Author: John Lee, Kelvin Tang
As a result of the large number of laws relevant to air pollution in Hong Kong, a large number of Government departments and bureaux are involved in the regulation of air pollution. These include:
1. Environmental Protection Department
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) was created to co-ordinate and carry out pollution prevention and control activities. It is tasked with achieving the Air Quality Objectives on a best efforts basis, and is the principal department for enforcement of APCO. The Department is headed by the Director of Environmental Protection and the Secretary for Environment, and is empowered to enforce the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance, Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation and Ozone Layer Protection (Products Containing Scheduled Substances) (Import Banning) Regulation and the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, among others.
A new Environment Bureau was formed for the purpose of overseeing the formulation and implementation of environmental policies. An Air Policy Division is responsible for policy formulation, strategic planning and programme development in the field of air quality management.
The Advisory Council on the Environment keeps under review the state of the environment in Hong Kong and advise the Government, through the Secretary for the Environment, on appropriate measures which might be taken to combat pollution of all kinds, and to protect and sustain the environment
Secretary for Environment and EPD’s powers under APCO
s 7 – set AQOs
s 9 – set principles, procedures, guidelines, standards and limits
s 15 – impose terms and conditions for licences
s 19 – require notification of polluting processes
s 22 – impose terms and conditions for exemptions
s 26G – allocate emission allowances
s 27 – obtain information
s 37 – issue non-binding Codes of Practice
2. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
The Department was created to ensure that food is fit for human consumption and to maintain a clean and hygienic living environment for the people of Hong Kong. It is headed by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, and is empowered to enforce Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance.
3. Transport Department
The Department aims to provide the world's best transport system which is safe, reliable, efficient, environmentally friendly and satisfying to both users and operators. It is headed by the Commission for Transport and is empowered to enforce the Road Traffic Ordinance.
4. Marine Department
The Marine Department is responsible for all navigational matters in Hong Kong and the safety standards of all classes and types of vessels. It is headed by the Director of Marine, and is empowered to enforce the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance, Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance, Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution) Regulation and Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance.
5. Chief Executive in Council
The Chief Executive’s powers under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance include the appointment of the Environmental Protection Department officers to enforce the Ordinance (section 4), to establish air control zones (section 6), to approve the cancellation (section 17) or variation (section 22) of licenses and exemptions under the licensing regime, and to appoint appeal boards (section 32). However, the Chief Executive has no power to give directions to either the Secretary for Environment or the Environmental Protection Department under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance. (2)
6. Buildings Department
The Buildings Department is responsible for the enforcement of the Building (Demolition Works) Regulations.
7. Planning Department
The Planning Department, headed by the Director of Planning, is responsible for the Town Planning Ordinance.
The Department of Health
It should be noted that the Department of Health plays no part in the air quality management strategy. However, the Environmental Protection Department has no medical expertise (1), and has no mandate to include or even estimate health costs of pollution (3), and thus lacks the competence to determine appropriate standards and strategies to protect public health.
The Chief Secretary for Administration
In his 2009-2010 Policy Address, the Chief Executive Donald Tsang noted that the Chief Secretary for Administration would be responsible for the co-ordination of the work relevant to the achievement of the Air Quality Objectives.