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Toll Roads Key To Cleaner Air

Environment – 15th Feb 2008

Toll roads should be adopted in congested areas as soon as possible while the use of low sulphur diesel should be made mandatory for certain marine transport, catering, construction and port industries to clean the air, according to a Council for Sustainable Development report.

The report on the better air quality engagement process, tabled to the Government today, recommended that a colour-coded system be adopted to denote “high air pollution” days. On “red alert” days, activities that generate air pollutants such as driving of private vehicles and use of non-essential electrical and diesel equipment in certain zones should be discouraged.

It suggested cleaner fuel options like liquefied petroleum gas for light goods and passenger vehicles should be explored, while more pedestrianised areas and closed roads in congested locations should be built. During certain hours of the day, the number of unused or half-used bus routes should be cut.

Incentives for the electricity companies to work with consumer groups and supply less environmentally damaging power with requisite rewards should also be put in place.

Council chairman Edgar Cheng said addressing air-quality issues requires a comprehensive and integrated approach.

Holistic approach

“The council urges the Government to tackle the air-pollution problem in a holistic and co-ordinated manner and come up with a comprehensive plan with timetable and resource allocation on how to effectively implement all necessary measures to tackle the air-pollution problem.

“The 80,000 and more public responses that the council received during the better air quality engagement process clearly show that the community is concerned about the current state of air quality, and that they want to see quick and determined actions to tackle the problem,” he added.

The council also submitted a report analysing the public views prepared by the independent reporting agency Hong Kong University Social Sciences Research Centre.

Both reports are available here. The Environment Bureau will carefully consider the recommendations, especially regarding the practicality of these recommendations.

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