The environment is literally the physical surroundings and conditions affecting people’s lives, in terms of their livelihoods, their health, and sometimes their very existence.  Having a safe and sustainable environment is paramount as all other rights are dependent upon it. Environmental rights have arisen due to the acceleration of environmental destruction and social disruption around the globe in the recent decades, its primary concern is to ensure access for all of Earth’s inhabitants to an essential standard of living.

 

In Hong Kong, there is currently no single statute governing environmental law.  Instead, a series of environmental protection laws and regulations are carried out mainly by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), which has a wide range of discretionary powers. In addition to its duties of inspection, licensing and responding to complaints, EPD is also responsible for prosecuting offenders who have breached any of the environmental laws.

 

Environmental protection issues in Hong Kong, which mostly concern large development projects and their potential negative impact on public health and ecology, are sometimes resorted to judicial reviews initiated by environmental activists.  The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a mandatory process imposed under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance to evaluate the environmental impacts of large development projects, is often under attack and was challenged against in several environmental public interest litigations.

 

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This project is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the University Grants Committee.