Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

February 18th, 2011:

8 ways to curb air pollution

South China Morning Post — 18 Feb 2011

Poor visibility in Hong Kong is mainly caused by photochemical smog.

Under sunlight, volatile organic compounds react with nitrogen oxides to form ozone, which in turn helps in the formation of fine particulates.

The accumulation of ozone, fine particulates and other gaseous pollutants results in photochemical smog.

Smog is harmful to our health, especially for senior citizens and children.

Nitrogen oxides are released when nitrogen and oxygen in the air react together under high temperature, such as in the exhaust of fossil-fuel vehicles and power stations.

Volatile organic compounds are released from sources such as petrol, paints and solvents.

The most effective way to have better visibility in Hong Kong is to curb emissions of both.

What Hong Kong can do locally is: (1) rationalise bus routes; (2) phase out all commercial diesel vehicles and buses of early Euro standards; (3) widen use of electric vehicles; (4) introduce vehicle congestion charges in commercial business districts; (5) make use of low-sulphur diesel mandatory for all vessels entering Hong Kong waters; (6) replace town gas with natural gas for cooking and heating; (7) restrict use of coal to less than 20 per cent of the fuel mix for power generation; and (8) extend the coverage of building energy efficiency regulations to all commercial buildings.

Given that air quality in Hong Kong is significantly subject to cross-border influence, it is imperative that the Guangdong provincial government also align itself with the best practices in the world to curb emissions from its power, transport and industrial sectors.

Dr C.W. Tso, Tai Po

Guest Speaker

Leadership in the Engineering Profession

Dr C. W. Tso is a chartered and registered professional engineer, fellow of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and fellow of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He received his education at Lancaster University, UK where he attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering (1st Class Honors), following a DIC in Thermal Power from the Imperial College of Science & Technology, London, a MSc degree in Thermal Engineering at the University of London and Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of South Australia. Prior to pursuing further studies in England under the Swire United Kingdom Scholarship Scheme in 1971, he completed a 4-year apprenticeship at Taikoo thereafter working as a marine engineer on the Blue Funnel cargo vessel, before joining Foster Wheeler in 1976 to embark on a professional career on numerous power generation projects. Returning to Hong Kong in April 1980, he joined the Hongkong Electric Group and served for 26 years in leading roles as a Mechanical Engineer pending his appointment as General Manager (Projects) of Hongkong Electric, responsible for aspects such as budgeting, cost control and project management. During this time he also chaired the company‘s Environment Committee and acted as spokesperson for environmental-related matters. He has made many contributions to educational, community and other professional services including being member of the Executive Committee, the Gas and Safety Appeal Board Panel and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Hong Kong.

HKE Completes First Phase of Emission Reduction Program

HK Electric has completed the first of a two-phase emission reduction program at the Lamma power station with the commissioning of a limestone-gypsum FGD plant and a low-NOx burner system for coal-fired Unit 5. The FGD on Unit 5 will cut more than 90 percent of SO2 emissions while the low-NOx burner will reduce the formation of NOx by over 60 percent. According to HK Electric’s general manager (projects), Dr C W Tso, the completion of the entire program in April 2010 will reduce the emissions of SO2, NOx and suspended particulates by 11,800 tonnes, 3,300 t and 114 t respectively. Gypsum produced in the FGD process will be sold, and last year 77,000 tonnes of gypsum from three HK Electric FGD plants were sold for industrial use.