of Public Health called on the government to comply with World Health Organization guidelines rather than its own proposed air pollution limits.

Government regulations are too lax and unlikely to provide effective environmental regulation or lead to sustained air quality improvements, the report concluded.

‘There is an urgent need for the government to adopt a scientifically valid approach to the setting of air quality regulations which will protect population health,’ lead author Lai Hak-kah said

Pollution in the densely populated city of 7 million has worsened dramatically in the past two decades and has been blamed for causing respiratory problems and forcing some foreigninvestors to move away.

Much of the city’s notorious smog blows down from factories in neighboring southern China, although some of it is caused by vehicle emissions.

HKU study rejects govt air quality plan

RTHK   21 FEB 2011

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong have warned that implementing the government’s proposed objectives to improve air quality would have a negative impact. A study they carried out predicts that adopting the measures would result in higher levels of fine particulates and sulphur dioxide than at present.

Professor Anthony Hedley, who headed the study, said the government should adopt the more stringent guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation. Otherwise, he said, poor air quality would cause more than 1,800 additional local deaths a year, and leave taxpayers with an annual bill of HK$20-billion.

8 ways to curb air pollution

South China Morning Post — 18 Feb 2011

Poor visibility in Hong Kong is mainly caused by photochemical smog.

Under sunlight, volatile organic compounds react with nitrogen oxides to form ozone, which in turn helps in the formation of fine particulates.

The accumulation of ozone, fine particulates and other gaseous pollutants results in photochemical smog.

Smog is harmful to our health, especially for senior citizens and children.

Nitrogen oxides are released when nitrogen and oxygen in the air react together under high temperature, such as in the exhaust of fossil-fuel vehicles and power stations.

Volatile organic compounds are released from sources such as petrol, paints and solvents.

The most effective way to have better visibility in Hong Kong is to curb emissions of both.

What Hong Kong can do locally is: (1) rationalise bus routes; (2) phase out all commercial diesel vehicles and buses of early Euro standards; (3) widen use of electric vehicles; (4) introduce vehicle congestion charges in commercial business districts; (5) make use of low-sulphur diesel mandatory for all vessels entering Hong Kong waters; (6) replace town gas with natural gas for cooking and heating; (7) restrict use of coal to less than 20 per cent of the fuel mix for power generation; and (8) extend the coverage of building energy efficiency regulations to all commercial buildings.

Given that air quality in Hong Kong is significantly subject to cross-border influence, it is imperative that the Guangdong provincial government also align itself with the best practices in the world to curb emissions from its power, transport and industrial sectors.

Dr C.W. Tso, Tai Po

Guest Speaker

Leadership in the Engineering Profession

Dr C. W. Tso is a chartered and registered professional engineer, fellow of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and fellow of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He received his education at Lancaster University, UK where he attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering (1st Class Honors), following a DIC in Thermal Power from the Imperial College of Science & Technology, London, a MSc degree in Thermal Engineering at the University of London and Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of South Australia. Prior to pursuing further studies in England under the Swire United Kingdom Scholarship Scheme in 1971, he completed a 4-year apprenticeship at Taikoo thereafter working as a marine engineer on the Blue Funnel cargo vessel, before joining Foster Wheeler in 1976 to embark on a professional career on numerous power generation projects. Returning to Hong Kong in April 1980, he joined the Hongkong Electric Group and served for 26 years in leading roles as a Mechanical Engineer pending his appointment as General Manager (Projects) of Hongkong Electric, responsible for aspects such as budgeting, cost control and project management. During this time he also chaired the company‘s Environment Committee and acted as spokesperson for environmental-related matters. He has made many contributions to educational, community and other professional services including being member of the Executive Committee, the Gas and Safety Appeal Board Panel and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Hong Kong.

HKE Completes First Phase of Emission Reduction Program

HK Electric has completed the first of a two-phase emission reduction program at the Lamma power station with the commissioning of a limestone-gypsum FGD plant and a low-NOx burner system for coal-fired Unit 5. The FGD on Unit 5 will cut more than 90 percent of SO2 emissions while the low-NOx burner will reduce the formation of NOx by over 60 percent. According to HK Electric’s general manager (projects), Dr C W Tso, the completion of the entire program in April 2010 will reduce the emissions of SO2, NOx and suspended particulates by 11,800 tonnes, 3,300 t and 114 t respectively. Gypsum produced in the FGD process will be sold, and last year 77,000 tonnes of gypsum from three HK Electric FGD plants were sold for industrial use.

