The First PolyU Campus Sustainability Weeks
PolyU endeavours in promoting environmental protection amongst students and staff by organizing various environmental activities. Environmental Week is one of these campus wide activities which has been held annually since 2009. This year, the Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) joined hands with the Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO) and successfully launched the first ever PolyU Campus Sustainability Weeks (CS Weeks) from 22 April to 3 May 2013. The CS Weeks follow the footsteps of previous Environmental Week but have a wider perspective in promoting campus sustainability. This arrangement also echoes with PolyU's key development strategic priority in fostering sustainable development.
Having the theme "Sustainable Campus; Sustainable World", the CS Weeks intended to create a platform for information sharing on green campus; promote environmental awareness and enhance the sense of social responsibility amongst PolyU members. This 2-week campaign consisted of a series of events including exhibitions, design competitions, seminars and workshops in which staff and students had actively participated. This article briefly describes the various activities held within the CS Weeks.
For the promotion of green campus, two first ever green design competitions (Green Poster and Green Four Cubicle Cartoon) were held from 6 to 28 March 2013. Staff and students were encouraged to show their talents, whilst addressing "green behaviour" in topics of (1) Energy Conservation; (2) Water Conservation; (3) Paperless Campus; (4) Waste Reduction or Recycling and (5) Food Waste Reduction. Winners of these competitions are listed in Table 1. The Award Presentation officiated by Ir Professor Ping-kong Alexander Wai, Vice President (Research Development), Chairman of Campus Sustainability Committee was held on the first day of the CS Weeks (22 April 2013). These winning designs were exhibited from 22 April to 2 May 2013 at the podium of FG Wing and suitable ones will be used for related publicity on campus.
Table 1. Winners of the design competitions
Green Exhibition and Booths
A Green Exhibition was held from 22 April to 2 May 2013 at the podium of FG Wing in collaboration with C Y Tung International Centre for Maritime Studies (ICMS), CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP), Hotel ICON, School of Design (SD) of PolyU, The Green Society of Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students' Union (HKPUSU) and World Green Organisation (WGO). The themes of this exhibition included green tips in our daily lives, eco-tourism in Hong Kong, up-cycling products, low carbon logistics and energy poverty. Besides, the winning designs from the abovementioned design competitions were also displayed in this exhibition.
In addition, five promotional booths were set up from 22 to 24 April 2013 at the podium of FJ Wing on campus where parties from CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, Déjà vu Creation, The Green Society of HKPUSU, School of Design and Institute for Entrepreneurship of PolyU shared their experience in sustainability with the PolyU community. A step power generator as well as other interesting games and innovative up-cycling products were exhibited at these booths which attracted many students and staff.
Seminars and Green Workshops
Educating PolyU members on environmental protection and sustainable development is an important element of the CS Weeks. In this regard, six seminars and four green workshops (with details summarized in Table 2) were organized. We were honored to have speakers from PolyU, green organizations and professional institutions to share the knowledge of Urban Greening, Climate Change, Green Buildings, Smart Buildings, Air Quality and Water Management. The workshops allowed students and staff to have first-hand experience to turn "waste" material into useful decorations as well as to learn cultivating indoor plants.
Apart from learning through these seminars, students who had attended any of these seminars were also eligible for obtaining certain special points of co-curricular activity granted by the Student Affairs Office.
Table 2. Seminars and Green Workshops
Various Green Activities
Activities and Development on Campus
PolyU won the Best Green ICT Silver Award
PolyU won the Best Green ICT (Adoption – Organisations) Silver Award in the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2013 for the project entitled "A Greener Era – start from here (Greening University Administration- Out with the Old!)" presented by its Information Technology Services Office (ITS).
The awarded project had accomplished major green features including digitizing and centralizing the pre-1986 paper student records as well as archiving past student records to optimize performance and efficiency, redesigning and streamlining operation processes to reduce the volume of printing paper for student admission related document, and maintaining good utilization of equipment through adaptive purchase and virtualization of infrastructure save energy and resources.
Official Opening of the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development
We have reported the establishment of the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD) at PolyU in the cover story of our previous issue of newsletter. The Inauguration Ceremony for RISUD was held on 14 June 2013 at the University's Chiang Chen Studio Theatre with lots of guests including Dr Qiu Baoxing, Vice Minister of the Central Government's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and Mr Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for the Environment of the Hong Kong SAR Government. In his welcoming address, PolyU President Professor Timothy W. Tong stated that the establishment of RISUD demonstrates the University's dedication to making sustainable development a strategic priority. The Inauguration Ceremony was followed by a series of workshops.
Led by Director Professor Jin-guang Teng and Associate Director Professor Xiang-dong Li, the RISUD is organized into five Divisions comprising 26 research groups. Each group is led by an internationally recognized scholar in his field. Through research and knowledge transfer activities, consultancy services and professional training, the RISUD is committed to multi-disciplinary collaborations to address major urban planning and environmental issues with an aim at enhancing Hong Kong's competitiveness as well as China's socio-economic development.
Hong Kong Green Day
The Green Council launched the first ever Hong Kong Green Day at Lok Fu Plaza on 5 June 2013. PolyU was one of the supporting organizations.
