The Hong Kong Government seems to be downplaying or misinformed about the health impacts of our air pollution, Chief Executive Donald Tsang has even said: “It is a question of visibility.”
We worry (rightly) about the shocking air pollution in Hong Kong today, but people have been critical of poor air quality for centuries.
In 1661, John Evelyn wrote (about London, but it could apply to Hong Kong today):
I saw a recent item in the South China Morning Post, saying that even though June 2008 was the wettest month on record for Hong Kong, pollution levels were still high; said to have surprised experts.
Environmental protection officials in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and neighboring Guangdong Province said on Monday they are confident of achieving their targets to reduce air pollution by 55 percent from 1997 levels within the next three years.
Airborne particulates have been in the news in Hong Kong again, as the air is so thick with them that even clear skies are whitish rather than blue (hah! - so much for the government's Action Blue Sky Campaign - launched w fanfare; seems to have vanished amidst the smog); and HK Chief Executive Donald Tsang expressed the view that while they do impact visibility, the particulates may not affect human health!
It's not new in Hong Kong that vehicles emit particulates, factories and power stations pump out noxious fumes. So what happens? Not much really; plenty of hand-wringing, sorry comments from officials that there isn't much we can do.