Environmental Laws & Regulations

Hong Kong applies a number of international environmental protection conventions and has enacted a series of laws and regulations as part of the Government's commitment to environmental protection. Here you can learn more about these areas of concern, and how you can access guidelines or ordinance content that may affect your industry or business.

International Conventions

Currently, Hong Kong is applying international conventions in the following areas:

  • Conservation
  • Global climate change
  • Hazardous waste
  • Marine pollution
  • Ozone layer protection
  • Persistent organic pollutants
More on the international environmental protection conventions that apply to Hong Kong

Environmental Legislation and Enforcement

Environmental protection legislation has been enacted in ten major areas.

Air Pollution Control Ordinance provides for the control of activities that produce air-borne emissions, such as:

  • Specified processes, including aluminium works, cement works and ceramic works
  • The installation or alteration of fuel-burning equipment and chimneys
  • Activities that involve the supply, import, transhipment and use of asbestos or asbestos containing material
  • Construction works
  • Open burning
  • Import or local manufacturing of VOC-containing products
  • Fuel used by ocean going vessels during berthing
  • Emissions from non-road mobile machinery   

More on the Air Pollution Control Ordinance

Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance controls the importation and exportation of ozone depleting substances.

More on the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance

Water Pollution Control Ordinance covers the control of:

  • Effluent from industrial, institutional and commercial premises
  • The discharge of domestic sewage from institutional and commercial premises in un-sewered areas
  • Domestic sewage treatment plants and domestic premises in un-sewered areas


More on Water Pollution Control Ordinance

Waste Disposal Ordinance controls pollution caused by all forms of waste.

More on the Waste Disposal Ordinance

Dumping at Sea Ordinance controls activities that involve the marine dumping of dredged mud or the use of oil dispersants and similar substances.

More on the Dumping at Sea Ordinance

Noise Control Ordinance provides controls to restrict and reduce specific sources of environmental noise.

More on the Noise Control Ordinance

The purpose of Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance is to avoid, minimise and control the adverse environmental impact of designated projects through the application of the EIA process and the environmental permit system. 

More on the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance

Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance regulates the import, export, manufacture and use of non-pesticide hazardous chemicals.

More on the Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance

Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance provides a legal basis for introducing producer responsibility schemes, the Plastic Shopping Bag Charging has been fully implemented since April 2015. The Producer Responsibility Scheme on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WPRS) is set to be fully implemented in 2018.

More on the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance

Plastic shopping bagsWaste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

These ordinances are enforced through the issuance of licences and permits for controlled activities. The failure to hold a valid licence or permit when engaging in such activities can result in penalty and imprisonment.

Besides, the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance prohibits drivers from causing or permitting their vehicle engines to operate for more than 3 minutes in aggregate in any 60-minute period while the vehicles are stationary (“idling prohibition”). 

More on the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) OrdinanceSummary of environmental legislationEnvironmental protection legislation enforcement statisticsApplying for environmental licences and permits

Guidelines and Ordinance Content for Industries and Trades

If your industry or business is subject to control by environmental protection legislation, you can refer to the compliance guides for and the exact content of the respective ordinances through the following links.

More on compliance guidesEnvironmental legislation content
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Last review date: December 2019