HONG KONG, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang said Wednesday the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will press ahead with sustainable development, in order to upgrade the quality living environment for residents in this "modern world city".
When delivering the 2008-09 Policy Address at the Legislative Council Wednesday, Tsang said the local government achieved substantial progress in striking a balance between economic development and environmental conservation last year.
In August, with the support of the Central Government, the HKSAR government also secured a continuous and stable supply of clean fuel from the Chinese mainland, which in turn will help improve the air quality in Hong Kong.
Tsang said a consensus had been reached with Guangdong to jointly transform the Pearl River Delta Region into a green and quality living area under the principle of promoting environmental protection and sustainable development.
He said Hong Kong and Guangdong would jointly work to achieve this objective in areas such as post-2010 emissions reductions, optimization of fuel mix for power generation, wider use of renewable energy, vehicle emission reductions, enhanced conservation and greening and scientific research.
Tsang unveiled several measures that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and encourage recycling. The measures include adopting new air quality targets in stages, promoting the use of clean fuels such as gas for power generation, legislating for mandatory compliance with building energy codes, extending the Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labeling Scheme, and introduction of an environmental levy on plastic shopping bags at selected retail outlets in 2009.
He proposed reserving 150 million HK dollars under the Environment and Conservation Fund to partially subsidize building owners to conduct comprehensive energy and carbon audits, and reserving another 300 million HK dollars to offer building owners partial subsidies for energy efficiency projects.
The Chief Executive said that the Development Bureau would coordinate the work of different departments to ensure the effective implementation of plans to beautify areas along the Victoria harbor waterfront.
The 2008-09 Policy Address, entitled "Embracing New Challenges", was Tsang's second annual policy address since he won a second term as HKSAR Chief Executive in March 2007.