ACCORDING to many commentators, one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century is the protection and conservation of the environment. It’s a mainstream issue and not just in places like Australia. Indeed even the government of Hong Kong is now making environmental sustainability a key objective which it intends to integrate with economic and social objectives.
And according to recent Australian government advice there are opportunities for Australian businesses in pollution prevention and control technologies as the country seeks to address air and water pollution. Current major suppliers of environmental equipment are apparently from the USA, Japan, mainland China and the UK.
“Air pollution is a serious problem, and diesel smoke and fine dust in the urban areas are the most pressing problems, causing health concerns. A number of measures have been introduced that have reduced vehicle emissions by almost 80 per cent.
• Hong Kong became the first city in Asia to switch to ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel
• Over 98 per cent of the 15,000 taxis in Hong Kong have converted to LPG
• Over 80 per cent (24,000 in number) old light diesel vehicles installed particulate trap
• All new petrol cars must be fitted with catalytic converters
• Higher fines are imposed on smoky vehicles
• Introduction of the most stringent Euro III emission standards
Road traffic noise is one of the most pervasive forms of pollution in Hong Kong. Close to a million people live in homes which suffer road traffic noise higher than the minimum acceptable standard (70 dB) in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines. The following measures have been introduced to tackle road traffic noise problems:
• Pre-emptive planning based on environmental impact assessments
• Introduction of building insulation to redress the impact on the affected premises
• Installation of roadside barriers and enclosures on existing roads
• Imposition of legislative regulation to control noise from vehicles
• Resurfacing noisy roads with a special porous, low-noise road surface
“Water pollution has increased with urban development. Hong Kong produces more than two million tonnes of sewage every day. The lack of proper treatment for most sewage from the urban area around Victoria Harbour has resulted in poor water quality. The Government has launched the ‘Harbour Area Treatment Scheme’ to tackle the sewage and wastewater pollution. Around 70 per cent of the sewage that flows into Victoria Harbour will pass through chemically enhanced treatment. An international panel completed a review on the sewage system in Hong Kong and made suggestions on the future treatment of sewage.
The total recycling recovery rate in Hong Kong is about 35 per cent of the total municipal solid waste. In the industrial and commercial sectors Hong Kong has a good recovery rate with over 50 per cent of materials being recycled. Local industry reprocesses over 50 per cent of recyclable materials such as waste paper, metals, plastic and glass.
Chemical wastes are treated at the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre by incineration. The government also plans to develop incineration facilities for the disposal of municipal waste, clinical waste, sewage sludge from the sewage treatment plants, and animal carcasses.”
All this in one of the most densely populated countries on earth.