Donald Tsang leaves HK as filthiest financial centre

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    Bloomberg article notes Hong Kong sets a few records, but now – after being run by Donald Tsang – also ranks as the most polluted international financial center.. From article:

    the air-quality meter in the Central business district has registered an average roadside pollution level of “high” or “very high” every day bar one this year. In 1999, 66 percent of days were at those levels. By 2010 and 2011, it was more than 90 percent.

    Hong Kong’s average reading of particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers — about 1/7th the width of a human hair — or less in 2009 was 50 micrograms per cubic meter, according to a WHO survey of 1,100 cities. While that was less than half Beijing’s, it compares with 29 in Singapore and London, 23 in Tokyo and 21 in New York. The WHO guideline is 20.

    The government says pollution trends are down, with a one- third drop in particulates since 1999. Nitrous oxide is 28 percent lower and sulphur dioxide has fallen 56 percent, government data show. Still, Nitrogen dioxide is up 24 percent, ozone 21 percent, and those pollutants that had dropped are either up or little changed since 2009.

    The city’s observatory recorded 750 hours of reduced visibility that wasn’t caused by fog, cloud or rain in 1999; that rose to 1,399 hours last year.

    The laissez faire ideology of “big market, small government” that underpins policy in the city has enabled industries such as financial services and real estate development to flourish, generating taxes that endowed the government with a HK$595 billion pot of savings. It has also created the most unequal society in Asia,

    “These delays in policy are accountable in terms of illnesses, damage to quality of life, [Professor Tony] Hedley said. ‘‘We’ve got cohorts of children that have been exposed to the most intensive levels of exposure to very toxic air pollutants for quite a long time.’’

    Hong Kong as Dirtiest Global Financial Center Is Tsang’s Legacy




    SCM Post lai see today remarks on obscene air pollution, noting env secretary Edward Yau did nothing about this under Donald Tsang [and as Tsang departed, Yau was shifted too]:

    Yau's awful legacy

    The high roadside pollution levels yesterday are a further reminder of the legacy of former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and secretary for the environment Edward Yau Tang-wah. Despite mounting evidence that roadside pollution was getting worse in Hong Kong, they did next to nothing about it.

    The Hedley Environmental Index, which relates Hong Kong's roadside pollution to World Health Organisation standards, moved beyond the "very dangerous" level yesterday and went off the scale.

    Tsang tried to make out that Hong Kong's dirty air was only a problem for expatriates. Yau for his part would talk glibly about the need to "balance" public health with economic development. Even when he was shamed into setting a date for the introduction of new air quality objectives, he disingenuously claimed that the legislative process meant they couldn't be introduced before 2014, when in fact he had the authority to do it almost immediately. His is an awful legacy. But he has nevertheless been rewarded with another stint in government as the Director of Office of the Chief Executive. Membership of the government/civil service club seems to entail a job for life regardless of performance.

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