This Green Day campaign intended to raise citizens' awareness of the inseparable relationship between environmental protection and healthy lifestyles. The whole campaign consisted of a series of promotional activities including "Rethink" Green Life Photo Competition, Environmental Talks, Low Carbon Concert, Green Hunt, Closing Ceremony and Photo Competition Exhibition, to echo with the theme "Go Green, Act Green".
As a sign of supporting green lifestyles, VIPs and guests were encouraged to wear and display "green" in their clothing and/or accessories when attending the inaugural ceremony.
Seminars and Workshops on Low Carbon Logistics organized by ICMS
Sponsored by the SME Development Fund of the Trade and Industry Department of the HKSAR government, the CY Tung International Centre for Maritime Studies (ICMS) have been organizing a series of seminars and workshops on low carbon logistics to familiarize members of the manufacturing sector, import and export trade, logistics service providers, as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the latest concepts and practices.
Two seminars and two workshops entitled "Low Carbon Logistics: Good Practice and Guideline for SMEs" were held on 16 April, 3 May, 10 May and 11 June 2013. The topics of the workshops were "Get Ready for Low Carbon Management" and "Basic of Carbon Accounting". Each seminar and workshop attracted around 80 and 50 participants respectively.
These activities are part of an ongoing project named "Low Carbon Logistics: Good Practice and Guidelines for SMEs" launched in 2012. The project aims at promoting green logistics; enhancing the competitiveness of local enterprises; and sharing concepts and practices of low carbon logistics.
PolyU signed the Energy Saving Charter
As a positive response to the invitation from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) and Environment Bureau, PolyU signed the Energy Saving Charter on No Incandescent Light Bulbs (ILB) and Indoor Temperature launched by the HKSAR Government. In Hong Kong, energy consumption accounts for more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is necessary to set a reasonable and comfortable indoor temperature level and promote greener lighting to help saving energy and combat climate change.
These two Charters intend to encourage community-wide participation in energy saving. Offices that participate in this charter will have to refrain from procuring targeted ILB for general lighting purposes and maintain an average indoor temperature between 24-26oC during the months of June to September 2013.
PolyU Signed the Food Wise Charter
The Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign is one of the signature events under the theme of "Fresh Hong Kong" of the "Hong Kong: Our Home" Campaign, aims to promote public awareness of the food waste problem in Hong Kong and instill behavioral changes in various sectors of the community with a view to reducing food waste generation.
Accordingly, the "Food Wise Charter" has been built with over 150 organizations from various trades committed to be the Food Wise Partners and PolyU is one of them. Professor Timothy W. Tong signed the Food Wise Charter on 3 May 2013 indicating PolyU's commitment to promoting best practices and behavioral changes to reduce food waste; drawing up and implementing plans; conducting in-house waste audit; adopting and promoting recipes which make use of leftovers; and supporting food donation activities.
News and Tips
New website on sustainability at PolyU
A new website on campus sustainability was launched in June 2013 to facilitate the promotion of sustainability and environmental awareness as well as to enhance PolyU members' sense of social responsibility. This website serves as a one-stop platform linking PolyU members internally within the campus and externally with the community on green information and activities. You will also find information about PolyU's sustainability initiatives, our achievements, green news and events, tips and gallery, etc. You are most welcome to visit this website at www.polyu.edu.hk/greencampus.
Blueprint for sustainable use of resources 2013 – 2022
On 20 May 2013, the Environment Bureau unveiled "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022" which maps out a comprehensive strategy, targets, policies and action plans for waste management for the coming 10 years. The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, mentioned that the Government aims to reduce the per capita disposal rate of municipal solid waste by 40 per cent by 2022.
To achieve this goal, the blueprint proposes policies and actions in three areas. Firstly, the Government will undertake multiple and concurrent actions to drive behavioral change to reduce waste at source through policies and legislation, including municipal solid waste charging and producer responsibility schemes. Secondly, the Government will roll out targeted territory-wide waste reduction campaigns, such as those on food waste reduction and glass beverage bottle recycling. Thirdly, the Government will allocate resources to enhance waste-related infrastructure, including organic waste treatment facilities, waste-to-energy integrated waste management facilities and landfill extensions.
For more details, please refer to the "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022" which is available at http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/WastePlan-E.pdf.
Extension of plastic shopping bags levy scheme
The Plastic Shopping Bags Levy Scheme has been implemented since 2009 and about 3300 registered retail outlets help in reducing the distribution of plastic shopping bags.
To enhance the public awareness of "Bring Your Own Bag", the government plans to extend the Scheme to cover the entire retail industry. The corresponding bill has recently been introduced to the Legislative Council for scrutiny. Upon enactment and implementation, free distribution of plastic shopping bags will be banned at all points of sale and at least fifty cents per bag will be charged as an economic disincentive. Not only the use of plastic shopping bags but also paper bags and other associated products will be included in the Scheme to maximize reduction in waste. Certain exclusions will be included so that the use of plastic shopping bags for food hygiene purposes will not be discouraged.