Response to Policy Address 2005

Press release - 2005-01-12
Greenpeace described the environmental protection policies anounced in the Chief Executive's 2005 Policy Address as "weak and conservative" and called into question the motivation of the SAR government in tackling Hong Kong's environmental problems.

E-waste

Greenpeace described the environmental protection policies anounced in the Chief Executive's 2005 Policy Address as "weak and conservative" and called into question the motivation of the SAR government in tackling Hong Kong's environmental problems.

Greenpeace greeted today's Policy Address by Chief Executive Tung chee-hwa with disappointment. The 2005 Policy Address again fails to lay out concrete action plans to tackle Hong Kong's greatest environmental problems; Air Pollution and waste.

The plan for a 'Recovery Park' in Tuen Mun is nothing more than a title, said Greenpeace campaigner Edward Chan. Chan accused the government of being "conservative and backward" as the plan does not include the responsible recycling of electronic (e-)waste, a growing problem in China due to the rudimentary methods used which damage the health of the workers in the industry as well as the environment. "E-waste has been a problem in both Hong Kong and China and the seriousness of the issue is regularly reported. Why didn't Tung put forward plans to deal with the problem which could be turned into a profitable and environmentally responsible recycling industry", Chan continued.

Greenpeace urge the government to announce the details of their recycling plans as soon as possible, including materials to be recycled, rental details and a timetable.

Greenpeace also suggest that by introducing the practice of Extended Producer's Responsibility to enterprises, the government could eventually shift the recycling responsibility back to the producers themselves, instead of confining recycling industries by being government subsidiaries. In order to force those businesses which are irresponsible to recognise their duty to society and the environment, Chan proposes that the government include a 'Corporate Social Responsibility' clause in all government tenders in future.

The policy address also failed to show how the government is going to reduce industrial emissions and to tackle our chronic air pollution problem, said another Greenpeace campaigner Chow Sze-chung.

"The emission reduction targets have been mentioned repeatedly since the agreement between Guangdong Province and the HKSAR was signed in 2002. But there is no concrete schedule and timetable so far. Now Tung is saying this again and we really doubt if the SAR government is going to face the problem", he said.

Greenpeace have been campaigning to get the HKSAR the government to introduce legislation in this Legco term to revise the outdated Air Quality Objectives (AQO) and to work out an implementation timetable. Our poor air quality has to be accurately reported for the urgency of the issue to be recognised and remedial action taken. The current Hong Kong AQOs have not been revised since their introduction 18 years ago and they fall far short of the internationally accepted WHO and EU standards.

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