INDOOR AIR QUALITY PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

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http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/prob_solutions/strategies_apc.html

Hong Kong has been facing two air pollution issues. One is local street-level pollution. The other is the regional smog problem. Diesel vehicles are the main source of street-level pollution. Smog, however, is caused by a combination of pollutants from motor vehicles, marine vessels, industry and power plants both in Hong Kong and in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region.

A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong

The Environment Bureau (ENB) released “A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong” in March 2013 to outline comprehensively the challenges Hong Kong is facing with regard to air quality and to give an overview of the relevant air quality improvement policies and measures. We have been implementing a wide range of measures covering land and sea transport, power plants and non-road mobile machinery to reduce air pollution. Besides, we have been strengthening collaboration between Guangdong and Hong Kong to deal with regional air pollution.

Tackling Roadside Air Pollution

To tackle emissions from motor vehicles, the Government has been implementing a comprehensive motor vehicle emission control programme. Our latest key measures include:

  • phasing out some 82 000 pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles progressively by end 2019 involving an ex-gratia payment of about $11.4 billion and setting from February 2014 a maximum service life of 15 years for newly registered diesel commercial vehicles;
  • subsidizing the replacement of catalytic converters and oxygen sensors of LPG taxis and light buses once. After that, we will strengthen emission control on petrol and liquefied petroleum gas vehicles by using roadside remote sensing equipment and dynamometers for emission testing;
  • subsidizing the franchised bus companies to retrofit some 1,400 (subject to a more detailed assessment) Euro II and Euro III franchised buses with selective catalytic reduction devices to upgrade their emission performance to Euro IV or above level by the end of 2016;
  • subsidizing the franchised bus companies to procure six hybrid buses and 36 electric buses for trial; and
  • subsidizing under the $300 million Pilot Green Transport Fund the testing of green and innovative transport technologies applicable to the public transport sector and goods vehicles.

Reducing Marine Emission

To control emissions from marine vessels, Hong Kong has adopted MARPOL Annex VI requirements and regulated excessive vessel smoke emissions. The Government has also been leading by example by powering Government vessels with Euro V diesel. New emission control measures for vessels include:

  • upgrading the quality of local marine diesel;
  • mandating ocean-going vessels to switch to cleaner fuel while berthing;
  • studying the feasibility of installing onshore power supply facilities at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal; and
  • exploring with the governments in Pearl River Delta region on collaboration to reduce vessel emissions in the region.

Cutting Emissions from Power Plants

Electricity generation remains one of the major sources of air pollution in Hong Kong in 2011. It accounts for 44% of the SO2, 26% of the NOX and 16% of the RSP emissions. The emissions of power plants would affect the air quality in the Pearl River Delta region. Reducing their emissions could help reduce the regional levels of SO2, particulates, etc. Therefore, to help improve our air quality, the power companies must further reduce their emissions.

We amended the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO) in 2008 to ensure a smooth, timely and transparent implementation of the emission caps for the power plants by stipulating the emission caps under the Ordinance and allowing power plants to use emissions trading as an alternative means for achieving the emission caps for 2010 and beyond. We issued in 2008, 2010 and 2012 respectively three Technical Memoranda (TM) pursuant to the APCO to stipulate emission caps for power plants. The first TM specified the emission caps for 2010-2014, the second TM tightened the emission caps for 2015-2016, and the third TM tightened the emission caps further with effect from 1 January 2017.

The progress of emission reduction from the power sector is as follows –

  1. on retrofitting existing coal-fired power generation units with emissions reduction devices, Hongkong Electric Company Limited (HEC) completed retrofitting flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) system to two 350 MW coal-fired units (units L4 and L5) and one 250 MW coal-fired unit (unit L2) in Lamma Power Station between 2009 and 2010. CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP) completed retrofitting FGDs and low NOX control systems to four 677 MW coal-fired units (units B1 to B4) in Castle Peak Power Station between 2009 and 2011;
  2. on the wider use of natural gas, HEC commissioned its first gas-fired unit by end June 2006 and put it into commercial operation in October 2006. Starting from 2010, HEC also operated another gas-fired unit (modified from two existing oil-fired gas turbines) as a baseload unit to reduce its emissions. In August 2008, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Co-operation with the National Energy Administration to enable an increase in the use of natural gas for power generation, under which CLP started to use the new gas from the Second West-East Natural Gas Pipeline in 2013; and
  3. on promoting renewable energy, HEC commissioned the first local commercial scale wind power station on Lamma Island in February 2006 and installed photovoltaic solar system at its Lamma Power Station between 2010 and 2013. Both power companies are studying the development of offshore wind-farms in the Hong Kong waters. Besides, the new Scheme of Control Agreements have provided for a higher rate of return of 11% for their investment in renewable energy facilities; a bonus in the range of 0.01% to 0.05% in permitted return depending on the extent of renewable energy usage in their electricity generation; grid connection arrangement will be standardised for back up power supply for customers with embedded renewable generation.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) - Air Test

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