Undersecretary for Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai told the Legislative Council on Tuesday that the government would consider building more air quality monitoring stations in the city, although the existing ones were sufficient for policy making and scientific purposes.
Environment officials said the government planned to build two new stations in Tuen Mun and Tseung Kwan O, in response to development and population growth in the districts.
Loh said the bureau would also consider adding to the current 11 general and three roadside stations to satisfy public demand for information about local air quality.
The hearing was in response to last month’s report from the Audit Commission, which criticised the government’s pollution-cutting measures as ineffectual, inadequate or stalled by red tape.
Mok Wai-chuen, assistant director for the Department of Environmental Protection, said the existing stations were sufficient to provide data for Hong Kong, as many readings in the city were similar.
It was not necessary to have more stations for scientific research and policy making, he said, adding that the department reviewed the network of stations every year.
Civic Party’s lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit was sceptical about Mok’s comments. “Logically speaking, if resources allow, the more data you collect, the better it is for scientific purposes,” he said.
Loh replied, “We may add more stations according to public need. But the government hasn’t reached a conclusion yet.”
She noted that increasing public interest in air quality in recent years meant that there was a growing demand for readings in specific districts.
Mok said building a new station would cost HK$3 million, while maintaining an existing one would cost HK$1.5 million to HK$2 million per year.