The vision of young environmental engineers (By Environmental Division)

Hong Kong is facing more challenges in developing a liveable environment due to the adverse effects of climate change and we have now been experiencing raised temperatures, more frequent extreme rainfall and rising sea-level. More efforts are thus expected in combating climate change and developing a sustainable environment by implementing long-term strategies, adopting advanced technologies for blue-green infrastructure, setting up effective and efficient monitoring system, and enhancing public awareness. Today, young engineers are playing an irreplaceable and important role in achieving sustainable development in Hong Kong. Environmental engineers, in particular, are responsible for dealing with environmental pollution problems, while also having to work with other professionals and stakeholders including town planners, architects, scientists, ecologists, the public, industrial and commercial sectors, council members as well as green groups, for better communication and global community development.

The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) strives to nurture young professional engineers by offering the Scheme "A" Training for engineering graduates of different disciplines, including environmental engineering. During the 3-year training programme, the environmental engineering graduate trainees can be involved in various infrastructure projects to obtain hands-on experience in planning, design, construction and operation as well as project management. To date, there are 15 approved organisations offering the HKIE Scheme "A" Training in environmental discipline for engineering graduates to develop their career towards being a Registered Environmental Engineer.

To cope with specific and difficult problems, young environmental engineers need to dabble in multiple engineering disciplines, and hence, have the opportunities to obtain the latest information about the development of the global engineering industry and the state-of-the-art technologies. The Lantau Tomorrow Vision, the Greater Bay Area development, and the Belt and Road Initiative of our country bring us enormous opportunities for the development of Hong Kong. People attach great importance to environmental protection; environmental engineering will greatly impact the development of Hong Kong as a whole. Young Environmental Engineers shall act as the "facilitator" and "promoter" to continually improve our living environment, to maintain the competitiveness of Hong Kong and to seize the opportunities to connect with the world to "go global" and "attract foreign investment".

With a view to further strengthening Hong Kong's leading position as one of the international business centres, the Lantau Tomorrow Vision provides a major ingredient for success in reinforcing the advantages of a "Double Gateway". As "facilitators", young environmental engineers can make every endeavour to explore the wider use of sustainable designs, including the incorporation of renewable energy, green transport, and more advanced energy-saving or engineering measures. They can also learn from the experience of new town extension for taking the initiatives forward to transform the city towards a smarter and greener one with greater climate and environment resilience in the long run. By upholding the fundamental planning principles of "conservation to precede development" and "development for the north, conservation for the south", the engineers can participate in preserving the scarce natural resources in a professional manner and promote the importance of conservation of rural Lantau, whilst keeping the pace with the international development.

The development of the Greater Bay Area formulates a one-hour living circle encompassing Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, promoting economic growth of the area and enlarging the living environment. It provides a platform for the young engineers to leverage their professionalism to play a vital role within the Greater Bay Area. By working hand in hand with the regional partners, the engineers can explore more opportunities from the country's direction of introducing a series of environmental protection policies, thus bringing continuous improvement to regional environmental quality.

As there is a strong demand in the regions along the Belt and Road for developing sustainable infrastructure, Hong Kong engineers may provide professional advices on environmental consulting, participate in construction and operation, and assist in project management. The Belt and Road Initiative allows young engineers to have more exchanges with the relevant regions, to promote and enhance public awareness about environmental protection and sustainable development, and to contribute to the global community.

Success does not come overnight. It requires the sustained perseverance to build a better Hong Kong. Young environmental engineers should contribute every concerted effort by supporting Hong Kong's long-term development professionally and enhance the ability of our future generations to meet their own needs. Through the implementation of various environmental protection measures and initiatives, Hong Kong can be driven to become a green city.

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