The Hong Kong Government yesterday announced the Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035, the first major update to air quality objectives since the release of the Clean Air Plan in 2013. The full report can be found here:
The plan covers six major "areas of action":
- Green Transport
- Liveable Environment
- Comprehensive Emissions Reduction
- Clean Energy
- Scientific Management
- Regional Collaboration
While admirable in scope, the plan is heavy on buzzwords, but light on specific targets and deliverables. The stated goal is to:
Become a liveable city with air quality on par with major international cities [by 2035]
With the "ultimate goal" of:
Air quality to fully meet the ultimate targets under the Air Quality Guidelines of the World Health Organization
Put another way, the plan seeks to (sometime after 2035) meet the WHO air quality targets that were set in 2006. One would imagine that by that time, the relevant targets will be significantly stricter, given that the WHO has stated categorically that there is no safe level of particulate pollution.
With such a variety of low-hanging fruit available to reduce emissions (coal-fired power generation, decades old ferry technology, lax marine emissions regulations, near zero enforcement of idling engines/illegal parking), environmental groups are understandably less than pleased with the report:
There's no timetable...our questions is "what's taken so long"? We've asked these questions in 2013. What are the challenges? Why Hong Kong cannot set the target right now?"
Patrick Fung, CEO of the Clean Air Network on RTHK [30-Jun-21]