In response to today’s press conference by EPD on “A Review of the Air Quality in Hong Kong (from 1999 to 2014)”, Clean Air Network would like to make the following comments:
First, CAN welcomes EPD’s review on the air quality of HK of the past 15 years. We hope that the department can publish the review annually in the long run. This will enable the public to keep track of air quality changes from time to time and encourage members from civil society to come up with more suggestions and ideas for improving air quality in the region.
Second, the review analyzes the change in SO2 pollutant level in Kwai Chung. There was a significant drop of 12% in SO2 concentration in 2011-2012 compared to 2009-2010. Besides the change in wind direction, the department suggests non-wind factors, including emission reduction from the Fair Winds Charter, as accounting for 70% of the total SO2 reduction.
Nevertheless, the concentration of SO2 still remains high and is far from satisfactory. In 2014, there were 148 days when the level of SO2 was higher than the WHO 24-hour SO2 standard. CAN urges the government to enact a new regulation as soon as possible to mandate ocean going vessels to switch to cleaner fuel while at berth. This helps to protect the health of citizens living near Kwai Chung and Kai Tak, where ship emission is high.
In response to the increasing trend of ozone level in HK, CAN urges the HK government to work with Guangdong together to reduce overall pollutants in the region as well as the formation and accumulation of ozone in the atmosphere.