I refer to the letter by Mary Chan ('Why allow polluting buses?' November 17). She argues that the government is doing nothing to combat worsening pollution in Central. This is far from the truth.
In fact, the government has required franchised bus companies to take a number of measures to reduce vehicle emissions. These include deployment of environmentally-friendly buses on busy corridors, installation of emission reduction devices, rationalisation of bus routes and stops and the introduction of bus-bus interchange schemes to reduce bus trips. As a result of rationalisation, bus trips in Central were reduced by 18 per cent (2,800 trips) from 1999 to 2006. The total number of franchised buses has decreased from about 6,200 at the end of 2000 to about 5,900 at the end of 2006. These measures have helped reduce roadside emissions, particularly along busy corridors.
Also, bus companies have tried their best to deploy environmentally-friendly vehicles in Hong Kong. By the end of 2006, around 66 per cent of the franchised buses had engines of Euro II or above emission standards. All buses with pre-Euro and Euro I engines (about 34 per cent of the bus fleet) have been retrofitted with catalytic converters or continuous regenerating traps. It is estimated that by the end of 2011 the number of franchised buses with Euro II engines or above will increase to 84 per cent of the total fleet.
Most importantly, local bus companies have made a great effort to protect our environment.
Take KMB, for example. As of June 30, KMB had 4,018 buses, all of which comply with Euro emission standards.
At present, more than 600 KMB buses reach Euro IV-standard emissions. From this year, the even more environmentally-friendly Euro V diesel, with only 0.001 per cent sulphur content, has been progressively introduced in the KMB fleet. This new type of near-zero sulphur diesel can make a further contribution to improving the environment through cleaner emissions.
Undoubtedly there is room for improvement, but our government and bus companies have tried their best to deal with the pollution problems.
Charlie Chan Wing-tai , Sha Tin