A Hong Kong-based agency is seeking a cheaper solution to help Pearl River Delta factories reduce emissions that contribute to smog. Raymond Fong Cham-leung, of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, said his organisation was exploring a more affordable option for small and medium-sized factories to control emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Mr Fong said the conventional method of using activated carbon to remove VOCs during manufacturing was too expensive for many firms. The council had identified a cheaper process to remove VOCs, with trials expected to be conducted this year in a Guangdong city. 'The problem of VOCs is as big as the business opportunity it presents. If we succeed in finding a cheaper solution, the new process could be applied to factories across China,' Mr Fong said. He said VOC emissions in the delta region were 'very serious' as most products made there required the use of solvents and paints. 'In some tests we carried out in factories across the border, we found the VOC emission levels several times above the standard,' he said.