Cover Story


PolyU Campus Sustainability Weeks 2014

Prelude

To revive the success story of the 1st PolyU Campus Sustainability Weeks in 2013, the Campus Sustainability Committee joined hands with the Health, Safety and Environment Office again to organize the PolyU Campus Sustainability Weeks 2014 from 24 March to 4 April 2014. On the theme of "Green Campus; Green Lifestyle (打造綠色理大; 活出綠色生活)", this annual event provided a common platform for sharing green information and promoting environmental awareness. A variety of activities including a green forum, a green carnival, seminars, workshops, a field trip and an exhibition were launched on campus over a period of two weeks. It is most encouraging that PolyU students, staff and friends were actively involved in co-organizing some of the activities, signifying a great step towards building a green PolyU campus.




Green Forum and Seminars

To kick off the Campus Sustainability Weeks 2014, a Green Forum was held on 24 March 2014. Ms Christine Loh Kung-wai, Under Secretary for the Environment of the HKSAR Government, Mr Edwin Lau, Director-General Affairs of Friends of the Earth (HK), Prof. C.S. Poon, Associate Head of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of PolyU, and Mr Angus Wong, Policy Advocacy Manager of World Green Organisation, were invited to share their views on green lifestyle and waste challenges.

In addition, a seminar entitled "Waste or Treasure-Reusing Office and Household Wastes" and another seminar on "The Impact of Marine Debris and WWF Hong Kong Marine Conservation" were delivered by Dr Gilbert Y.S. Chan of our Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology and Ms Nicole Wong, Director-Education, WWF-Hong Kong respectively. The two seminars were well received by both staff and students.

Green Carnival and Exhibition

On 24 March 2014 a Green Carnival was organized to kick off the event at Chan Sui Kau and Chan Lam Moon Chun Square (Logo Square) with an extended exhibition at the podium of FJ Wing until 4 April 2014. The Carnival featured interactive green information, game booths and a thrift shop. Ir Prof. Alexander Wai, Vice President (Research Development) and Chairman of Campus Sustainability Committee, presented souvenirs made of recycled "Lai See" packets to all units which had extended assistance to the Green Carnival and exhibition, namely Green Hall (PolyU Student Halls of Residence, Homantin), The Green Society (HKPUSU), PolyU's Institute for Entrepreneurship and School of Design as well as external environmental organizations, such as Hong Kong Organic Waste Recycling Centre, The Conservancy Association, WWF-Hong Kong and Yan Oi Tong EcoPark Plastic Resources Recycling Centre.

Also worthy of mention are contributions from our student groups. At its exhibition booth, The Green Society not only promoted the concept of "Bring Your Own (BYO)", but also advised against the un-environmentally-friendly use of disposable items. Visitors to the exhibition were reminded of the harmful effects of plastic bottles and the potential benefits of BYO to environmental protection. After playing a simple game and receiving a souvenir, visitors were invited to express their support towards BYO by attaching a leaf to a miniature tree.

Another supporting unit, Green Hall of PolyU Student Halls of Residence (Homantin), organized a campus-wide reusable items collection exercise at the Green Carnival, and succeeded in collecting hundreds of reusable items. The Green Hall Online Thrift Shop (http://www.polyugreenhall.com/) for collection and distribution of reusable items was also established in Student Halls of Residence (Homantin).

Green Workshops and Field Trip

Highlights of the Campus Sustainability Weeks this year covered four fun Green Workshops and a field trip to a plastic recycling centre, as tabulated below, generating active participation by students and staff.

Green Workshops and Field Trip, Campus Sustainability Weeks 2014

DateGreen Workshops and Visit
26 March 2014Personalize Your Own Tote Bag
Co-organizer: Green Green Hall Community, PolyU
26 March & 2-3 April 2014 Green Office-Horticulture Therapy: Pressed Flowers
Co-organizer: Human Resources Office, PolyU
28 March 2014Gardening for Crop Production on Campus
Co-organizer: Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, PolyU
2 April 2014Natural Dyeing with Plants
Co-organizer: The Green Society, HKPUSU, PolyU
3 April 2014Field Trip to Yan Oi Tong EcoPark Plastic Resources Recycling Centre
Co-organizer: Yan Oi Tong EcoPark Plastic Resources Recycling Centre

The workshops were co-organized by different student groups as well as academic and administrative departments of PolyU including the Green Green Hall Community, The Green Society, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, and Human Resources Office.

