Shell Hong Kong, the territory's market leader in the fuel industry, regards environmental objectives as an integral part of its business. It is a member of the Private Sector Committee on the Environment. At grass-roots level, the company encourages environmental awareness by sponsoring the Shell Better Environment Awards, administered by Friends of the Earth. A Shell HK representative chairs the Oil and Chemical Industry Safety, Health and Environment Committee, which is made up of eight major companies. It was established to promote common health, safety and environmental matters within the industry and establish sound environmental regulations. According to a recent report by Shell Hong Kong and Macau area director Robert Young, Hong Kong's car and road densities are among the highest in the world. Hong Kong has 178 service stations - almost 60 of which are Shell - to meet the needs of 466,000 vehicles, which Mr Young says is small by international standards. The number of stations is kept deliberately low by government regulations. As a consequence of the low ratio of service stations to vehicles, the average monthly throughput of fuel per station is 500,000 litres, which is higher than most other developed countries. The pressure on some Hong Kong stations means they require refuelling several times a day. As a precaution to lessen road congestion, Shell HK uses its own company ferries to transport tankers with products destined for Hong Kong island from its modern $2.5-billion depot at Tsing Yi. Air pollution in Hong Kong remains a problem and is expected to worsen over the next 10 years. Government figures predict that, between 1995 and 2005, Hong Kong's air quality will deteriorate by a further 50 per cent. While the sale of petrol and diesel in Hong Kong is falling as vehicles are becoming more environmentally efficient, vehicle exhaust emissions are still recognised as a serious contributor to air pollution. One way that Shell HK works to reduce the amount of fuel vapour that escapes into the atmosphere during loading is to use road tankers that are bottom, rather than top, loaded. A vapour return pipe collects the emissions and sends them to the loading gantry. Another pilot scheme at a Hong Kong filling station is to collect fuel vapour produced during unloading into underground storage tanks and return it to the tanker. The policy that Shell follows is called 'The Policy of Paying Proper Regard to Protecting the Natural Environment'. To achieve this, Shell carries out environmental audits at all company depots and retail outlets to build a detailed record of noise, waste disposal, soil protection, effluent water, ground water, oil spillage and aerial emission. Although the industry is controlled by government standards, Shell has its own procedures which it applies to all of its 50,000 service stations worldwide. For example, corrugated oil interceptors are being installed at some filling stations to ensure that water discharge exceeds government standards. Growing concerns about the illegal dumping of lubricants have prompted a new Shell HK initiative for discarding lubricants at collection points installed at strategic locations in the near future. The company then plans to have the used lubricants collected and recycled.