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HK, Guangdong Aim to Increase Environmental Aid
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Huang Huahua, governor of South China's Guangdong Province, said he would like to invite Donald Tsang, his counterpart from Hong Kong, to swim with him in the Pearl River in the near future.

"I swam across the river last month thanks to improvement of water quality in recent years, and I wish to swim with him one day in the river," Huang said in a press briefing after the ninth Guangdong-Hong Kong Co-operation Conference yesterday.

According to Huang, Guangdong will invest more to clean up the Pearl River, which runs across urban areas of Guangzhou, in the years to come.

It is seen as part of co-operative efforts for both Guangdong and Hong Kong for better environmental protection during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10) in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region.

Tsang said he would also invite Huang to Hong Kong's Repulse Bay for swimming.

"Co-operation of environmental protection is one of the main aspects that both Guangdong and Hong Kong stress on during the next five years," Huang told reporters.

Improvement of river water and air quality was then high on the agenda at yesterday's plenary discussion, which was held at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou.

Both sides reaffirmed their determination to meet the agreed emission reduction targets by 2010 to improve air quality in the PRD area, according to Huang.

In 2002, Guangdong and Hong Kong signed an agreement on improvement of air quality in the PRD region, and set a goal to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by up to 40 per cent by 2010 over 1997.

To meet this end, Huang promised yesterday that Guangdong will not plan for construction of new thermal power plants in the region.

"Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is also being introduced for power generation, and we are planning an LNG terminal in Zhuhai this year," Huang said.

In addition, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two economic powerhouses in Guangdong, will speed up the introduction of National III motor vehicle emission standards, on a par with Euro III standards, according to Huang.

Meanwhile, Tsang said Hong Kong will introduce Euro IV motor vehicle emission standards for newly registered vehicles starting this year.

"We will also require power plants to carry out efficient measures to reduce emissions and to increase the use of natural gas for power generation," Tsang said.

Guangdong and Hong Kong will announce in October the first half-yearly report on the monitoring results of the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network, which was founded last year, according to Tsang.

Tsang said both Hong Kong and Guangdong have completed an implementation framework for the Emission Trading Pilot Scheme for power plants in the PRD region.

"After consultation with the concerned parties, the implementation framework will be presented to prospective participating power plants this year, so that they can identify trading partners and draw up emissions trading agreements," Tsang said.

Both sides also agreed yesterday to further strengthen co-operation on infrastructure projects, economic and trade partnership, food safety and prevention of diseases.

(China Daily August 3, 2006)

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