The Chamber cares about the environment.
We share the community’s concern over air quality,
among other environmental issues.
Government has taken bold steps and practical measures to tackle
air pollution, such as replacing diesel light buses with cleaner
fuel ones, retrofit particulate removal devices on pre-Euro
diesel vehicles, enhance vapor recovery systems in petrol
filling stations, tighten motor fuel standards, reduce VOC
emissions from the printing process, etc.
The 2007 Policy Address by the Chief Executive is
laudable in promising a wide range of further actions to reduce
emissions, including possible legislation on building energy
codes and energy efficiency labeling, carbon audit,
environmentally beneficial regulatory arrangement for power
plants, legislation on ultra-low sulphur diesel and idling
engines, possible introduction of road pricing, and facilitation
of clean production technologies in the Pearl River Delta (PRD).
These all have the Chamber’s full support.
However, despite strenuous efforts over the past years,
the air quality we experience has apparently deteriorated, not
as a community must be ready to acknowledge
that the current emissions are exceeding the carrying capacity
of the environment, and therefore total emissions must be
reduced. Apart from the health hazard,
we are also concerned that poor air quality is affecting our
reputation as an international business and tourism centre, and
is becoming a threat to our competitiveness.
And the picture does not look good for the future.
If one takes the HKSAR Government’s 2030 Planning
Vision and Strategy study as a guide, one can anticipate
substantial growth in energy and emissions arising from
development and cross border transport.
basis, to achieve improvements in air quality and environment in
general will be extremely challenging.
What needs changing is not simply regulations and
measures, but a whole new way of thinking and perhaps a
different, more sustainable way of life.
Truly, the sustainability of
is at stake if environment is not given a higher priority in the
To achieve real improvements in air quality would
therefore require a concerted effort by all sectors of the
the business sector, market forces remains the preferred means
of problem-solving, but a pre-requisite has to be a fundamental
culture change to “internalise” social costs into corporate
efforts like the Project Clean Air initiated by the Chamber in
association with the Business Coalition on the Environment
(BCE), while important, are unlikely to resolve the problem
without the support of appropriate mandatory measures.
On the other hand, regulations may create other problems
such as rising cost of compliance, especially for SMEs.
Given the diversity of the business sector in Hong Kong
and the PRD – big companies versus small players, advanced
plants operating to international standards versus small village
productions, etc., – no single solution will be able to
address the full range of challenges encountered by different
Across the border, while the pressure for growth might
have caused some reluctance to fully implement environmental
policies in the past, both the government and the business
sector have made tremendous progress in tackling pollution, as
evidenced in the 11th Five Year Plan.
This renewed energy for environmental protection should
be fully harnessed.
Air pollution has been featured prominently in all of the
Chamber’s recent Policy Address Submissions.
There is no shortage of ideas on combating air pollution,
whether in policies and regulations (e.g. pollution control
standards in the Mainland) or on public campaigns (e.g. the
Chamber’s Project Clean Air or the government’s Action Blue
is needed is now to find the key drivers for change, to “press
the right buttons” to achieve sustainable results.
As the business Chamber with the broadest
representation of the general business community, the
Chamber would like to put forward a package of 43
action-oriented ideas and recommendations, organized under ten
headings to reflect different aspects of the problem, to
supplement the various initiatives in the Policy Address. These
ten aspects include the following:
Cooperation with the Mainland
Infrastructure and urban planning
Transparency and reporting
Building human capital for sustainability
Under these ten headings, there are a total of 43 ideas
and recommendations (numbered in brackets throughout the text
of the proposals in this paper may be innovative, others may be
potentially difficult, but we are hopeful that through continual
discussion and debate, we shall help the government and the
consensus on one of the most pressing issues confronting
as a world-class international city.