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June 17th, 2011:

High Pollution Again

—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 15:18
To: Hotmail
Cc: Edwin Town; Christian Masset;; James Middleton;
Subject: High Pollution Again

Dear Mr. Furner,

Thanks for your email and suggestions on 29 May.

As said last time, the mass media receives hourly updates of the API
information through the Information Service Department. It is their standing
practice to report APIs at regular intervals.  The ‘very high’ level API
incident on 28 and 29 May was reported by various TV and radio stations as
well as newspapers. The MTR also displays API information at the message
boards at the entrances of their stations.

Regarding your proposal to install a large API display panel at the Central
air quality monitoring station (AQMS), please note that we consulted
relevant departments on a similar suggestion made by the Central & Western
District Council back in 2000. The Transport Department did not support the
proposal because the proposed display might cause pedestrian congestion at
the spot and was not desirable from traffic engineering point of view at a
busy street like that. In addition, the EMSD advised that there was no space
to accommodate the additional display at the Central AQMS. The proposed
project could not proceed because of the technical constraints in
installation, ongoing maintenance and safety concerns.

The suggestion to consider imposing selective vehicle restrictions on high
air pollution days at hotspots has been raised by the Council for
Sustainable Development in October 2008. It was found that such proposal had
not been applied in any overseas jurisdictions. Major implementation and
enforcement details, such as when to trigger the restriction, how much
advance notice be given to vehicle users, and how long such restriction
should be made, are exceedingly complex. You may like to know that we are
working to set up “pilot low emission zones” in busy districts such as
Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok, which would restrict the entry of
high-emission franchised buses.  We will increase as far as possible the
ratio of low-emission buses (i.e. those meeting the emission level of a Euro
IV or above bus) running in these zones from 2011, with the target of having
only low-emission buses in these zones by 2015 the latest.

Regarding the circular issued by Education Bureau (EDB), EDB has advised
that upon receiving EPD’s notification of the API at very high level in the
early morning of a school day, the EDB would immediately send a message to
schools alerting them to the very high API and to take the necessary
precautionary measures as advised in the relevant EDB Circular.  The
circular also advises schools to check against the API level at EPD’s

According to the EDB, almost all PE teachers in Hong Kong are trained
professionals.  They are able to make judgment on the suitable exercise
intensity for students without existing heart or respiratory illnesses with
reference to potential health implications as advised by EPD and the actual
air condition of the activity area, e.g. “very high”.   Sedentary lifestyle
is harmful to health, especially for students who are in the stage of active
physical development.  So EDB treasures all opportunities to promote active
and healthy style among students and encourage teachers to maximise the PE
learning time.  If there is proved evidence that it is not suitable for
students in normal health condition to have physical activities in a certain
API level, EDB will take the advice for the sake of students’
health and modify the learning content and strategies.

The API review study by the leading academics (including public health
experts and an atmospheric scientist) is in progress.  We will make public
its findings when ready.

As to your request for the provision of long-term air pollutant data, please
note that the data provided on “past 24 Hours Pollutant Concentration” web
page are provisional real-time data for calculating API.
These provisional data will have to be validated according to EPD’s quality
control and quality assurance procedures similar to the practices adopted in
the USA. The validation is to ensure the quality of the data. The data
validation process usually takes a few months. After validation, we’ll
upload all the data to EPD’s web site at the following link for public reference. Please feel
free to browse and download the air quality data you are interested.

You also asked about the emission data for power plants.  As power
generation is the biggest source of air pollution in Hong Kong, other than
imposing very stringent emission control requirements and emission caps, we
have required the power companies in the licences to install continuous
emission monitoring system at the stacks for real-time monitoring of their
emissions of major air pollutants and transmit the data to our office
through telemetry to ensure the emissions are fully complied with the
emission limits.  The data so collected are solely for enforcement purposes
and will not be further released to third parties.

To facilitate the public to get access to the emission performance
information of the power plants, we have required the two power companies to
post their emission quantities after data validation and auditing on a
quarterly basis at the following websites-


You may like to know that the power companies have already completed the
retrofitting of their major coal-fired generation units with emission
reduction facilities and increased the use of natural gas for electricity
generation for complying with the emission caps requirements imposed in the
licences.  With all these measures, the 2010 annual emissions from the power
sector of SO2, NOx and RSP have been reduced by 62%, 29% and 34%
respectively from the 2009 levels. Please be rest assured that we would
closely monitor the emissions from the power stations of both power
companies.  Should we observe any non-compliance with the emission limits,
we will take enforcement actions under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance
as appropriate.


