Combating vessel-source pollution is the key to improve air quality in Hong Kong. We want to transform Hong Kong to a city for human, not for ships.
Generally, citizens criticize power plants and transportation as main source of Hong Kong air pollution. However, according to Environmental Protection Department (EPD), vessel-based pollution has been on the top of the list as Hong Kong’s pollution source for this few years. Starting from 2011, air pollutants like sulphur dioxide, Particulate Matter and Nitrogen dioxides from vessels emissions is higher than that of roadside and power plants. Once again, it is alarming that Hong Kong citizens are unaware and unprepared for this huge challenge ahead.
Smog levels reached hazardous levels earlier this week in Sham Shui Po, having 91.7 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air. According to the WHO standards, emission level above 71 micrograms is classified as “very dangerous”, showing the seriousness and the urge to solve this problem.
Vessels (especially ocean-going vessels) has an ironic name—“mobile power plant”. Rapid development of vessels business, the commencement of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and street canyon effect has shaped Hong Kong into a ‘dusty concrete forest’, leading to more victims of vessels-pollution. Those who live in the coast-side are especially more seriously affected.
Some critics may wonder how this pollution level harm us. If we just focus solely on sulphur dioxide from the PRD ocean-going vessels, there are 519 premature death each year, proving that it is a pressing issue.
Targeting on Ocean-going vessels
- Using sweet crude oil(0.5% of sulphur content) in Hong Kong waters
- Reduce the speed to 12 knot within Hong Kong waters.
- If they wish to anchor their vessel in Hong Kong waters, they are required to use ULSD ultra low sulphur diesel oil (0.01%).
Targeting on cruise ships
- Install and utilize shore power on Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Through utilizing shore power, it can help to reduce about HKD 523 million, at the same time preventing 42 citizens from premature death.
Setting up the Pearl River Delta Ship Emission Control Area
- Ocean-going vessels in the ECA are only allowed to use sweet crude oil (0.5% of sulphur content). If the above is actively enforced, 95% and 85.3% of the emission of sulphur dioxide and particulate matter can be reduced respectively. According to research in 2012 from academies in Civic Exchange, HKUST and HKU, there was 519 premature death in Hong Kong due to air pollution. Through implementing the ECA, it can help to reduce 91% of that premature death.