To promote "Bring Your Own Bag", The Green Society organized a natural dyeing workshop for students to come up with unique designs of their own bags. Participants got the chance of getting involved in the entire process, from tying the bags with wooden sticks and rubber bands to immersing the bags into naturally refined dye. Some participants even printed their bags with creative patterns. At the end of the workshop, as proud owners of their DIY bags, participants vowed to use less plastic and paper bags.

Another workshop entitled "Personalize Your Own Tote Bags" was co-organized by the Green Green Hall Community. Also aimed at promoting "Bring Your Own Bag", this workshop enabled participating students to decorate and personalize their own cloth tote bags. During the workshop, participants were introduced to the adverse effects of plastic bags on the environment, in particular the damage to the ocean and marine animals.

Other Green Activities

  • Bring Your Own (BYO) Campaign

    "Bring Your Own (BYO)" campaign was launched at the end of last year with the aim of encouraging PolyU members to use their own containers for purchasing foods and drinks. In doing so, they would not only enjoy BYO discounts offered by catering outlets on PolyU campus, but also contribute towards reduction of plastic waste. As a further incentive for practising BYO, a "Special Bring Your Own (BYO) Prize" was awarded to the PolyU member (either staff or student) most active in participating in BYO during the Campus Sustainability Weeks. The winner, Ms Lau Kit Man of the Office of Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, was awarded a banquet for 12 persons sponsored by Maxim's Caterers Limited.

  • Earth Hour 2014

    The "Earth Hour" is a global campaign initiated by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2007 to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Not only did our Campus Sustainability Weeks coincide with Earth Hour 2014, held on 29 March (Saturday) from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, but we have actively supported this event for the past years. This year, "Earth Hour" was highlighted in the Campus Sustainability Weeks for promotion with 28 PolyU departments and units:
    • switching off non-essential lighting for certain fountains, corridors, PolyU logo, facades, waffles, landscape, roofs, covered walkways and lobbies;
    • encouraging staff and students to switch off non-essential lighting at home;
    • encouraging staff and students not to use facilities of the university;
    • encouraging staff and students not to hold important events or activities;
    • suspending certain services and the use of certain facilities, e.g., switching off all computers, monitors and printers after work.

At the Student Halls of Residence (Hung Hom), the Green Green Hall Community organized a Sign-up Campaign from 28 to 29 March to promote the Earth Hour event. It was encouraging that a great number of students pledged to switch off their room lights to support the event. A Walking Tour was also held for participants to view the lights-out Victoria Harbour. Local, mainland and exchange students together were excited to witness the lights going out and see Hong Kong in a different perspective. They also took the chance to share cultural anecdotes and environmental initiatives in their own cities.

At the Student Halls of Residence (Homantin), as a show of support for the event, the Green Hall residents turned off their room lights during the Earth Hour.

 


Activities and Development on Campus

PolyU joined the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence Scheme

Since 2008 the Environmental Campaign Committee (ECC), Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR Government and other nine organizations have been organizing Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence (HKAEE) to encourage organizations to adopt green management and innovations. Details of the Awards are available at the http://hkaee.org.hk.

Dedicated to promoting environmental protection and sustainable development, PolyU participated in the Sectoral Awards 2013 under the sector of public organizations and utilities to benchmark its performance. We are looking forward to the official announcement of results in May 2014.


