Growing environmental awareness in Hong Kong and the push for a greener city have led to an increased demand for qualified professionals working in the sector, and local universities have updated their environmental programmes to ensure that graduates are equipped to deal with these issues. The master of science in environmental management resources at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) was introduced in 1989, but has steadily evolved over the years in accordance with local environmental concerns. 'Several new courses have been added to address pressing environmental issues,' said Kenneth Leung Mei-yee, assistant professor at the HKU School of Biological Sciences. 'Our curriculum is reviewed and revised on a regular basis so that students will be well equipped and able to tackle these issues.' New courses, such as the conservation and management of freshwater ecosystem, address global concerns, but the programme also offers locally orientated ones such as environmental law in Hong Kong. Recent dissertations by second-year students showed a tendency to reflect on local concerns, with topics ranging from Hong Kong food safety to the implementation of a light pollution index. Dr Leung said the students' work had proved useful to environmental management in Hong Kong. 'Their research findings often provide essential insights and practical values to the government, society and environmental sector, helping them formulate better policy and solutions to the environmental problem,' he said. Other universities are making sure their environmental graduates are well equipped with the skills to contribute towards a greener city. At City University (CityU), the master of science in environmental science and technology is tailor-made to deal with Hong Kong's environmental situation. Paul Shin, associate professor and course leader, said: 'Students taking the programme may select a special option on environmental health and food safety. In response to the food contamination incidences in recent years, we have introduced courses on food processing and food chemistry as well as food safety and surveillance. There is definitely an increasing demand for graduates who have knowledge in food processing.' Students graduating from the programme are qualified to work in environmental management related fields, including positions in environmental consulting, food safety and construction industries. They can work for the government as environmental protection or scientific officers. The enrolment numbers for the programme reflect the growing interest in this line of work, with more than 25 students applying for the course this year, up from 14 applicants last year. The MSc in environmental science and technology at CityU takes two years to complete part-time or one year full-time. The HKU MSc in environmental management is available only as a part-time programme and takes two years to complete.