|Pollution from across the border?|
|Written by Pieter-Paul Walraven|
|Saturday, 12 May 2007|
Hong Kong has a steadily growing problem with its air. Every year thousands of complaints are made to the Environment Protection Department about polluted air and bad visibilty caused by smog. Several studies have shown that there are two main causes for the air pollution in Hong Kong:
- Mainland China factory emissions
- Local sources (ships, road traffic and coal factories)
Although there is great uncertainty about which of the two is the main cause for the hazy bad visibility days I will mainly discuss the cross-border air pollution. In this article I am trying to show the effect of the pollution on visibility and discuss what efforts are being made concerning solving the cross-border pollution caused by the factories based in the Pearl River Delta (Mainland China).
Seeing a differenceTo start I will show some pictures that make clear what the effect of air pollution can be on visibility in Hong Kong. The pictures on the left where taken on one of the clearest day of the two past months according to the Air Pollution Index (API). The pictures on the right side were made to make clear what the actual effect of air pollution can be on visibility.
As you can see very clearly there is a big difference in hazyness between the two sets of images. The images on the left were taken on a day that started with a strong wind in the morning. This had a great effect on the smog and overal amount of air pollution on that day. Especially when looking at the horizon there is a significant difference in clearness. Emissions regularly tend to float south from mainland China and eventualy get stuck around the ‘valey’ in which Hong Kong is located. This did not happen on this particular day while the wind might also have had an effect on the emissions of the local air polluting sources such as cars, busses and ships. Even without the comparison with a clear day the images on the right show that the visibility on a ‘regular’ day in Hong Kong are quite poor as a result of air pollution.
Solving this issue
The images indicate that there is a problem concerning air pollution in Hong Kong but what can be done to solve this problem? Besides the local policies that are introduced to fight air polution a more complicated problem will be solving the issue of cross border air polution. Cooperating with the Pearl River Delta and implementing joint strategies are essential and will present a great challenge in this matter.
What has happened concerning this cooperation and the joint plans in this case? There are several initiatives from both Mainland China and Hong Kong sides on a co-operation to tackle the cross border pollution problem. The level of co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong has dramatically increased since the two regions first discussed the issue in the 1980s.
A recent development in this case is the plan of setting up a pollution warning system. This system will be set up by the Guangdong Environmental Protection Department to be able to warn and protect the people living in Guangdong and eventually decrease the amount of air pollution.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 12 May 2007 )|
|Customs and Cultures|
|Buildings & Monuments|
|Politics & Government|
|Hong Kong's Identity|
|Arts & Culture|