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Domestic Law

There is currently no single statute governing environmental law in Hong Kong.  A series of laws and regulations has however been enacted in Hong Kong as part of the Government's commitment to environmental protection.  The relevant statutes are implemented through a network of subsidiary legislation, statutory technical memoranda and codes of practice as well as non-statutory guidance notes and guides.


This framework includes the following statutes:

  • The Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311) and its subsidiary regulations are the principal law regulating air pollution and are enforced by EPD, which is empowered to control emissions from construction, commercial and industrial works.


  • The Water Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 358) oversees the discharge of industrial, commercial, institutional and construction waste into public sewers, rainwater drains, river courses or water bodies. EPD is responsible for issuing licences that regulate operations that generate wastewater discharge (except domestic sewage).


  • The Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354) sets out a comprehensive waste management protocol that covers the lifecycle of waste from the point of origination to the point of final disposal.  This includes the production, storage, collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of waste.  Livestock waste and chemical waste are subject to specific controls and the import and export of waste is controlled through a permit system administered by the EPD.


  • The Noise Control Ordinance (Cap. 400) regulates noise arising from various sources including construction, industrial and commercial activities.  Unless approval has been granted through the Construction Noise Permit System administered by the EPD, construction noise and the use of noisy equipment in populated areas is prohibited between certain hours from Monday to Saturday and on public holidays.


  • The Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance (Cap. 595), through a permit system, regulates the import, export, manufacture and use of non-pesticide hazardous chemicals that have potentially harmful or adverse effects on human health or the environment, including those regulated by the Stockholm Convention and the Rotterdam Convention.


  • The Dumping at Sea Ordinance (Cap. 466) is enacted to protect the marine environment in sea areas under Hong Kong jurisdiction.  A permit issued by the EPD is required for the disposal and dumping of substances and articles from vessels, aircraft, and marine structures in the sea.


  • The Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance (Cap. 403) prohibits the manufacturing of ozone-depleting substances and controls the import, export and production of these substances by requiring registration licences from the Trade and Industry Department through the delegated authority from the Director of Environmental Protection.


  • The Product Eco-Responsibility Ordinance (Cap. 603) provided the basis for introducing the producer responsibility schemes (PRS), such as the levy on plastic shopping bags, which is administered and enforced by EPD.




  • The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499) provided the basis for The Environmental Impact Assessment process (EIA) and the environmental permit system.  It is enforced by EPD, which seeks to avoid, minimize and control the adverse impact of designated projects set out in Schedule 2 of the Ordinance.



More about the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):


The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance was enacted in 1998 to avoid and minimize the potential adverse impact of urban development on the environment.  In theory, any development project that may lead to environmental degradation is subject to EIA, and that encompasses transport, infrastructure, airport facilities and land reclamation. EIA involves publication of a comprehensive environmental study and public consultations, and the Courts would control compliance with these procedural safeguards through judicial review.

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