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Unclean air main focus of joint plan
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Authorities in Guangdong Province and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have agreed to push ahead with 23 cooperative projects this year, Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang said on Tuesday.

"The projects, which range from environmental protection to infrastructure, trade, technology, service and food safety, will be of great importance to the social and economic integration for both sides," Tang said.

Tang was leading a delegation attending the 10th working meeting of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Cooperation Joint conference yesterday in Guangzhou.

In terms of environmental protection, Hong Kong and Guangdong will continue to implement the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan, which was drawn up in December 2003, Tang said.

Also, the mid-term report of the plan's implementation was released yesterday by environmental protection authorities, and was considered by government officials from both sides.

"The emission-reduction and control measures that both sides have adopted can bring about a positive impact, cutting air pollutant emissions in the Pearl River Delta region," Tang said.

In April 2002, authorities in Hong Kong and Guangdong agreed that by 2010 they would reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide in the delta region by 40 percent, nitrogen oxides by 20 percent, respirable suspended particulates by 55 percent, and volatile organic compounds by 55 percent, based on 1997 levels.

"These measures are conducive to achieving the agreed 2010 emission targets as both sides have reiterated their commitment to the measures set out in the management plan," Tang said.

Further measures include tightening emissions standards for boilers, setting limits on the amount of volatile organic compounds in consumer products and the removal of nitrogen oxides from newly built power plants.

In terms of infrastructure cooperation, Tang said the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will begin soon, once funding is finalized.

"But the timetable for the construction has not yet been specified," Tang said.

He said both sides had agreed to set up a joint research team to work on the new Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai Checkpoint, which links Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Both sides are also pushing ahead with construction work on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, which runs from Hong Kong's West Kowloon to Shibi and Guangzhou, Tang said.

(China Daily January 10, 2008)

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