Cover Story

PolyU Environmental Week 2010

The PolyU Environmental Week 2010 was successfully held from 5 to 12 November 2010. This year’s environmental week was special in that our activities were arranged in parallel with the C40 Hong Kong Workshop “Low Carbon Cities for High Quality Living” to highlight PolyU’s support for low-carbon living. The workshop was convened at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 3 to 6 November 2010. It was also the first time that the Health, Safety & Environment Office co-organized the opening ceremony and seminar for the environmental week with the Faculty of Construction and Land Use.

On 5 November 2010, our Executive Vice President, Mr Nicholas Yang, officiated at the opening ceremony of the Environmental Week 2010. Following Mr Yang’s opening address, there was a public seminar entitled “Climate Change – Arctic Perspectives” delivered by Prof. David Drewry, who is a renowned scholar at the University of Cambridge. A full house of more than 150 audience comprising students, staff and external guests attended this seminar where Prof. Drewry interestingly illustrated the record of a steady rise in global temperature locked in the polar ice sheets as revealed by ice cores. Other observations of the impact of a changing climate on the polar regions were also described in his presentation.

As the theme for this year’s environmental week is “Cherish the Plants, Cherish the Planet”, many activities were organized with a focus on plant preservation. These included a poster exhibition, a voting campaign and an environmental talk.

The poster exhibition, held at the podium of Wing FG, gave an account of the practice of plant preservation in PolyU. Detailed information on some 13 species of trees commonly found on our campus was shown with beautiful pictures. Moreover, a voting campaign entitled “My Favourite Tree at PolyU” was held on facebook. This campaign encouraged students and staff to learn more about green plants in our environment and vote for their favourite trees amongst eight nominated trees on campus. The Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia) (鳳凰木) located beside the lawn between Block M and Block N, with a very graceful tree form, was the winner of this campaign with the highest voting scores. We also invited Mr So Kwok Yin, the Chief Executive of the Conservancy Association and a famous arborist in Hong Kong, as the guest speaker of our environmental talk on 10 November 2010. Mr So shared his valuable knowledge and experience in the management and conservation of trees in Hong Kong.

Similar to 2009, we continued to host the “Use Less Plastic and Styrofoam Campaign” but the duration of the campaign was extended to one full month (November 2010). This campaign encouraged students and staff to avoid using plastic disposable utensils and Styrofoam boxes. They could save one dollar by bringing their own food containers for take-away foods.


The environmental week was concluded with an environmental film show on 12 November 2010. We showed the documentary film “Arctic Tale” depicting the plight of a polar bear and that of a walrus due to rapid melting of ice-floes resulting from global warming. The story echoed the “climate change” message of the opening seminar.

Activities and Development on Campus

Two buildings of PolyU won Merit Awards in the Green Building Award 2010

Hong Kong Community College (West Kowloon Campus) and PolyU’s GH Podium Annex won the “Merit” Award in the New Buildings Category and Existing Buildings Category respectively in the Green Building Award 2010. This is a biennial event jointly organized by the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) and the Professional Green Building Council (PGBC) with an aim to providing recognition to buildings and research projects with outstanding contributions to a sustainable built environment, and encouraging the industry towards further adoption of sustainable planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance and renovation of buildings. The result announcement and award presentation ceremony, officiated by the Secretary for Development, was held on 4 November 2010.

Energy efficiency recognition to Hong Kong Community College
(Hung Hom Bay Campus)

In April 2010, Hong Kong Community College (Hung Hom Bay Campus) was successfully registered under the “Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings” advocated by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) with respect to the energy efficiency of electrical, lighting, air conditioning, and lift & escalator installations.

Experience sharing on environmentally friendly design for campus development

Ir Kenny Chan, representing the Campus Development Office of PolyU, gave a presentation to share PolyU’s experience in the design of campus buildings with environmental considerations in a tie-in event of the C40 Hong Kong Workshop entitled “Forum on Climate Change and Campus Sustainability” hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University on 1 November 2010. The Forum was attended by representatives from local and overseas universities. It provided a platform to exchange the perspectives on addressing climate change and developing a sustainable campus.

