More Emphasis on Environmental Protection
89. In my 1999 Policy Address, I set the objectives for improving
our air quality. At present, about 70% of our taxis have switched
to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and the second batch of large dedicated
LPG filling stations will come on stream by the end of this year.
All franchised buses have already switched to ultra-low sulphur
diesel. We can see that highly polluting vehicle emissions in the
urban area have been greatly reduced. The air quality monitoring
stations show that the number of instances where our air quality
objectives have been exceeded has fallen by 60% between 1999 and
2000. However, we cannot be complacent. We must keep up our efforts.
90. Since September 1999, a joint study has been carried out by
the SAR Government and the Guangdong Provincial People's Government
to examine the problem of air pollution in the PRD. It has involved
a detailed analysis of the causes of the pollution and feasible
measures to improve the quality of air in the region. The study
will be completed soon. Both the Governor of Guangdong, Mr Lu Ruihua,
and myself attach great importance to tackling this problem. Indeed,
we have agreed to reach a consensus by April next year on a plan
to implement long-term measures to improve the air quality of the
91. Marked progress has already been made on improvements to the
quality of water in our harbour and the treatment of solid waste,
despite our rather late start. The Secretary for Environment and
Food earlier reported on the details of her plans and she will continue
to work jointly with other departments to implement these programmes.
92. As a bustling metropolis, Hong Kong also boasts a natural landscape
with large green areas of countryside. However, the greening of
the urban areas is far from extensive. It is irritating to see litter
on some of our streets and beaches. Our public hygiene facilities
leave room for improvement. In the coming year, we will deploy more
resources and manpower to improve environmental hygiene and to increase
our greening efforts.