Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Hk Firms Snub Clean Air Initiative

Monday 27 November 2006

Just 100 companies out of tens of thousands agree to cut emissions

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's businesses are snubbing an initiative to help ease
the city's worsening air pollution, a report said yesterday, amid reports
that chronic smog is hurting business and health.

Just 100 Hong Kong firms out of tens of thousands have signed up to a
protocol aimed at cutting emissions from factories in southern China.

Most of Hong Kong's pollution comes from the region's
heavily-industrialised southern Pearl River Delta and most of those are
owned by companies based in the wealthy former British colony.

The initiative put forward by the local General Chamber of Commerce
compels signatories to adopt international emissions standards - which are
much lower than the often-antiquated factories and power plants of China
are capable of matching.

The move had been backed by the Hong Kong government as a step towards
combating pollution, which has become a highly- emotive political issue as
air quality has worsened in the past few years.

But a chamber source told the Sunday Morning Post newspaper that companies
had shown little interest.

"We are disappointed by the cool response," the source was quoted as
saying. "When we are talking about how to clean up the sky, many companies
and big bosses do not even bother to sign a piece of paper," the source

"There is a lack of social responsibility among the business sector."

The report said the revelations were likely to embarrass political leader
Donald Tsang, whose government claims to be doing all it can to battle

His reputation is likely to be harmed by the fact that many of his
government ministers are among factory owners who have not signed up, the
report said.

Government estimates said that more than 50 days last year suffered
visibility of lower than a kilometre as a result of the smog.
Environmentalists say the figure is too conservative and cite tests at the
airport which found smog reduced visibility on more than 100 days of the

Such is the concern over pollution that many business groups and even a
senior government Cabinet member warning that the poor air was deterring
foreign businesses from setting up shop here because they could not find
executives willing to settle in such unhealthy conditions.

The tourism industry has also warned that the air is causing concern among

Despite government pledges to tackle the problem in tandem with
authorities in China, there is a perception that Hong Kong is too weak to
make a difference with Chinese leaders unwilling to do anything that may
stall its economic expansion. - AFP


South West CDC uses art, business and technology to educate residents on recycling

By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 19 November 2006 1954 hrs

SINGAPORE: South West CDC is looking at educating its residents about recycling and public health by disseminating messages through art, business and technology.

The aim is to enhance the outreach of environmental programmes.

Clean and Green Week at the CDC moved away from the traditional tree-planting to an event at a shopping mall.

One highlight was the first-of-its-kind Rubbish Bin Art Competition, where 300 students signed up to create the most colourful rubbish bins in the district.

The CDC plans to place these bins all around the district.

There was also a flea market for students to set up stalls related to the clean and green theme.

Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West CDC, says: "Recently, NEA noted that of all the litterbugs that were caught this year, more than half were aged below 30. That is one of the reasons why we want to augment whatever the Ministry is already doing in terms of its anti-littering message effort, reinforce it within the South West district through events such as this." - CNA/so


Singaporeans asking for fewer plastic bags when grocery shopping

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 07 November 2006 1647 hrs

SINGAPORE: NTUC FairPrice says Singaporeans are becoming more environmentally friendly, as many are asking for fewer plastic bags when grocery shopping.

This is good news as Singapore marks Clean and Green Week.

NTUC FairPrice has sold over 30,000 reusable bags since participating in a national campaign to encourage Singaporeans to cut down on the use of plastic bags.

The campaign was launched in February.

"Since the campaign started, some of them even bring styrofoam boxes or even cool bags to actually bag in their items. They even separate for us, telling us say to put all the chilled items into a certain bag, and all the grocery items or even the detergents in the recyclable bag," said Sng Li Hwei, Branch Manager, Bukit Timah Plaza NTUC.

For shoppers, many say they try to make sure the plastic bags don't go to waste.

NTUC said in the past, foreigners would be the ones asking for fewer plastic bags, bringing in their own bags to store their groceries.

However, Singaporeans are increasingly doing the same thing. Although this is a good sign, more can be done to raise awareness to encourage Singaporeans to go green.

For this year's Clean and Green Week, NTUC will participate in a new "Spot the Green Shoppers" contest organised by the National Environment Agency.

"For every shopper who gets spotted using the recycled bag, they'd be rewarded with a $10 FairPrice voucher. For this contest alone, we will be sponsoring $1,000 worth of FairPrice vouchers to reward customers who use recycled bags. In our daily trainings, staff have been trained to bag more items in a single bag; for customers who purchase smaller items such as newspaper or even canned drinks, the cashiers will make the initiative to ask customers whether they need a bag," added Ms Sng.

NTUC will conduct the contest at selected outlets over the Nov 18 and 19 weekend. - CNA /dt


Clean & Green Week 2006 to focus on youth and climate change

By Farah Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 01 November 2006 1714 hrs

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will launch Clean & Green Week 2006 this Sunday.

The campaign this year aims to instil a greater sense of ownership in the environment, especially among the young, and to raise awareness of climate change.

The campaign comes after a survey by the National Environment Agency last week that showed the number of litterbugs was on the rise.

Some 4,000 litterbugs were caught in the first nine months of this year - and more than half of them were young Singaporeans.

"I was kayaking in Kallang Basin and saw a lot of plastic bags and drink cans being thrown over the shore. I was disgusted by how apathetic Singaporeans are to our situation. I hope through this campaign, I can get more Singaporeans to raise their awareness about how serious this issue has become, and make Singapore a litter-free country," said Eric Hu, student, Hwa Chong Institution.

Organisers say this year's campaign will go beyond the usual tree-planting to spur the young to take personal responsibility for the environment.

"The younger generation over time has perhaps become less sensitive to the environment, so much so that this mentality that no matter where they go, it's okay to drop a piece of litter or not to care for their environment, someone will come after them, clean up after them - this maid mentality is something we want to tackle," said Derek Ho, Chairman, CGW Launch Committee.

Republic Polytechnic is taking part in the Clean & Green Week for the first time.

More than 1,000 students will be involved in the various activities to nurture greater environmental consciousness and to encourage more youth environmental activism among the young.

The polytechnic plans to get some of these students to become eco-guides next year when the mangrove swamp behind Admiralty Park is ready.

Climate change is also a major theme this time.

"Much more can be achieved through greater sense of awareness by the general public, not just awareness but having the man in the street actively taking action to help reduce greenhouse gases, address the issue and making it a habit in their daily lives. It could be something as simple as changing a light bulb to a more energy saving compact bulb, switching off lights, turning off equipment on standby mode - very simple things," said Howard Shaw, Executive Director, Singapore Environment Council. - CNA /dt