In response to Environmental Protection Department’s release of 2014 Hong Kong Air Pollutant Emission Inventory, Clean Air Network has the following remarks:

The overall emission of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) has increased by 0.8% in 2014 compared to 2013. Of the total, the SO2 emission from public electricity generation has increased by 14% to 2,000 tonnes, which completely offsets the 1890-tonne drop in ship emission.

Despite the lowered emission level of sea navigation in 2014, the emission level will inevitably bounce back under the circumstance that the government is keen to boost the cruise industry without installation of onshore power supply. According to the government’s estimation, the number of cruises berthing in Hong Kong has risen from 89 in 2013 to 142 in 2015. For 2016 the number is estimated to be 175, doubling the figure of 2013.

The total SO2 emission in 2014 is recorded to be 31,710 tonnes, which marks only an 11% drop from 35,500 tonnes in 2010. To meet the target of reducing emission by 25% in 2015, the emission in 2014 and 2015 will require an extra reduction in 5,085 tonnes which equals 1/3 of the emission from either sea navigation or power plants.


Table 1:The change in emission level in 2014 compared to the reduction target in 2015
 Emission Level Change in 2014 (%)* Emission Reduction Target in 2015(%)*
Sulphur Dioxide -11% -25%
Nitrogen Oxide +1% -10%
*Compared to the 2010 figure


The major sources of SO2 emission are electricity generation (53%) and sea navigation (44%) . To effectively control the rising trend of SO emission, the government should strictly follow Fifth Technical Memorandum for Allocation of Emission Allowances in Respect of Specified Licenses to tighten the power plants’ SO2 emission by 17% than the previous edition.

Yangtze River Delta Administration has already followed the steps of Hong Kong by mandating fuel switch to 0.5% or lower sulfur oil while at berth since 1st April, 2016. Clean Air Network urges the Pearl River Delta Administration to join forces and mandate the fuel switch at berth no later than 2017.

To further alleviate the SO2 emission from ocean-going vessels, Clean Air Network advocates that:

–       The mandatory switch of fuel with sulfur content from 0.5% to 0.1% no later than 2017

–       Set up Emission Control Area within Hong Kong waters no later than 2018 that regulates the use of 0.5% or lower sulfur oil

–       Set up Pearl River Delta Emission Control Areas by 2019 that regulates the use of 0.5% or lower sulfur oil

Table 2: The SO2 emission of power plants from 2011 to 2014
2011 2012 2013 2014
Emission Level (ton) 14,000 15,500 14,680 16,880
Growth as compared to 2010 0% 10.7% 4.9% 20.6%
Story posted on
31st May, 2016


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