Public consultation re HK Air Quality Objectives

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    Government press release here; you can add your views. Questionable whether health really is key goal in setting objectives, rather than not doing much that might cause ructions in big business whilst appearing to make an effort, and using WHO targets to help befuddle people – might sound good, but these can be far from WHO guidelines re pollutant levels that may be safe.

    The Government today (July 23) launched a four-month public consultation on the Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) review.

         “Air is a very important environmental resource and we must strive to ensure that our air quality can adequately protect public health,” Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, said.

         “The current Air Quality Objectives of Hong Kong have been in place since 1987.  They need to be updated.  In October 2006, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a new set of Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs).  We therefore propose to make reference to the WHO Air Quality Guidelines to update our Air Quality Objectives to enhance the protection of public health and further improve air quality.  In this regard, the Chief Executive announced in his 2008-09 Policy Address that Hong Kong would adopt targets in stages giving due regard to the WHO guidelines,” Mr Yau said.

         "In setting the new Air Quality Objectives, the underlying principle is to protect public health.  Achieving the WHO Air Quality Guidelines will be taken as a long-term goal and we will adopt targets in stages to update the Air Quality Objectives,” he said.

         In mid-2007, the Government commissioned a consultancy study to review the Air Quality Objectives for setting new standards for ambient air pollutant levels that could better protect public health.  The review has now been completed.  The proposed new Air Quality Objectives are as follows –

    (i) Adopting the concentration targets set out under WHO Air Quality Guidelines for sulphur dioxide (10-minute), nitrogen dioxide (1-hour and annual); carbon monoxide (1-hour and 8-hour) and lead (annual);

    (ii) Adopting the concentration targets set out under WHO Interim Target IT 2 for respirable suspended particulates (PM 10) (24-hour and annual); and

    (iii) Adopting the concentration targets set out under WHO IT1 for sulphur dioxide ( 24-hour) and fine suspended particulates (PM 2.5) (24-hour and annual), and the IT for ozone (8-hour).

         To help achieve the proposed new Air Quality Objectives, the review recommends the following emission control measures-

    Emission Capping and Control

    1. Increasing the ratio of natural gas in local electricity generation to 50% together with additional emission abatement measures

    2. Early retirement of aged/heavily polluting vehicles

    3. Earlier replacement of Euro III commercial diesel vehicles with models meeting latest Euro standards

    4. Wider use of hybrid/electric vehicles or other environment-friendly vehicles with similar performance

    5. Ultra low sulphur diesel for local vessels

    6. Selective catalytic reduction for local vessels

    7. Electrification of aviation ground support equipment

    8. Emission control for off-road vehicles/equipment

    9. Strengthening volatile organic compounds control

    Transport Management

    10. Low emission zones

    11. Car-free zones/pedestrianisation scheme

    12. Bus route rationalisation

    Infrastructure Development and Planning

    13. Expand rail network

    14. Cycling network to major public transport hubs

    Energy Efficiency Measures

    15. Mandatory implementation of Building Energy Codes

    16. Energy efficiency standards for domestic electrical appliances

    17. Light-emitting diode or equivalent alternatives for traffic signal / street lighting

    18. Tree planting/roof-top greening

    19. District cooling system for Kai Tak Development

         Upon the implementation of these control measures, it is expected that about 4,200 hospital admissions attributable to air pollution would be avoided per year in Hong Kong and the average life expectancy of the population would be increased by about one month.  The economic benefits to society (mainly due to improvement of public health and savings in energy costs) are estimated to be about $1.228 billion per year, which are substantially higher than the estimated economic costs of $596 million.

         “We fully appreciate the community’s desire to improve our air quality as soon as possible.  The proposed measures, however, will have different degrees of impact on the general public.  For example, electricity tariffs and bus fares may increase.  Our way of living may also need adjustment.  We therefore have to seek the views of the public on the package of measures for reducing emissions, the price the community is willing to pay and the pace at which the control measures should be taken forward such that the community can work together for attaining the new Air Quality Objectives,” Mr Yau said.

         “The consultation period will end at the end of November.  To help Hong Kong set a new benchmark for clean air, I urge people to come forward and offer their views on the proposals,” he said.

         People can collect the consultation documents from District Offices, Regional Offices of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and Public Libraries.  The consultation documents have also been uploaded to EPD’s website: (

         People can forward their views and comments by November 30 to the EPD by post (address: 33/F, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong), by fax (2838 2155) or via email ([email protected]).


    Air Quality Objectives Review

    Public Consultation Forum

    Opportunities for the General Public to Express their Views and Concerns

    10 OCTOBER 2009 (Saturday)



    To enhance the protection of public health and further improve air quality, the HKSAR Government has launched a public consultation on Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) review until the end of November 2009. The proposed new AQOs are set by taking into account the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guidelines and the practices of other advanced countries/economies.

    To help achieve the proposed new AQOs, 19 emission control measures have been recommended in the following four categories:

    -Emission Capping and Control

    -Transport Management

    -Infrastructure Development and Planning

    -Energy Efficiency Measures

    Relevant consultation document can be downloaded from the Environmental Protection Department’s website :

    The proposed measures will have different degrees of impact on the public such as improvement to health, better quality of living, a change of life style, or possible increase in expenses, etc. Therefore, the views of the public are of paramount importance to help Hong Kong set a new benchmark for clean air.

    Date & Time    9:00am – 12:30pm, 10 October 2009 (Saturday)

    Venue    Exhibition Hall, 4/F HKPC Building, 78 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon

    Who Should Attend    Members of the general public, district councils, green groups, trade associations, oil & utility companies, commercial sector, transport industry, educational sector and those who take an interest in our air quality and in improving the living quality and environment of Hong Kong.

    Medium of Communication    Cantonese [simultaneous interpretation from Cantonese to English will be provided]

    Enquiries & Registration    Please register in advance to facilitate arrangements

    Tel :2788 5948 (Mr Yim) / 2788 5563 (Ms Lam)

    Fax:2788 5567

    Email: kkyim [at]

    Link to Download the Registration Form















    日期及時間    2009年10月10日(星期六) 上午9時至下午12時30分

    地點    九龍塘達之路78號香港生產力大樓4樓展示廳

    對象    各界人士包括區議會、環保團體、商會、燃油及公用事業機構、商業機構、公共交通機構及教育機構等。歡迎任何關注空氣質素及致力改善本港的生活質素及環境的人士參與。

    語言    粵語 [大會將提供即時英語傳譯]

    查詢及報名    為方便活動安排,請預先登記

    電話:2788 5948 (嚴先生)/ 2788 5563 (林小姐)

    傳真:2788 5567

    電郵:kkyim [at]



    CAN has handy link for giving feedback on Air Quality Objectives – includes suggested answers, tho you can edit these if you wish (I did!):

    Submit AQO online questionnaire

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