Car growth likely to offset reduction gains
Ships remain number one polluting source
Today EPD has released the latest Emission Inventory for 2013. It was showed in the Inventory that marine and road traffic has been the major sources of emission. CAN believes more radical measures needed to be taken in order to reach the emission reduction target set for 2015.
CAN is particularly concerned by the 4% increase in emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) during 2010 and 2013. Queries have been raised on whether significant progress in reduction of emission could be made in the following two years so that the target of reducing NOx reduction by 10% in 2015 could be met.
Marine emission still accounted for 31% of NOx emission, which is one major contributing factor , the other being public electricity generation. In the latest paper on onshore power supply, the government suggested scrubber as a measure to reduce SO2 and PM from cruise ships. However, this technology cannot reduce NOx emission. CAN urges the government to employ onshore power supply to different cruise terminals and container terminal to effectively reduce NOx.
Road transport is also one of the main sources of NOx emission which contributed to 23% of such emission according to the Inventory. Assuming that private cars growth will keep at 4.6% annually and NOx annual reduction at 2%, there will be an additional 57% Nox emission from cars by 2023. CAN insists demand-led management of private cars is the only effective means to solve traffic congestion and thus lower roadside air pollution in Hong Kong. We need to lower the road usage of cars, encourage people to use low emission public transport, and redevelop pedestrian and cycling network. Electronic Road Pricing should also be implemented to curb car growth.
“The impact of private car growth is offsetting the reduction achieved by other end-of-pipe solutions. Measures such as improving access to public transport, direct pedestrian links and pedestrianisation of local streets are urgently needed to change the current unsustainable mode of transport,” Kwong Sum-yin, CEO of CAN said.
Graph1: 2013-2023 Nox emission estimate of private cars
Marine transport continues to be the number one source of SO2 emission. Emission between 2010 and 2013 has dropped by 12% and the target of reduction in 2015 is 25%. As the sulphur content of fuels for local vessels is tightened and mandatory fuel switch by ocean going vessels at berth will be enacted soon, the reduction of SO2 in the coming two years should be more significant. However, in order to reach the 25% reduction target, CAN suggests more bold measures be taken such as switching to 0.5 sulphur fuel inside Hong Kong waters.
She also reminded that there would be a continuous increase in projects for construction of infrastructures as well as new development areas, which might multiply the adverse impacts caused to the environment.