clean sweep

1) Cleaning up the air All new taxis will be required to use Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) by the end of next year.

All diesel-run taxis will be encouraged to use LPG by the end of 2005. The Government says changing the whole taxi fleet will drop pollution levels by 30 per cent.

A trial of LPG minibuses and light vans is to be introduced later this year.

The Government will set up 40 permanent LPG filling stations to serve the new fleet.

The sale of leaded petrol will be banned in April.

In the next two years, all new heavy trucks and buses will have to confirm to Euro III standards. This would reduce their emission of respirable particulates by 33 per cent compared to the buses on the road today or by 89 per cent compared to pre-1995 levels.

2) Reducing waste Hong Kong currently produces around 23,000 tonnes of waste a day - that's enough to fill nearly 200 double-decker buses. The Government plans to cut that amount in half within the next 10 years by: Setting up an industry-led Waste Reduction Committee to look at the feasibility of waste reduction schemes, for example, the use of non-disposable crockery and recycling schemes supported by industries that create food packaging.

Creating legislation to make participation in some waste-reduction measures mandatory if voluntary efforts fail.

Building two of the world's largest incinerators at a cost of around $6 billion each, with the first to start operation in 2007 and the second to come on line about five years later.

Minimising the construction and demolition waste ending up in landfills by encouraging more on-site sorting, and using the material on reclamation sites.

The Government hopes these measure will divert 58 per cent of municipal solid waste away from landfills by 2007 and extend the life of existing landfills from 2015 to 2019.

3) Water pollution control $12 billion will be spent on upgrading Hong Kong's sewerage systems over the next five years.

Stage One of the $20 billion Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme is timetabled for completion by next year. This is expected to reduce pollution in the harbour by 70 per cent by chemically treating water which currently receives only the most basic screening.

Aims to complete tunnelling work to carry sewage to the Stonecutters Island treatment plant which was opened in 1997. The plant currently provides treatment for about 750,000 people in northwest Kowloon. Tunnels connecting the treatment works with the remainder of urban Kowloon and northeastHong Kong are scheduled for completion next year.

The environmental offences - conviction figures for the year 1997-1998 Total fines Noise Control Ordinance 445 $10,269,500 Water Pollution Control Ordinance 289 $6,219,500 Air Pollution Control Ordinance 176 $1,845,350 Waste Disposal Ordinance 225 $1,856,650 Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance 14 $223,000 Dumping at Sea Ordinance 5 $210,000 Total: 1,154 Who is spending what Government department environmental budgets Figures based on estimates of government resources devoted to environmental protection work last year (ie, 1997-1998).

1997 calendar year all figures below.

Drainage Services 2,740.30 Urban Services 1,187 Regional Services 941.30 Civil Engineering 405.10 Territory Development 361.80 Architectural Services 269.10 Education 150.70 Highways 104.40 Electrical & Mechanical Services 84.50 Estimated spending for EPD 1998-1999 $2,170.8 million, revised estimate, excluding capital expenditure on major infrastructure projects (does this calcualte with below?) The breakdown of figures, taken from The Controlling Officers Report, estimates spending for 1998-1999.

1) Waste facilities: $1,480.10 million Providing services for the disposal of all types of waste - household, commercial, farming and chemical.

The department manages three strategic landfills which cost $6 billion to build and cost over $360 million a year to run. EPD also manages five operational refuse transfer stations where rubbish is taken for compacting and packing into containers before being transported to the landfills. The department deals with over 5.7 million tonnes of waste a year.

Management of the Tsing Yi Chemical Waste Treatment Centre. This year, EPD will also develop facilities for the management of low-level radioactive waste.

Restoring old landfill sites built in the 1970s and '80s for recreational use, for example, golf courses and football pitches.

2)Air pollution: $192.30 million Paying over 400 officers based in Local Control Offices who enforce air pollution controls around Hong Kong, checking vehicle emissions and factory outputs.

Managing the 10 rooftop monitoring stations and three roadside stations which formulate the Air Pollution Index, providing daily air pollution forecasts to the general public as well as more detailed information to scientific and academic bodies.

3)Noise pollution: $81.20 million Implementing a programme of noise reduction by fixing noise-reducing surfaces on high-speed roads, and putting up noise barriers on new roads to reduce noise by four to seven decibels - 16 kilometres of barriers had been completed by the end of last year. The department is also considering providing noise-reducing surfaces on existing roads.

Working to update legislation to control noise pollution. By October 1, 1999, new laws are expected to cut noise produced by construction sites by phasing out the noisiest models of diesel pile-drivers in favour of cleaner and quieter hydraulic hammers.

The administration and enforcement of the Noise Pollution Control Ordinance. Almost 6,000 complaints about noise pollution were lodged with the EPD last year (1997-1998), a figure second only to concerns about air pollution. EPD officers based in Local Control Offices handle and investigate the complaints.

4)Waste: $141.40 million The administration and enforcement of the Waste Disposal Ordinance. EPD staff register waste collectors and disposal operators.

EPD staff monitor and issue permits for the shipment of hazardous or non-recyclable waste. Staff carry out spot checks on container ships - last year, more than 200 suspected illegal waste shipments were inspected and more than 30 convictions were brought against illegal shippers.

