Just Do It! Mr. Ip

Brings Coal Burning to the End in the SOC

Press release - 2006-02-15
Today, members of Greenpeace and five marathon runners suffocated by polluted air protest outside Legislative Council during a motion debate on the “Scheme of Control” (SOC). They present to Mr. Stephen Ip, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, a mask symbolizing the grave concern of Hong Kong citizen towards our breathing air quality.

Members of Greenpeace and five marathon runners presented to Mr. Stephen Ip, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, a mask symbolizing the grave concern of Hong Kong citizen towards our breathing air quality.

Members of Greenpeace and five marathon runners presented to Mr. Stephen Ip, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, a mask symbolizing the grave concern of Hong Kong citizen towards our breathing air quality.

"Injuries and death toll in Sunday's 10th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, whether pollution is a significant factor or not, has aroused growing concern and brought an alarming message to Hong Kong citizen:  Severity of our pollution is discouraging us from doing outdoor exercise, if not prohibiting us to do so,"  said Chow Sze Chung, Air Pollution Campaigner, Greenpeace China.  He continued, "Will bad air quality tarnish Hong Kong's metropolitan reputation again in the next international sports event?  Should we beg the mercy of our largest local polluters such as China Light and Power to meet the emission reduction target in order to regain fresh air and to restore our outdoor keep-fit activities?"

According to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Game of XXIX Olympiad, during the Olympic period in 2008, concentration of SO2, NO2 and O3 in urban area should meet the WHO guidelines in the Beijing city.  The existing Air Quality Objectives of Hong Kong, established 19 years ago in 1987, does not meet WHO's standard (Refer to Table 1).

SOC second phase consultation paper has provided policy incentives to reduce coal burning and to develop sustainable renewable energy for power generation.  The consultation paper suggests a greater return on renewable energy investment; on the other hand, it links up emission performance and rate of return.

Chow explains, "It is the prime time to bring power companies accountable to our environment and health.  The SOC public consultation gives Ip a golden opportunity to press power companies to phase out coal-burning power generation and in turn embrace environmental friendly technology such as wind power." Greenpeace supports the policy incentives and directives that channel power companies to end coal burning.  Ip should answer Hong Kong citizen's call on better air quality and it is therefore his obligation to triumph over the power companies in the SOC negotiation.  It is shameful to see Hong Kong being criticized again of its bad air quality in international sports event in future (such as the equestrian event of Beijing Olympics 2008).

After receiving Greenpeace's mask, Ip responded that the HKSAR Government shows deep concerns on the deteriorating air quality in Hong Kong, and supports the development of renewable energy within the territory.   He also invites public opinion on the second phase SOC consultation paper.  Greenpeace welcomes Ip's step to support RE and Chow hopes EDLB can give the Hong Kong citizen a timetable on replacing coal burning with renewable energy in SOC.

Table 1

Comparison between the guidelines of WHO and the AQO of Hong Kong

WHO

HK

Ozone (hourly)


0.12 mg/m3

(8 hours)

0.24 mg/m3

Sulphur dioxide (annual)

(daily)

(hourly)

0.05 mg/m3

0.125 mg/m3

-

0.08 mg/m3

0.35 mg/m3

0.80 mg/m3

Nitrogen dioxide (annual)

(daily)

(hourly)

0.04 mg/m3

-

0.2 mg/m3

0.08 mg/m3

0.15 mg/m3

0.3 mg/m3

According to the official website of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Game of XXIX Olympiad, during the Olympic period in 2008, concentration of SO2, NO2 and O3 in urban area should reach the WHO guidelines in the Beijing city.

Reference

http://en.beijing-2008.org/19/49/article211614919.shtml

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