Environmentalists and academics welcomed the Chief Executive's commitment to improving the quality of the environment and strengthening cross-border links. But they called for more details on how the changes would be put into action across a number of different bureaus and departments, and more 'drastic action' on the East River, or Dongjiang, water supply. 'I think it's a big step forward compared with previous speeches and statements,' said Chinese University geography professor Lam Kin-che, who is also chairman of the Environmental Impact Assessment subcommittee and director of the Centre for Environmental Studies. 'It's pro-active and forward-looking . . . the environment of Hong Kong has been put in a regional context for the first time - a significant improvement,' he said. 'However, there is a need for co-ordinating policies and more drastic action, not just technical means. It's going to cut across bureaus, so I'd like to know how they are going to achieve all this.' There should have been more details on dealing with problems with the Dongjiang water supply, he said. The focus on cross-border liaison was encouraging, said Friends of the Earth assistant director Plato Yip Kwong-to. 'It's good that they have looked at the larger picture. We tick everything - the money for non-government organisations for environmental education, the air pollution initiatives, the minibus trials and the institutional support,' he said. A Conservancy Association spokesman said while they welcomed the anti-pollution message, the measures were still 'defensive and reactive' rather than bold new initiatives. 'Hong Kong is still playing catch-up. In sustainable development and conservation, we were left with mainly vague promises,' he said. 'But we welcome the fact the Government has finally woken up to the cross-border nature of the problem.' He cautioned against the Sustainable Development Committee becoming 'another layer of bureaucracy'.