MERIT develops novel marine conservation technologies

Karen Cheng

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The Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology (MERIT), led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU), has developed a variety of novel technologies for pollution monitoring, pollution control and risk assessment in the marine environment, which are ready for practical use in Hong Kong and the region.

The centre organised a two-day workshop for about 30 government officials and green group representatives on 19-20 November to introduce to them these new technologies.

Researchers also shared at the workshop some of MERIT's research findings relevant to environmental and resources management in Hong Kong, with a view to providing useful information for devising cost-effective environmental solutions and formulating policies.

Professor (Chair) Rudolf Wu Shiu-sun from the Department of Biology and Chemistry at CityU and Director of MERIT, said the centre had made concrete progress in advancing technologies to help conserve the marine environment in Hong Kong, the mainland and the region, demonstrating the application value of their research.

He said marine pollution was a pressing world-wide problem that posed a major threat to Hong Kong and the mainland, as one-third of our gross

domestic product came from the utilisation of coastal resources.

"We hope to make use of our research to benefit the community by sharing our expertise with the Government and other relevant organisations, transferring to them the technologies we have developed, and providing vital management information for policy formulation," Professor Wu said.

He added that the work of MERIT had also attracted international attention, with the United Nations recognising it as the "Regional Centre of Excellence" in marine pollution issues in 2006.

MERIT is one of the eight "Areas of Excellence" selected by the University Grants Committee (UGC) in 2004 and is the only one related to environmental research. It is led by CityU in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The centre has been given funding of $45 million by UGC's Area of Excellence scheme to develop innovative chemical, biological and engineering technologies for monitoring, assessing and controlling the effects of human activities on the marine environment.

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