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Executive Summary
1. Air pollution is one of the major problems in Hong Kong. The
Environment Bureau (ENB) and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
are responsible for formulating and implementing environmental policies, including
those on air quality. In 2012-13, the EPD’s estimated expenditure on managing air
quality is $627 million.
2. The existing air quality objectives (AQOs) in Hong Kong were set
in 1987, some 25 years ago. The AQOs stipulate the concentration levels for seven
major air pollutants, of which sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide, and
particulate matters with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less (PM10) are the most
relevant and significant ones in Hong Kong. The major sources of air pollution in
Hong Kong are motor vehicles, marine vessels and power plants as well as
emissions from the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region.
3. Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, the EPD, as the Air Pollution
Control Authority, is tasked to aim to achieve the AQOs as soon as is reasonably
practicable and thereafter to maintain the quality so achieved. In the past decade,
through the EPD’s efforts, concentrations of SO2, PM10 and carbon monoxide have
been reduced in Hong Kong. In January 2012, the Government announced that,
based on the Air Quality Guidelines issued in 2006 by the World Health
Organisation, the AQOs in Hong Kong would be revised to more stringent levels
with effect from 2014 (2014 AQOs). To meet the 2014 AQOs, the Government
would, subject to resource availability, implement 22 air-quality improvement
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