PolyU alumni contributed to promoting a greener Hong Kong

On 7 November 2010, more than 1,000 enthusiastic PolyU alumni as well as their friends and family members planted more than 5,000 shrubs and saplings at North District Park, Sheung Shui with a hope for a greener Hong Kong.

The event, "Greening Hong Kong by PolyU Alumni 2010", was jointly organized by PolyU, the Federation of PolyU Alumni Associations and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It was the sixth time such greening activity was held since 2004.

The meaningful event not only helped to build a greener environment in Hong Kong, but also served to educate our younger generation about environmental care and sustainable development.


Resource Conservation

PolyU supports the “Universities and Institutes Save Food Day” and Used-items Collection Campaign

PolyU supports the “Universities & Institutes Save Food Day” organized by the Greeners Action every Wednesday from October 2010 to July 2011. The Greeners Action has launched this campaign in the universities and institutes in Hong Kong to encourage students not to waste foods. With cooperation of the caterers, students can save one dollar as an incentive when they request “Less rice, please!” on designated menu items in participating canteens.
The Used-items Collection Campaign, jointly organized by PolyU Staff Association and the Community Recycling Coop of the Industrial Relations Institute, was held again on campus from 4 to 5 November 2010. Similar campaigns had been held many times on campus in 2008 and 2009 and the campaigns were enthusiastically supported by PolyU staff and students. Collected items that are in good condition, including electrical appliances, clothing, shoes, bags, stationery, books, household goods, bedding, furniture, etc. are sold to the needy at very low prices. This event not only helps the low-income people in Hong Kong but also promotes the value of treasuring and sharing resources.

Pollution Control

Innovative use of solar energy

Prof. Eric Cheng and his research group from PolyU’s Electrical Engineering Department have successfully developed a Solar-powered Air-conditioning System for vehicles in collaboration with Green Power Industrial Ltd. and with the support of Coca-Cola Hong Kong. The system was installed on the top of a truck for carrying beverages and a series of testing on the road had been completed. As solar energy is a kind of clean and renewable energy, this innovation may serve as a practical solution to provide the much-needed air-conditioning for professional drivers in Hong Kong without aggravating the roadside air pollution problem. Besides, professional drivers anticipate that the application of this innovation may facilitate the practice of switching off idling vehicle engines while waiting.

News and Tips

Laser printers and the environment

The Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO) has received several enquiries from colleagues on whether emissions from office laser printers pose a health risk. Ozone gas is a well-known pollutant that is generated when laser printers are in use.

In the past, HSEO carried out a number of ozone gas measurements around office laser printers, and all the results indicated that the ozone gas concentration at the measured locations was below the detection limit of the testing method (i.e. less than 0.05 ppm).

According to the Hong Kong Labour Department’s “Code of Practice on Control of Air Impurities in the Workplace”, if a worker’s exposure to ozone gas is below 0.1 ppm (averaged over 8 hours), such exposure is unlikely to lead to adverse health effects on most workers.

In general, the following simple steps can help to minimize exposures to laser printer emissions:

  1. Locate laser printer in areas with adequate ventilation.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance of the laser printer.

If in doubt, contact HSEO for further advice.

Plastic coding system

Plastic is widely used nowadays, and there are many kinds of plastics. Different plastics have different properties. The unique properties of a plastic lead to its specific processing methods and specific applications. Manufacturing with virgin plastic resin is easy as its properties are well known.

Recycled plastic materials are usually mixed with different plastics. Such mixed resins result in poor quality of recovered plastics.

For good recovery and recycling of plastics, the same type of plastic resin should be put together. To facilitate the sorting out of each type of plastic from recycled waste, a means of identification should be in place. A simple way is to mark on the plastic materials relevant codes to identify the type of resin of which the material is made.

A coding system which has been adopted by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department is the one used by Society of Plastics Industry of the USA. A number, which indicates the resin type in a triangular recycling symbol, defines the code. The following diagram shows the scheme of the coding system.

Sorting of plastics in a recycling centre