Hong Kong 'Very Determined' to Set Up ECA

Wednesday October 24, 2012

The determination of the Hong Kong government to set up Asia's first Emissions Control Area (ECA) should not be underestimated, environment undersecretary Christine Loh was quoted as saying Monday in a report by the South China Morning Post.

"Our long-term goal of setting up a low-emission area is very clear," said Loh. "Don't underestimate our determination, but at the same time don't underestimate the difficulties."

A study by Hong Kong based think tank Civic Exchange said in September that a regional ECA for Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) area would reduce the annual 519 premature deaths caused by marine sources of sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 91%.

Loh, Civic Exchange's co-founder and Chief Executive Officer until her government appointment last month, said the Environment Bureau was "very determined" to set up the emissions control zone.

And while no timetable for doing so was given, she hoped to "take a big step" towards realising the goal in the current adminstration's five-year term.

Introduction of the ECA would see vessels switching to low sulphur fuel when operating inside the zone, and Loh said the government was already discussing the specific rules with the Guangdong government, adding that the city needs to co-operate with other authorities to ensure a level playing field with other ports.

Transport minister Frankie Yick Chi-ming said he too hoped the plan could be realised soon.