Government spin doctors and ditherers re air quality standards won’t be chuffed by yet another report in international media about our dire and dangerous air. Latest from AFP, includes:
Combined with the city’s home-grown pollution, scientists and business leaders say it presents a serious economic risk to the financial hub, both for its ability to attract and retain talent and the associated health costs.
When Teena Goulet moved to Hong Kong in 1995 she thought she would never leave but five years after moving here, the keen outdoorswoman developed a chronic cough.
"I would have retired there," said Goulet, speaking by phone from her new home in California. "But when you cannot breath, it kind of tells you what to do."
A recent study commissioned by think tank Civic Exchange said one in five residents were considering leaving Hong Kong because of its dire air. Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed, 97 percent were local Chinese.
Michael DeGolyer, a political science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University who did the study, said the mood was such that one "tipping point" could provoke an exodus, particularly among managers and administrators.
[Prof Anthony] Hedley, who is leaving Hong Kong after 21 years here partly over worries about the air — he was diagnosed with adult onset asthma in his 60s — said the government must wake up to the time bomb.
"(The question for the government is) how many premature deaths are you prepared to accept?" said Hedley.
Any tougher regulations are likely to face opposition from sections of the local business community, which operates around 55,000 factories in Guangdong.
Goulet, who is now planning a move to Japan, said such intransigence was short-sighted: "Hong Kong is choking on its own greed."