Sustainability-related Talks, Workshops and Conferences

During the period from January to March 2014, the following sustainability-related talks, workshops and conferences were held on PolyU campus:

  • RISUD Research Salon on "The Role of Wind Engineering in Air Ventilation and Pollution Dispersion in an Urban Environment"

    Date:6 January 2014
    Organizer:Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development, PolyU
    Speaker:Prof. Kenny Kwok, Professor of Engineering, University of Western Sydney


  • Briefing Session on "Community Mushroom Growing" Project and Activities of Food Education Association

    Date:23 January 2014
    Organizer:Food Education Association
    Content:Food Education Association, a local green non-profit organization promoting food waste reduction, organized a briefing session to introduce its "Community Mushroom Growing" Project and activities in 2014 for schools and PolyU members.


  • Swap Party

    Date: 27-29 January 2014
    Organizers: EXCO and The Green Society of HKPUSU, PolyU
    Content:
    • Day 1: Music Performance
    • Day 2: Upcycling Workshop
    • Day 3: Sharing Session on leftovers





  • 1st Cross-strait Forum on Sustainable Urban Development

    Date: 14-16 February 2014
    Organizer: Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development and Faculty of Construction and Environment, PolyU
    Content: The Forum is aimed at strengthening collaboration and exchanges between PolyU and National Taiwan University, Tsinghua University, Tongji University, Sichuan University and South China University of Technology in the area of sustainable urban development.


  • RISUD Research Salon on "Resilience and Sustainability of Infrastructure Systems"

    Date:5 March 2014
    Organizer:Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development, PolyU
    Speaker:Prof. Dan M. Frangopol, Fazlur R. Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture, Lehigh University



  • Public Lecture on "Transformational Change in Environmental Policy: the Five Drivers"

    Date: 11 March 2014
    Organizer: Faculty of Construction and Environment, PolyU
    Speaker: Prof. Frank Murray, School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia



  • Recycling Competition 2014 - Share Your Green and Win

    Date: 17 March – 25 May 2014
    Collaborating Departments of PolyU:Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Green Hall, PolyU Student Halls of Residence (Homantin); and Health, Safety and Environment Office
    Sponsors:WSS and Perfect Green
    Content:To encourage students to practise municipal solid waste (MSW) source separation. Student residents who have actively participated in MSW separation at Student Halls of Residence (Homantin) from 17 March to 25 May 2014 will win individual and group awards.
    Targets: PolyU Student Residents of Student Halls of Residence (Homantin)

 


Resources Conservation

Lai See Packets Recycling and Reuse Programme

In Hong Kong, hundreds of millions of lai see packets are used during the Chinese New Year. Most of them are subsequently disposed of in the landfills. The Greeners Action launched the "Lai See Packets Recycling and Reuse Programme" a few years ago. Held annually ever since, the event sees millions of lai see packets collected, sorted, re-packed and then re-distributed to the general public and non-profit organizations for re-use.

PolyU supported the "Lai See Packets Recycling and Reuse Program" this year and encouraged our staff and students to use recycled lai see packets received from the Greeners Action. These lai see packets, all in good conditions, were distributed to staff and students on 14 January 2014.

It is worth noting that lai see packets can also be upcycled into amazing artworks as shown. Thanks to a PolyU staff member who has demonstrated the good use of the red packets.


Recycling Bins at Block Z and Student Halls of Residence (Homantin)

As the development of Block Z is almost coming to a completion, this building has recently been furnished with recycling bins to facilitate the collection of reusable materials including paper, plastics, metal cans and glass beverage bottles. You may find these recycling bins at conspicuous areas on the ground floor, podium floor, fourth and fifth floors of this building.

At the Student Halls of Residence (Homantin), the recently- established Recycling Committee (led and managed by the Green Hall) has actively promoted recycling practices amongst hall residents. Recycling bins are now available on the lower ground floor, ground floor, third, eighth, 10th to 14th, 15th, 17th, 22nd and 24th floors of the building. The Committee has also launched an awareness programme to keep residents informed of the locations of recycling bins and the types of items which can be recycled.


