Lukewarm response to green factory scheme

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 August, 2009, 12:00am

The government's scheme to subsidise factories in the Pearl River Delta region to improve environmental performance has received a lukewarm response because of the recent financial meltdown, the Environmental Protection Department said.

The government earmarked HK$93 million last April to start a five-year cleaner production partnership programme to encourage Hong Kong-owned factories in the delta to adopt cleaner production technologies and practices - a measure to reduce emissions by factories and enhance the region's air quality.

In a report submitted to the Legislative Council on the programme's progress, the Environmental Protection Department said 166 of 283 funding applications received had been approved by March this year. The funding approved, HK$1.64 million, accounts for about 18 per cent of the cash set aside for the programme.

It said: 'The prevailing economic and business climate may not be conducive to enticing factory operators to pursue cleaner production technologies and practices.'

Tsang Kam-lam, general manager of the Productivity Council, which implemented the programme, said the 35 demonstration projects included the introduction of more energy-efficient heat pumps at a metal-processing plant.

Twenty-nine applications were rejected because their proposals had either been commonly adopted or already adopted by other approved demonstration projects. One that was rejected proposed to introduce more energy-efficient fluorescent light tubes in factories.

'We are roughly meeting the target number of participating factories,' Mr Tsang said. But no target had been set for the total reduction in factory emissions, he added.

The department said it would continue its awareness campaigns.