HK defends environmental targets

HONG KONG, August 18 — Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has hit back at newspaper reports which claim Hong Kong and Guangdong Province have abandoned their 2010 emission reduction targets for the Pearl River Delta Region (PRD).

A report in the South China Morning Post on August 15 cited a 2005 Guangdong environmetal protection plan, and said that Guangdong had unilaterally – and secretly – raised previously agreed emissions caps by as much as 15%.

But the EPD claims there is only one set of agreed emission targets between Hong Kong and Guangdong, namely the 2010 emissions reduction agreements.

“The Environmental Protection Framework Plan for PRD (2004-2020) dated February, 2005, mentioned by the newspaper report, has been prepared by the Guangdong Provincial Government in accordance with the [Chinese] Mainland’s prevailing requirements. Guangdong has its own purposes in preparing the plan. The plan does not stop Guangdong from achieving the emission reduction targets agreed with us,” said the EPD in a statement.

“Both Hong Kong and Guangdong take the 2010 emission reduction targets very seriously. On August 2, when the 9th Plenary Session of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference was held in Guangzhou, our Chief Executive and the Governor of Guangdong Province reconfirmed the two sides’ commitment to meeting the targets by 2010. Such a commitment was conveyed loud and clear during the press conference on the 9th Plenary Session,”

The EPD says Guangdong has been proactive and taking the lead on the Mainland when it comes to tackling environmental problems, particularly air pollution. For example, the regional air quality monitoring network, jointly set up by the two sides, has been the first of its kind on the Mainland.

“The public now has access to the PRD Regional Air Quality Index, which is an objective indicator of air quality in the region,” says the EPD. Apart from showing the air quality situation, it facilitates understanding of the effectiveness of the reduction measures and formulation of more effective strategies.”

“The public can rest assured that the two sides will do everything possible to ensure that the 2010 emission reduction targets will be met on schedule,” says the EPD.

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