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November 24th, 2012:

Letters to the Editor, November 24, 2012

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Letters to the Editor, November 24, 2012

Letters to the Editor, November 24, 2012

Submitted by admin on Nov 24th 2012, 12:00am


Environment officials can do better job

The Environmental Protection Department’s dogged intention to locate a massive off-shore waste incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau marked a low point in governance.

The decision was made for the wrong reasons, when there were more cost-effective and environmentally viable alternatives available.

It is evident the government has been weak-kneed when facing opposition from vested interests, but has been willing to frustrate public opinion on this matter to such a degree that the director of environmental protection lost credibility with the community.

As a result, a Cheung Chau resident brought a judicial review against this ill-advised HK$23 billion project. He is to be commended.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor claims that the first four months of government under Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying have been productive, but also remarks that governance has become difficult (“Lam claims productive first four months” November 15).

That is not surprising when officials continually make decisions that are obviously against the wishes of the majority of citizens, and public consultations are a sham.

It is most doubtful that the new team at the Environmental Protection Department would have supported the Shek Kwu Chau decision.

Common sense should prevail and that decision should be rescinded by the new administration.

The traffic congestion caused by the disparity in tunnel tolls is another area where our administration needs to apply common sense to a problem where government bureaucrats have been totally impotent for far too many years.

As a result, roadside pollution has soared and the government is failing the population miserably (“Watchdog slams city’s battle on pollution”, November 15).

Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels

Take old diesel vehicles off our roads now

My thanks to Tom Holland (“The sheer wilful stupidity of official inaction on pollution”, November 16) and the Audit Commission report (“Watchdog slams city’s battle on pollution”, November 15) for highlighting what we all know, the complete failure of this government’s so-called clean air policy.

To clean up this mess, it is obligatory that we tackle roadside pollution without delay and with a vengeance.

Years of government inaction have seen our air quality deteriorate to dangerous levels.

As a father of four children, I am seriously concerned for their well-being. No wonder class-action lawsuits can’t get off the ground here.

Why is it that this administration cannot tackle roadside air pollution and immediately take 50,000 pre-2001 diesel vehicles off the roads?

Is it to do with the transport lobby and other vested interest groups?

Christine Loh Kung-wai (environment undersecretary), where are you?

Tony Carey, Kwun Tong

Tai Po beach plan will ravage habitat

A coalition of 30 groups opposing the government’s plan to build an artificial beach in Lung Mei wants to launch a judicial review against the project.

This project could harm a vulnerable marine ecosystem and I am concerned by the government’s decision to go ahead with its proposal.

It seems to be motivated by profit rather than preserving the delicate ecological balance in this coastal area of Tai Po. Marine creatures there and their habitat would be wiped out.

I urge officials to reconsider their decision, realise they will do more harm than good, and withdraw plans for the construction of this artificial beach.

Law Wan-ning, Tsuen Wan

Source URL (retrieved on Nov 24th 2012, 8:06am):

Hong Kong, Guangdong lower pollution reduction targets for 2020

Submitted by admin on Nov 24th 2012, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong


Stuart Lau, Li Jing in Guangzhou and Emily Tsang

Under eight-year plan, HK and Guangdong set separate reduction rates on emissions, which is a departure from ambitious goals set previously

Hong Kong and Guangdong have decided on reduction targets for air pollutants up to 2020 that are much less ambitious than goals set in the previous phase.

Under the new eight-year plan starting this year, authorities from each side will also work towards separate mid- and long-term reduction rates of emission.

That decision marked a departure from the 2002-2010 phase, in which both places shared common emission targets for four pollutants.


In that phase, Guangdong failed by 2010 to achieve a promised cut in volatile organic compounds and marginally attained the target for nitrogen oxides.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, had met all four targets, which also include sulphur dioxide and respirable suspended particulates.

“Obviously, there’s not enough momentum for Guangdong officials to take emissions of volatile organic compounds very seriously,” a mainland analyst said.

Representatives from the Environment Bureau met their provincial counterparts in Guangzhou yesterday to thrash out 2012-2020 targets in the hope of alleviating regional air pollution. It is understood that Guangdong spent the past two years compiling data from its thousands of factories and vehicles, among other polluting sources.

Zhang Ruifeng, an official of the Guangdong provincial environmental protection bureau, said: “Without national standards and regulations on volatile organic compounds, it is extremely difficult to rein in polluting businesses.”

Zhong Liuju, an air pollution prevention expert linked to the provincial government, said pollution worsened at an “unexpected” pace as 2010 economic output turned out to be 1.26 times the original estimates.

Both regions laid down new specific reduction targets on emissions yesterday that would apply only until 2015, while setting ranges for 2015 to 2020.

In the three years ahead, Hong Kong will have a tighter sulphur dioxide target than Guangdong, but will ease up on scrutiny of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. Both places endorse the same target for respirable suspended particulates, or particles of 10 microns or less.

The latest targets are less aggressive than in the previous endeavour. For example, in the last phase, the two places wanted to cut respirable suspended particulates and volatile organic compounds by 55 per cent on 1997 levels; this time, Hong Kong is aiming at 10 and 5 per cent less than the 2010 levels, while Guangdong seeks 10 per cent for both pollutants. Officials claimed room for further improvement was limited.

By 2020, Hong Kong hopes to see emission drops in all four pollutants of 15 to 75 per cent, and Guangdong 15 and 40 per cent.

Meeting the lower range for Hong Kong would be in line with proposed air-quality objectives to be introduced in 2014, a bureau official said.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said legislation – though effective – would have to take into account business concerns. The city would consider phasing out old diesel vehicles and tighten car emissions standards, he said.

Melonie Chau Yuet-cheung, of green group Friends of the Earth, said the 2020 target ranges were too broad. “It is questionable whether officials are determined to achieve [the ambitious upper ends of the ranges].”


Air Pollution

Hong Kong


Source URL (retrieved on Nov 24th 2012, 6:03am):