For information
on 4 May 1999

Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs
Progress of Year 2000 Compliance Exercise in
Environment-related Government Departments
and Non-Government Organizations Funded
or Regulated by Government


This paper covers the progress on the Y2K compliance programme for the Environmental Division of Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau (PELB) and the Departments within the environment policy area. The latter include Agriculture and Fisheries Department (A&FD), Drainage Services Department (DSD), Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and Marine Department (MD). In this paper, we have only covered systems which are used to support environment-related business areas. The compliance position of individual Departments' systems may also be reported to other relevant Legislative Council Panels. Y2K issues in respect of planning and lands will be covered in a paper for the Legislative Council Panel on Planning, Lands and Works.

Work on Y2K Compliance So Far

2. PELB has long recognised the need to resolve the Y2K problem in time. In mid-1994, PELB and its Departments started to address the impact of the Y2K problem on their departmental systems.

3. In resolving the Y2K problem, the guidelines and directives issued by the Steering Committee on Year 2000 Compliance chaired by the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting have been followed. The progress of Y2K compliance works in PELB and Departments under its purview was monitored through quarterly progress reports in 1998 and monthly reports in 1999.

4. PELB and Works Bureau jointly set up a dedicated team in September 1998 to oversee the Y2K compliance work in these two bureaux as well as in departments and NGO within their respective purview. Its role is to monitor and review the progress of Y2K compliance work both in the Bureau and its group of Departments. The team comprises a Chief Engineer as the team leader and a full time Assistant Secretary (electronics engineer) as the team member supporting the team functions.

5. To obtain independent input for its Y2K compliance programme, an external consultant was engaged in January 1999 to review the Y2K compliance programme for sewage treatment. The consultancy study was completed in mid-April 1999.

6. The findings of the review on sewage treatment showed that the Y2K compliance work has been progressing satisfactorily and met international best practice, thus providing a high level of confidence. For system testing, the consultant observed that the standards adopted in these departments are even better than those adopted in other developed countries. The Consultant also provided very important and useful input as to information processing, inventory preparation, problem escalation, risk assessment and contingency planning.

Present Position & Progress

7. As at 15 March 1999, there is no mission-critical system 1 in PELB. 77 systems, which include mission-critical computer systems, mission-critical embedded systems and all line communication systems, have been identified in the Departments under the policy purview of environment. Of these, 72 (94%) of them have been confirmed as Y2K compliant or rectified.

8. The rectification work for the remaining five (6%) mission-critical systems which are still Y2K non-compliant will be completed before the end of June 1999. A breakdown by bureau/departments showing the position as at 15 March 1999 is set out below.

No. of
No. of non-compliant system Compliance
status being

in progress

Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau 0000
Agriculture and Fisheries Department0 000 0
Drainage Services Department 51000 51
Environmental Protection Department 21500 26
Marine Department000 00

9. To date, the Y2K compliance programme in PELB and its departments has been progressing according to plan. The remaining rectification work will be closely monitored and is expected to be completed as scheduled. Environmental Protection Department

10. Out of the 26 systems used to support Environmental Protection Department's business, 21 have been confirmed as Y2K compliant or rectified. 3 non-compliant mission-critical systems which will be rectified before June 1999 are related to chemical waste control, laboratory analysis and air pollution index reporting. The remaining 2 non-compliant systems are line communication systems and will also be rectified before June 1999. As regard to chemical waste treatment centre, landfill and refuse transfer station facilities which are designed, built and operated by contractors, the contractors reported that the supporting mission-critical systems were either Y2K compliant or would be rectified before June 1999.

Drainage Services Department - Sewage Treatment

11. All mission-critical systems in Drainage Services Department which are used to support the work of sewage treatment are confirmed to be compliant. In the consultancy study mentioned in paragraphs 5 and 6, the consultant evaluated the Department's awareness of the Y2K problem, examined the methodology for the Y2K compliance programme and reviewed the Y2K documentation. Sample on-site check on inventory collection and compliance testing were also conducted. The review indicated that the department has strong and robust Y2K compliance programmes, and that the system testing gave very encouraging results. As for new installations to be commissioned within this year, further testing will be conducted to verify the Y2K compliance for the interface between the existing systems and the new installations.

Marine Department - Port Pollution Control

12. The critical business area of port pollution control undertaken by Marine Department will not be affected by the Y2K problems as their operation in this respect does not rely on any computer systems. Agriculture & Fisheries Department - Conservation of Natural Environment

13. The business area of conservation of natural environment and safeguard of ecological integrity will not be affected by the Y2K problem as their operation in this respect does not rely on any mission-critical computer systems.

The Way Forward

14. In the time leading to the turn of the century, we shall concentrate our efforts to ensure that the continuity of critical business under the purview of PELB will not be affected by the Y2K problem. In addition, we will monitor the Y2K readiness of other service providers and business partners whom we rely on to ensure service continuity.

15. We will put in place contingency plans to guard against any disruption in the critical services provided by PELB and its departments to the public. In this process, we will consider the scope, resources requirements, sustainability, associated triggers and activation mechanism. The contingency plans of our Departments are expected to be completed by July 1999 and PELB aims to complete a review of these plans by August 1999.

16. In October 1999, we will carry out a review on the overall Y2K readiness of critical business under the Bureau's purview. Also, we will make an assessment on any risk that may impact on our transition to the Year 2000. The review will provide an additional level of confidence to meet the millennium challenges.

17. In November 1999, we will review the set up and arrangement of emergency support for the imminent transition to the year 2000. This review will assess the status of the Departments for their readiness to deal with the rollover to 1 January 2000 and their associated logistical arrangements.

Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
May 1999

1.Mission-critical systems are those systems whose proper functioning is related to public health and safety, the provision of critical service to the public, and payment and revenue collection