Air Pollution in Hong Kong
Air quality is a major concern in Hong Kong, and the Government is undertaking a number of initiatives to improve it. The following provides an overview of the problems and the solutions that are being put forward.
Hong Kong's air pollution is mainly contributed by motor vehicles, marine vessels and power plants. The two greatest challenges are local street-level pollution and regional smog. Diesel vehicles, particularly trucks, buses and light buses, are the main source of street-level pollution. Smog is caused by a combination of pollutants mainly from motor vehicles, industry and power plants in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. The Environment Bureau released “A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong” on 28 March 2013 which sets out in detail the various measures to tackle air pollution from power plants, land and sea transport, and non-road mobile machinery and to strengthen collaboration with Guangdong to deal with regional pollution.
The Government is working hard to reduce emissions. As of 2015, a comprehensive programme to reduce street-level pollution had lowered the roadside levels of nitrogen oxides, respirable suspended particulates and sulphur dioxide at urban roadside dropped by 51%, 70% and 50% respectively compared with 1999. Hong Kong’s new Air Quality Objectives (AQOs), which are benchmarked against a combination of interim and ultimate targets under the World Health Organization's Air Quality Guidelines, took effect from 1 January 2014. It is a statutory requirement to conduct a review of the AQOs at least once every five years. To attain the new AQOs, the Government has put forward a wide range of new air quality improvement measures. In addition, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Guangdong Provincial Governments endorsed in November 2012 a new set of regional emission reduction targets/ranges for 2015 and 2020 respectively with a view to improving regional air quality.