Wednesday 11 January 2017

Environment: Letter to (then) Financial Secretary John Tsang on 29th Dec 2016

Dear Financial Secretary,
Through years of hard work by the EPD, Hong Kong is finally seeing signs of improvement in our city’s overall air quality. According to the Hedley Environmental Index, loss of tangible cost and loss of healthy life values seem to have shown gradual improvement since 2015. Despite the downtrend in the number of premature deaths, hospital bed-days, doctor visits and air pollutants, Hong Kong is absolutely capable of performing even better in all aspects related to improving air quality, healthy quality as well as combating climate change. Effort should not be cut after seeing initial positive results, instead it should be doubled.
Inline image

Inline image

Based on emission blueprint described by the environment secretary Wong Kam-sing to SCMP ahead of COP21, “By "around 2020", Hong Kong will be on track to reduce its carbon intensity - emissions per unit of GDP - by 50 to 60 per cent and energy intensity by up to 40 per cent. By that year, it will have already met its 2010 target of reducing total emissions by 19 to 33 per cent from 2005 level,” but Greenpeace has called for an even more aggressive schemes to cut emission.

European countries and cities are moving away from fossil-fuel cars due to roadside emissions. For example, Germany has passed a resolution to ban fossil fuel vehicles by 2030.

Therefore, I have the following suggestions for your consideration for the coming budget and future budgets to come:
1.           Consider following the above European countries by announcing a total ban for ICEVs in Hong Kong, hopefully before Singapore does.
2.           Extend the FRT waiver for Pure EVs for at least another 3 years till 2020, and preferably for 3 more years till 2023 in anticipation of mass-produced low-cost EVs. Based on my very rough estimate, the FRT waived per new EV purchased is about 1% of the total economic loss due to air pollution per day. Hong Kong is the ‘Beacon City for electric vehicles’ and this is as much a Hong Kong pride as well as our country’s pride. Denmark’s unfortunate end in their EV development is a lesson for any countries or cities to learn.
3.           ‘Fund’ FRT waiver for EVs in the future, especially with total ICEV ban in mind, the Government should consider increasing FRT and license renewal fee for ICEVs and hybrids – eg. Singapore’s tax for general car ownership is at least 3 times that of Hong Kong. This way, Hong Kong can see a lowering of the ICEVs population (currently at 99.25%) and an increasing percentage of EV ownership (currently at 0.75%). The total number of vehicles on the road
4.           Consider offering toll-free tunnels and roads for EVs like Norway while increasing such toll fees for ICEVs as an additional incentive for ICEV owners to switch to owning EVs. Such incentive can be facilitated using existing Autotoll technology plus the submission of a copy of an electric vehicle registration document.
5.           Incentivise power companies to invest in renewable energies, particularly tidal energy. Adding less carbon-intensive natural gas to the fuel mix is good, but as good as Singapore of which natural gas constituted about 95% of fuel mix in 2015they are adding solar (45.8MWac) into their grid.
6.           Make private installation of solar and wind power generating facilities at private homes easier and less susceptible to (Building Department) accusations for changing the external appearance of the building’s structure.
I thank the Government for decades of continuous support for cleaning up the city’s serious air pollution and making our beloved Hong Kong into a ‘beacon city for electric vehicles’. Hong Kong has lost too many Number 1s through the years and hopefully we can still retain this one to make our country proud!
Locky Law
Hong Kong Permanent Resident

Thursday 5 January 2017

Food & Environment: Food Donation and Electronics Recycling for the Holidays!

Salvation Army
Image from Salvation Army

Happy New Year to you all! Haven't been away from the blog but simply more active on the blog's Facebook page, do "like" the page and get more updates.

After an enjoyable festive period, some of you must have received quite an amount of snacks, cookies or even electronic devices? Congratulations! You deserve them! But do you know how you can deserve them even more? You may consider donating them!

Food Angel
Image from Food Angel

For those of you in Hong Kong, Food Wise HK provides a good list of organisations which will accept various food such as rice, can food and bread. Some NGOs such as Food Angel and St. James Settlement will need a bit more initiative from the food donor and take the food to their kitchens by yourself, so if you are a car owner, especially an EV owner, this is not a problem!

St. James Settlement
Image from St. James Settlement

Donation Map
Image from Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth has an excellent donation map which tags all the NGOs which accepts various types of donations, so it is easy to find one that is nearest to you!

Hong Kong Waste Reduction Website
Image from Environmental Protection Department

If you have got new electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops and PCs for Christmas and the old ones are to be thrown away, DON'T! You can donate them even if they aren't working very well! The Hong Kong Waste Reduction Website by the Environmental Protection Department has a list of collection points where you can donate your old mouse, old keyboard or old workstations. If you run a company and you want to do a mass e-device upgrade, you may even call their hotline and they will send trucks to come for pick-up.

Recently, I have been involved in one of the food donation charity event organised by Hong Kong Jockey Club, Tesla and Social Career. It was indeed a great experience driving fellow volunteers to various places for unsold bread pickup and delivering them to those in need. It means even more to me because I am involved in coming up with the name Powering Sustainability for the charity initiative. I have been very active in household recycling, E-waste and clothes donation run by the Salvation Army in the past, so much that I only have a small closet and a drawer of clothes for myself., but after this bread donation event and knowing that the bread would help NGOs to make Hong Kong a better place, it makes me wonder why I have not done more in terms of food donation in the past.

Powering Sustainability
Image from Locky's English Playground
I have 8kg of rice at home, I will start with that.

Rice is most needed in terms of food donation
Image from Locky's English Playground
Update 1:

Update 2:

Suddenly I see this video in Cantonese and it is exactly what I am trying to talk about in this blog post today


Locky's English Playground Facebook

Food Wise

Food Angel

St. James Settlement

Friends of the Earth

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Including computers) | Waste Reduction Website

Charged Hong Kong Facebook

Salvation Army