The third meeting of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Working Group on Environmental Protection & Combating Climate Change was held today to review the progress of collaboration between the two sides in 2021 and agree on the work plan for 2022.
Secretary for the Environment KS Wong co-chaired the meeting with Guangdong Province's Department of Ecology & Environment Director-General Lu Xiulu via video conferencing.
Hong Kong and Guangdong have maintained close co-operation and worked closely together on various fronts in the past year, including improvement of air quality in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, protection of the water environment, forestry and marine resources conservation as well as combating climate change.
On improving air quality, the two places implemented the PRD Regional Air Quality Management Plan and monitored the progress and effectiveness of various improvement measures.
To implement the proposal for including ambient volatile organic compounds routine monitoring in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao PRD Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network, Hong Kong planned to gradually increase the number of monitoring sites to three while Guangdong planned to raise the number of sites to four after having reviewed their respective experiences.
The first batch of monitoring sites will start operation by this month.
Regarding marine environment management, the trial of the Notification & Alert System on Marine Refuse has been functioning well since its commencement in 2017.
As of October this year, it had been activated 28 times with notifications issued in response to heavy rainfall, flooding or other major environmental incidents, which enabled relevant government departments to take timely clean-up actions as required.
Meanwhile, the working group endorsed the work plan for next year during the meeting.
Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau are conducting a three-year project to identify the causes of ozone formation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and formulate a regional ozone control policy on a scientific basis.
Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to work together on the study on post-2020 regional air pollutant emission reduction targets and concentration levels, with a view to announcing next year the regional air pollutant emission measures and targets for 2025 and 2030, strengthening collaboration on air quality forecasts to improve the PRD region's forecasting capability and exploring the establishment of the Greater Bay Area Air Pollutant Light Detection & Ranging Monitoring Network.
Moreover, the two sides will continue to promote and deepen exchanges and co-operation on mitigation, adaptation and resilience to climate change and the relevant scientific research.
They will also jointly explore technologies and measures to monitor marine refuse and tackle marine environmental incidents, with the aim of further extending co-operation in the management of the marine environment with neighbouring cities in the region.
For ecological conservation, Hong Kong and Guangdong will foster in-depth exchanges and enhance collaboration in the development, management and conservation of nature reserves including forests and wetlands, and in staff training, publicity and education.
Additionally, the two places will continue to promote co-operation in the sustainable development of marine resources and conservation of ecosystems.
Mr Wong also co-chaired the eighth meeting of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Working Group on Cleaner Production with Guangdong Province's Department of Industry & Information Technology Director-General Tu Gaokun via video conferencing today.
The meeting reviewed the work progress this year and agreed on the 2022 work plan.
The work plan focuses on the continuous promotion of cleaner production technologies and management systems to conserve energy in energy-intensive industries, encouraging the adoption of water-saving technologies and increasing the wastewater recycling rate in water-intensive industries, control and reduction of emissions of volatile organic compounds at source and incentivising polluting industries to undertake cleaner production audits.
Both sides will also continue to support relevant trade and industry associations to carry out trade-specific promotions and publicity activities.
At the meeting, the Environment Bureau announced the commendation of 174 enterprises as Hong Kong-Guangdong Cleaner Production Partners in recognition of their efforts in pursuing cleaner production.
Among them, 30 Hong Kong-owned manufacturing enterprises were commended as Excellent Partners and 115 as Partners, while other commended enterprises included one sourcing enterprise and 28 environmental technology service providers.