Chief executive Leung Chun-ying is expected to introduce new maritime pollution rules
Ships produced more sulfur pollution in Hong Kong than power plants in 2011, according to the South China Morning Post.
Quoting soon-to-be released government data, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said ships, already the biggest emitter of nitrogen oxides and suspended particles, became the most significant sources of sulfur dioxide as well.
Hong Kong has cracked down on power plants since 2010, adding pollutant-removing scrubbers, but marine pollution has increased.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is expected to announce new plans next week to reduce emissions from ocean-going vessels, local ferries, and other ships.
Wong Kam-sing, secretary for the environment, Hong Kong
Voluntary schemes might not be the best - we might need something stronger
Wong refused to say whether Leung would introduce mandatory requirements concerning marine pollution, but he said existing rules that offer compensation to ships switching to low-sulfur fuels are not enough.
"Voluntary schemes might not be the best - we might need something stronger," he said.
Shipping companies have said the voluntary plan is difficult to accept because it gives a cost advantage to companies that don't sign on to it.
Wong said Hong Kong must address both marine and roadway pollution sources, and measures allowing only low-emission buses on some busy corridors will be put in place in 2015.