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Environmental plan: Deadlines set, timetable unknown


Green area rates are expected to increase from 39.1 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2020, according to the newest version of the environmental protection plan

More than one year after it was announced, the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) has come out with specific goals for the 2010/2020 Environmental Protection Plan. But, while there are precise deadlines, it seems the government has no timetable for the implementation of the plan itself.
A major new point of the plan launched yesterday for public consultation is that it includes 11 goals to be reached up until 2020. However, according to officials, it is not certain yet when the final plan will be ready.
When asked when the blueprint would be completed and ready to be put into practice, the bureau director Cheong Sio Kei provided no information. “We cannot regard this plan as a product, so we have first to take into consideration the social and economic development and improvement of residents’ quality of life [before implementing the plan,” he said, even though the plan has the timeframe of a decade, counting last year.
“We have to weigh up all aspects of today’s situation, so we will continue planning,” he said yesterday during the press conference.
The DSPA-proposed plan focuses in 15 main areas that were already featured in the first document launched in April 2010 – improving air quality and water environment, treatment and disposal of solid waste, controlling noise pollution, conservation of ecosystems and the environment, prevention and control of light pollution, radiation and environmental protection. “All these areas are a priority,” Cheong pointed out.
It includes measures for traffic and transportation, such as the introduction of eco-vehicles and limits to greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles by 2012 and setting up quick detectors of emissions in the busiest areas of the city to supervise the vehicles on the road by 2015.
To fight pollution, the DSPA wants to control emissions of smoke by restaurants and bars by 2012, as well as supervise emissions of gas and oils by gas stations. Until 2015, the bureau is expected to begin a study on strategies to reduce gas carbon emissions, to promote a low-carbon environment and to devise strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Within four years, the air quality rate should be over 98 percent and the household wastewater treatment around 97 percent, up two percent compared to 2009. Noise should be reduced by 0.2 decibel in 2012, one decibel in 2015 and 2.3 decibel in 2020.

Starting from 2015, the government will launch the centralised collection of electrical and electronic waste. Targets are set in the collection of 20 percent and 60 percent of this sort of waste by 2015 and 2020 respectively.
Energy consumption is expected to start dropping within four years. Next year, the rate of recycled waste should be 20 percent, a slightly increase of 1.4 percent.
However, by 2015, the DSPA wants to reach the 30 percent target. According to the Environmental Protection Plan, cleaner energies, such as natural gas, will account for some 25 percent of local consumption by 2015, and 35 percent by 2020.
Also in 2020, Macau will recycle 40 percent of solid waste and use four percent of the wastewater recycled in local plants. A total of five percent of special and hazardous waste will be recycled next year, 10 percent in 2015 and 15 percent in 2020. Green area rates will slightly increase from 39.1 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2020, it adds.
With this new planning, Macau will be divided into three eco-areas, in order “to control the city’s development”.
The new plan will be up for a second round of public consultation until November 6. Afterwards, an independent consulting company will be commissioned to work on the views collected.

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