Green solution for city’s waste

South China Morning Post — 12 Feb 2011

I wish to respond to Bernard Chan’s article (“Can we dispose of our growing waste problem?” January 28) and several letters in these columns, all of which have called for an urgent solution to Hong Kong’s imminent waste management problem.

This is not the first time that I have written to the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583announcements,news) about Green Island Cement’s Eco-Co-Combustion System for waste treatment.

As I have said many times to the Environmental Protection Department and Environment Bureau, with this technology, municipal solid waste can be used to replace coal in our cement plant, and the residual ash can be used as clinker in our cement manufacturing operations.

The system can treat 4,800 tonnes, about 50 per cent of the municipal solid waste that Hong Kong generates every day, so the burden on landfills in the city could be substantially lessened.

As the Eco-Co-Combustion System will be constructed on Green Island Cement’s existing site at Tap Shek Kok, no additional land is required to be zoned or reclaimed, nor will there be any disturbance caused to any citizens.

In addition, the system’s upfront installation cost is about HK$2 billion, a substantial saving on the government’s proposal to spend about HK$4 billion.

However, despite the benefits of the Eco-Co-Combustion System, the government has not given us a chance to tender for processing waste in Hong Kong.

Considering the sentiments that have been expressed in your Letters page over the past few weeks, it would be a waste indeed to see that an efficient, effective and environmentally friendly waste management solution was not given serious consideration.

Don Johnston, executive director, Green Island Cement (Holdings) Limited

Air pollution soars to dangerous levels

South China Morning Post — 2 Feb. 2011

Air pollution in Hong Kong again soared to worrying levels on Wednesday – with roadside pollution index readings in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok recording “very high” levels.

At 1pm, the roadside reading in Causeway was 182, whereas in Central and Mong Kok it was 137 and 107, respectively. The air pollution index in other areas was also high.

Observatory forecaster Steven Ng said the high pollution levels were due to dry weather.

“Hong Kong is now experiencing light-to-moderate northeasterly winds. We expect the situation will continue until Thursday or Friday,” he said.

“Usually, when winds come from the north they bring particulates in the air – visibility is not too good,” Ng told local radio.

The observatory advised people with heart or respiratory illnesses, children and the elderly to be careful

KMB fleet takes cleaner route

February 02, 2011 The Standard

Kowloon Motor Bus is doing its bit to ensure there is less pollution on the roads.

The bus company said it has reduced the average particulate emission levels of its fleet by 90 percent over the past eight years, and the figure will be further reduced this year with the arrival of 300 Euro V buses.

Euro V vehicles emit 43 percent less nitrogen oxide when compared to the Euro IV engines, it said. As of last December, there were 89 Euro V buses in Hong Kong.

KMB principal engineer Kane Shum Yuet-hung said the 300 Euro V buses will be put on the streets as soon as they arrive.

“We are happy to announce that KMB has successfully reduced the average particulate emission levels of our fleet by 90.4 percent last year as compared with emission levels in 1992, when the European Union’s exhaust emission standards had not yet been introduced to Hong Kong,” Shum said.

He also told of a one-year pilot program in which three buses- one Euro II and two Euro III – will be retrofitted with catalytic reduction devices to meet Euro IV nitrogen oxide emission standards.

“The pilot program will be launched in the second half of this year, while pilot low- emission zones will be designated in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok.”

The pilot program was announced by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in his last policy address.

The government will fully fund the retrofitting of the devices while bus companies will bear the subsequent operating and maintenance costs.

Regarding Tsang’s plan to replace diesel buses with six hybrid buses for use by the franchised bus companies along busy corridors, Shum said KMB will test three of the air-conditioned buses for two years in busy districts starting from the second half of 2012.

The Environment Bureau last week proposed spending HK$33 million on the two-year pilot program.

Looking ahead, a pilot program involving Euro VI buseswill be conducted in 2014 with the target of putting them into service in 2015, Shum said

Air Quality Appraisal Damage Cost Methodology

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