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Delta Emissions Up 18pc In 2003 Despite Pact

SCMP -Helen Wu and Cheung Chi-fai
Jan 09, 2008

The Pearl River Delta has reported a rise in emissions of up to 18 per cent in 2003, a year after a cross-border agreement with Hong Kong to reduce major pollutants by 2010, according to a document released yesterday.

It was the first time Guangdong had released figures on its progress towards the 2010 targets – ranging from 20 to 55 per cent reductions for pollutants including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

The mid-term review of the Pearl River Delta Air Quality Management Plan showed that regional emissions, excluding Hong Kong, rose by 1 per cent for particulates, 2 per cent for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide and 18 per cent for VOCs in 2003. The base year for comparisons was 1997.

In a separate release of Hong Kong’s 2006 emission figures by the Environmental Protection Department, further progress was reported in meeting the 2010 targets, with a reduction ranging from 23 to 48 per cent for the three major pollutants in the 2006 levels compared with 1997. However, sulfur dioxide emissions rose by 12 per cent.The review was conducted by experts from the department and Guangdong’s Environmental Protection Bureau. The 2003 emission figures for the delta region were the latest available based on a mutually agreed methodology.

An environment department source yesterday said the review was essential as Guangdong had been through rapid economic growth, making assumptions adopted in the previous cross-border air study obsolete. “It is possible that the mainland will miss the targets if they do not adopt enhanced measures to cut emissions,” he said.

According to the review, both sides could still meet the 2010 targets – or surpass some of them.
But Man Chi-sum, chief executive of Green Power, said the lack of legislation to prevent the creation of VOCs on the mainland made the prospects of a significant reduction “dim”.

Hahn Chu Hon-keung, of Friends of the Earth, also said the pace of development would make meeting the targets difficult.

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