Polluters may have to cough up more than $3 billion under the SAR's green crusade, Tung Chee-hwa said. Despite the economic woes, Mr Tung stressed that the polluter-pays principle would be applied. He urged the business community and the public to rally behind him. Mr Tung, speaking at a joint chambers of commerce lunch, conceded his $30 billion blueprint on the environment was unpopular. 'Someone told me that politically it's suicidal if you raise such a high profile on the environment. 'But I think it is so important to Hong Kong's long-term future. We need to do it,' he said. Mr Tung said the $30 billion plan would come from government capital injection over the next 10 years. The recurrent cost, which will rise from the existing $1.1 billion to more than $3 billion, may be financed by polluters. 'The question is how should this recurrent cost be borne? I think it's important we move forward to the principle of polluter-pays because that is the way to discourage more pollution. 'The other side, of course, is that there are all these many ordinary people who have gone through an even tougher time. We have to look at them too. But I think we should not, as a principle, deviate from polluter-pays.' The Chief Executive also took the opportunity to reassure business of the Government's policy of non-intervention. Responding to allegations that his administration had deviated from the free market principle, Mr Tung said: 'I have asked both Anson [Chan, the Chief Secretary for Administration] and Donald [Tsang, the Financial Secretary]. I said you were here before me, is there a difference? And the answer is no. 'Perhaps the only difference is that because of the very rapidly changing environment, we are moving probably faster on our feet.'