So, three months since the Hong Kong Government launched the Action Blue Sky Campaign, the autumn skies are whiter and greyer than I can ever remember – and this even when there are few or no clouds in the sky.
Now have Donald Tsang pretty much giving up on achieving cleaner air in foreseeable future, and blathering about pollution as if it’s cosmetic issue rather than public health crisis.
Media articles continue, inc in Taipei Times:
While environmental, tourism and business lobbies urge the government to take action to restore Hong Kong’s formerly clear skies, Chief Executive Donald Tsang (æ›¾è”æ¬Š) told local radio that the pall of pollution hanging over the city is a crisis of visibility rather than of public health.
In comments on the radio and during a major speech to businessmen, Tsang stressed the problems of murky skies caused by rising smog rather than evidence that emissions are causing severe health problems.
“Why do people feel that they don’t see, that the air is poorer? It is a question of visibility,” Tsang told a phone-in program on local RTHK radio over the weekend.
“Is the air right? Not so,” he said. “Small particulates, which [are] coming from the mainland [China] may not affect us or [what] we breathe, but it affects our feeling that the air is not as good as before,” he said.
Later, in a speech to the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, he reiterated his position by trying to separate the issue of visibility from air quality.
“Visibility, of course, is a question of degree. We are talking about small particulates. Do not equate visibility directly with just very bad air. We are doing our best. Visibility is important. What about blue skies? Blue skies implies visibility and for that reason that certainly is my priority,” he said.
Pollution has become a hot political issue in Hong Kong as smog levels have risen to often dangerous levels. Poor air quality cut visibility to less than 1km on more than 50 days last year.
More worrying, however, is evidence from the medical community that pollution-related illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma are claiming lives in ever greater numbers.
The key tourism industry is also complaining about the problem, with a tour guides association saying 10 percent of customers had gone down with smog-related illnesses while holidaying there.