The operation of a EPD hotline for enquiries about waste minimisation and recycling and campaigns to spread awareness about the need for waste reduction.

5)Water: $202.40 million The enforcement of the Water Pollution Control Ordinance. Responding to complaints about waste products being dumped in the sea and in inland waters, carrying out checks on factories and farms.

The monitoring of water quality including the seawater, typhoon shelters, rivers, streams and nullahs. The department issues annual reports on marine and river water quality and the information is used to determine long-term trends. EPD also audits data from major construction works to prevent damage to the environment. Monitoring work is also done at sewage outfalls to assess the impacts of new discharges on the marine environment. EPD spends money on the equipment used in the monitoring work and on laboratory tests on water samples.

EPD monitors the water quality at over 50 beaches and publishes weekly public reports during the summer.

6)Environmental assessment and planning: $57.50 million The administration of the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance which came into effect on April 1, 1998. The ordinance provides the legal framework for environmental impact assessments and the implementation of environmental measures. EPD vets the assessments and, if approved, issues an environmental permit allowing work to go ahead.

Operation of the Green Manager Scheme which provides training programmes in environmental awareness for government bureaux and departments. Encouraging managers to implement recycling schemes and be aware of power-saving strategies.

7)Community relations: $15.90 million Organises community awareness campaigns, including action programmes to clean up rubbish from local beaches and to encourage public housing residents to recycle paper. Holds workshops for teachers and green management courses for private organisations.

Manages two Environmental Resource Centres, one in Wan Chai, the other in Tsuen Wan, providing books and information on the environment for students, businesses and community groups.

Promotes the Student Environmental Protection Ambassador Scheme to encourage children to become involved in environmental projects. The 4,600 ambassadors organise environmental awareness programmes and activities in schools.

Publishes a bilingual monthly magazine, ECCO, which has a circulation of 25,000 and is distributed through schools, colleges and universities.

How other major departments spend their environmental budget These figures are based on estimates of government resources devoted to environmental protection work in 1997-1998. Source: Environment Hong Kong 1998. The budgets are not specifically for pollution-related issues.

There is no entry for the Transport Department, because, interestingly enough, the department doesn't have a budget set aside for environmental concerns.

Drainage Services Department: $2,740.30 million Responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining the public sewerage system and sewage treatment works to reduce water pollution. Last year (1997-1998), the department treated over 808 million m3 of waste water.

Major capital expenditure spent on the planning, design and construction of two sewerage projects. Around $1 billion spent on the Sewerage Master Plan Scheme to improve the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage in 16 areas around Hong Kong. $800 million spent on the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme to collect and treat the sewage discharges from the urban areas of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

Urban Services Department: $1,187 million Employs over 4,300 people to keep the streets clean and collect rubbish. In busy areas, streets are swept an average of four times a day, and up to six times a day in the busiest pedestrian areas.

Operates 227 refuse collection vehicles which collect around 3,100 tonnes of waste a day.

Manages 105 permanent off-street refuse collection points: 45 on Hong Kong Island and 60 in Kowloon. The department is also responsible for the provision and maintenance of 8,611 fibreglass litter containers on the streets.

Organises the Keep Hong Kong Clean Campaign with other government departments and the Provisional District Boards. This includes clean-up activities at beaches and public housing estates, and a year-end clean-up to enable householders to dispose of unwanted articles.

Regional Services Department: $941.30 million Operates daily street cleaning, waste collection and anti-littering patrols in the New Territories and on outlying islands.

Implements measures to reduce the amount of waste produced. This includes providing a collection service for source-separated recyclable materials in Tai Po and Sha Tin and setting up a Plastic Waste Recycling Funding Scheme to encourage non-profit-making organisations and community groups to organise plastic waste recycling activities.

By the end of 2000, the Regional Services Department plans to provide recycling bins at 121 council venues for the recycling of waste paper, aluminium, cans and plastic bottles.

Holds anti-spitting and anti-littering operations, clean beach campaigns and mass clean-up operations at recreation areas and roadside amenity areas.

The Architectural Services Department: $269.10 million Works on air and water pollution controls and noise mitigation measures for government projects, for example, designing and building sewage treatment plants for prisons in rural areas that are not connected to main sewerage system.

Replacing chlorine treatment plants at over 90 per cent of public swimming pools with the safer and less polluting ozone sterilisation system.

Constructing air quality monitoring stations for EPD.

Replacing asbestos in the insulation of old buildings with newer, safer materials.

The Education Department: $150.70 million Installs air-conditioners and double-glazed windows to protect children against noise pollution. By September 1, 1998, 407 schools had been fitted with air conditioners.

Organises educational activities to raise awareness about environmental protection, including, for example, the Keep Hong Kong Clean School Project Competition, the Country Parks Adoption Scheme and conservation camps.

The Marine Department: $43 million Carries out work to control oil pollution. Daily random checks are carried out on tankers and container vessels to check their disposal of oily bilge waters.

In the case of an oil spill, the department has three specialist vessels and six back-up vessels to apply dispersion chemicals and collect the oily water.

The department performs annual checks and some spot checks on tanking berthing terminals to inspect the oil-spill response equipment.

Collects floating refuse from harbour waters and operates a ship collection service to collect domestic refuse from ocean-going vessels.

Runs a hotline which the public can call to report accumulated marine refuse.