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Exco backs new air quality objectives


The Executive Council has approved new air quality objectives for Hong Kong, which will set more stringent caps on seven types of pollutants. The Environment Secretary, Edward Yau, says some of the objectives comply with the strictest standards set by the World Health Organisation, and the rest meet its “interim” levels.

The new standards include, for the first time, a cap on very fine particles measuring less than 2.5 microns across. These particles, known as PM 2.5, are considered very dangerous as they can easily get into peoples’ lungs. However, the government will use the loosest WHO interim standard as a benchmark for these particles.

Mr Yau said the government hopes the new standards will be implemented in 2014, after the relevant laws are amended. The objectives will be updated every five years.

Mr Yau also said the government will immediately endeavour to adopt the new standards as the benchmark for conducting environmental impact assessment reports for its construction projects. But there’ll be a 3-year “transitional period” for private developments.

Hong Kong’s air quality objectives were last updated in 1987.

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