WM Pun
Air Science Group


Hong Kong losing its lustre?

17 June 2011

SINGAPORE: More senior-level professionals in Hong Kong are eyeing Singapore as their preferred work destination, according to global recruitment agency Ambition.

During the first five months of the year, it came across about 320 candidates “expressing interest in relocating to Singapore from Hong Kong” – a 58-per-cent increase from about 200 candidates in the same period last year.

Most of these candidates have, on average, about five to six years of work experience and are at director level.

Adding that these candidates “aren’t just seeking a better job”, Ambition Singapore managing director Paul Endacott said: “The people we are talking to are citing a growing range of negative issues in Hong Kong, including the lack of places in international schools.”

He added: “Pollution is constantly on their growing list of concerns but they also have issues with the cost of living – specifically associated with accommodation – the size of the accommodation they can typically afford and quality of life, particularly for families.”

CIMB-GK regional economist Song Seng Wun noted that senior professionals with families would prefer Singapore as it is “more family-friendly”.

Said Mr Song: “But the opportunities for banking and finance in Hong Kong are much bigger … young professionals starting out may not mind a lower quality of living in order to reap these opportunities.”

In the first three months of this year, Singapore’s gross domestic product overtook Hong Kong’s – a trend that the Bank of America Merrill Lynch had said last month would continue for the rest of the year, helped by strong gains in the Singapore dollar against the greenback, to which the Hong Kong dollar is pegged.

Mr Song noted the region’s pull factor as well: Economies in South-east Asia are expanding rapidly, creating plenty of job openings in Singapore.

Concurring, DBS economist Irvin Seah said: “Singapore is smack in the middle of South-east Asia … This has led to an increase in jobs here, which is a very attractive proposition coupled with the stable geopolitical environment and social stability here.”

However, Mr Seah noted that the tightening of Singapore’s immigration policy “could pose a challenge for international talent looking to relocate to Singapore”.

While Mr Song felt that Hong Kong’s proximity to China meant that it will remain an attractive economy, Mr Seah said this was a double-edged sword.

Said Mr Seah: “There are several up-and-coming Chinese cities which are very competitive and pose a challenge to Hong Kong as a gateway to the China market.” – TODAY


Download PDF : CTACountryComparAQO

Handy Comparison Charts Note absence of lethal PM2.5 standard

Emissions Reference site Th esignificance of Euro5 is Particulate Matter stringent rules PM2.5 is the roadside killer

Summary of worldwide diesel emission standards is presented in cooperation withDiesel Progress Magazine.

  • Euro I standards were introduced in 1992, followed by the introduction of Euro II regulations in 1996. These standards applied to both truck engines and urban buses, the urban bus standards, however, were voluntary.
  • In 1999, the EU adopted Directive 1999/96/EC, which introduced Euro III standards (2000), as well as Euro IV/V standards (2005/2008). This rule also set voluntary, stricter emission limits for extra low emission vehicles, known as “enhanced environmentally friendly vehicles” or EEVs.
  • In 2001, the European Commission adopted Directive 2001/27/EC which prohibits the use of emission “defeat devices” and “irrational” emission control strategies, which would be reducing the efficiency of emission control systems when vehicles operate under normal driving conditions to levels below those determined during the emission testing procedure.
  • Directive 2005/55/EC adopted by the EU Parliament in 2005 introduced durability and OBD requirements, as well as re-stated the emission limits for Euro IV and Euro V which were originally published in 1999/96/EC. In a “split-level” regulatory approach, the technical requirements pertaining to durability and OBD—including provisions for emission systems that use consumable reagents—have been described by the Commission inDirective 2005/78/EC.
  • Euro VI emission standards were introduced by Regulation 595/2009published on 18 July 2009 (with a Corrigenda of 31 July 2009). The new emission limits, comparable in stringency to the US 2010 standards,become effective from 2013 (new type approvals) and 2014 (all registrations). In the “split-level” approach, a number of technical details will be specified in the implementing regulation (‘comitology’) which should be adopted by the end of 2010.