8th March, 2007
With news that storms caused by smog from Asian cities over the Pacific Ocean will melt Artic ice, Christine Loh, the CEO of Civic Exchange, looks at Hong Kong, where worsening air pollution causes on average four deaths a day.
Hong Kong’s worsening air quality has become an increasingly hot topic in the global press. Photographs of thick, grey smog have appeared on the front of news magazines, and Hong Kong’s desirability as a home for international executives has been thrown into question – news which came as a nasty shock to the city authorities. Recent polls show that air quality is a top concern among city residents; and last year Merill Lynch, the investment bank, warned that air quality in Hong Kong is now so poor that the city's long-term competitiveness is under threat. Skilled professionals were already departing Hong Kong because of the heavy pollution, the bank said, and more will surely follow.
So, just how bad is Hong Kong’s air?
Street-level air quality regularly falls short of the government’s Air Quality Objectives (AQOs), and even further short of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines. For example, on 19 and 20 November 2006, roadside levels of respirable suspended particulates (
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