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HK launches Action Blue Sky Campaign
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Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang called on the community to pitch in to combat air pollution at Tuesday's launch of the Action Blue Sky Campaign which will last till the end of this year.

"Every small step taken by each individual to support the clean-air initiatives in our daily lives can help reduce air pollution," Tsang said.

He reminded people that setting their air-conditioners to 25.5 degrees Celsius would save about one billion units of electricity each year. He also urged the private sector to dress down in summer.

"My goal is to reduce electricity consumption in government offices by at least another 1.5 percent this year. I hope that every commercial building management will consider measures to save energy - they will also be saving money and the environment," he said.

Hong Kong and Guangdong are studying and adopting measures to improve air quality, he said, adding he hoped they could give a detailed account on this topic during the Ninth Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference in Guangzhou early next month.

The Action Blue Sky Campaign, with "Clean Air for a Cool Hong Kong!" as its slogan, is organized by Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department. A series of publicity and educational activities will be rolled out in the coming months to encourage the community and the business sector to do their part to clean upthe air.

Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao is featured in two 30-second TV/radio announcements, speaking on regional cooperation in combating air pollution and how people can help improve air quality at the personal level. These announcements will be broadcast regularly starting Tuesday.

From August onwards, roving exhibitions with quiz booths on air pollution will be set up in 18 districts. The Advisory Committee on the Environment will also hold a workshop in September on the review of air-quality objectives. Green groups and academics will be invited to join the discussion.

The Environmental Campaign Committee will join with the District Councils and green groups to reinforce green messages, such as setting air conditioners to 25.5 degrees Celsius, using energy-efficient products, switching off idling engines and reducing the consumption of products containing volatile organic compounds.

The committee will also hold the Hong Kong Green School Awards and Green Pre-School Awards in September, along with the Eco-business Award. These will promote energy efficiency and conservation and highlight the business community's role and contributions in saving energy and reducing air pollution.

The Student Environmental Protection Ambassadors Scheme will be launched in October to promote green messages at schools. School-based competitions will be organized to educate students about air pollution.

To enhance the environmental awareness of the local business community, a seminar to showcase best environmental practices in business and industrial operations will be held in late November.

(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2006)

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