World Water Day 2014 and WSD "Let's Save 10L Water" Campaign

World Water Day is an annual event first launched on 22 March in 1993 to raise awareness of the importance of freshwater and advocate sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year, the theme is "Water and Energy". The aim is to raise awareness of the inter-linkage between water and energy. Energy generation and transmission consume water resources. Conversely, pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers eat up about 8% of the global energy generation. You may learn more about the World Water Day from the website http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday.

The Water Supplies Department of the HKSAR Government has launched the "Let's Save 10L Water" Campaign to encourage the public to reduce 10 litres of daily water consumption, use water wisely in daily lives and establish good habits of conserving water. The "Let's Save 10L Water" Campaign website http://www.waterconservation.hk/ went live on 22 March 2014 on the World Water Day. You are welcome to visit the website to sign the "Commitment Certificate" as your pledge to support conservation of our precious water resources.


Pollution Control


PolyU Maintains Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

On 25 February 2014, the Indoor Air Quality Certificate Award Ceremony 2013 was held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to give recognition and commendation to organizations that have participated in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Certification Scheme in 2013. Ms Anissa Wong Sean-yee, Permanent Secretary for the Environment, presented awards to certificate holders. PolyU was awarded both Excellent and Good Class IAQ Certificates. Mr Joseph Chan, Campus Sustainability Manager, attended the ceremony and received the certificates on behalf of PolyU.

Poor IAQ can lead to discomfort, ill health and lower productivity in workplace. As a responsible and caring employer, PolyU has been endeavoring to maintain satisfactory IAQ for our staff and students. Currently, Good or Excellent Class IAQ has been achieved in most areas of PolyU including the library, auditorium, offices, classrooms and public areas.

 


News and Tips


PolyU Sustainability Website strikes gold under Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme

Our Sustainability Website ("PolyU Green Concepts") at http://www.polyu.edu.hk/greencampus/en has attained Gold Level of the Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme 2014. The scheme is jointly organized by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the Equal Opportunities Commission to encourage wider adoption of web accessibility designs to facilitate internet access by everyone including those with disabilities and the elderly.

Green Map

At times, you may want to know where to find the catering outlets with Bring Your Own (BYO) discounts or the nearest drinking fountains to refill your water bottle on campus. The Campus Sustainability Committee's website "PolyU Green Concepts" has recently introduced a Green Map with that in mind for your quick reference.

Green Map:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk/greencampus/map/




Waste Statistics for 2012

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) issued the "Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong-Waste Statistics for 2012" report in January 2014, presenting the situation of solid waste disposal and recovered in 2012, in the form of statistical figures, covering municipal solid waste (MSW) (comprising domestic, commercial and industrial waste), construction waste and other categories of waste in Hong Kong.

Compared with 2011, the average daily quantity of solid waste disposed of at landfills increased slightly by 2.9 per cent while the total quantity of recovered recyclable materials decreased by 0.86 million tonnes. As a result, the recovery rate of municipal solid waste dropped from 48 per cent in 2011 to 39 per cent in 2012.

A full report is available for download at the Department's website: https://www.wastereduction.gov.hk/en/materials/info/msw2012.pdf


Food Waste and Yard Waste Plan for Hong Kong

The Environment Bureau issued "A Food Waste & Yard Waste Plan for Hong Kong 2014-2022" on 20 February 2014. The plan provided analysis on the current situation of food waste and yard waste in Hong Kong, and outlined comprehensive strategy, targets, policies and action plans to reduce food waste disposal to landfills by 40 per cent in 2022 in Hong Kong. The four-pronged approach adopted comprises reduction at source, reuse and donation, recyclable collection, and waste-to-energy. You can find the full document on the Environment Bureau's website http://www.enb.gov.hk/en/files/FoodWastePolicyEng.pdf.








First Registration Tax Exemption for Electric Vehicles

On 26 March 2014, the Legislative Council passed a resolution to extend the first registration tax exemption for electric vehicles for another three years, until 31 March 2017. You can find more details from the Environmental Protection Department's website: www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/prob_solutions/promotion_ev.html.