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Climate Change

Guangzhou scheme restricting private cars could be adopted in HK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:15pm

As Hong Kong is an international finance hub, it attracts a lot of investors and other professionals.

While many are happy to live here, often for a long time, some are expressing misgivings regarding the levels of pollution in the city. This is a problem that all Hongkongers should be concerned about.

I agree with those who argue that the government must act swiftly to deal with this problem.

If action is not taken to clean up our air, then our economy will be adversely affected.

It is not only investors and companies that will be put off coming here. We are heavily dependent on the tourist industry. If there is no improvement in the state of our air, this sector will be adversely affected as fewer visitors choose the city and opt for other destinations.

There are short- and long-term measures that can be adopted by the government.

In the short term, it could follow the example set by the Guangzhou authorities.

In order to reduce air pollution in advance of the 16th Asian Games, which the city hosted in 2010, the authorities introduced a parallel transport management system.

On designated odd-number days, private cars with odd-numbered registration plates could use the road, but not on other days.

This scheme resulted in fewer cars on the roads every day during the Games. This led to reduced levels of emissions and more efficient public traffic management for the authorities.

I believe the Hong Kong government could study what was done in Guangzhou and adopt a similar policy.

In addition, I would like to see a pollution permit scheme introduced for factories so that they would have to pay a higher price for generating greenhouse gases. This would encourage these companies to reduce emissions.

In the long term, education is the key. The most important thing is to educate the younger generation so that they become conscious of the threat posed to our environment and are willing to embrace green policies. Hopefully, they can also be encouraged, as individuals, to try to be more environmentally friendly in their daily lives.

We all have a responsibility as global citizens to protect the planet, and the new SAR government must recognise the importance of introducing measures as soon as possible.

Wong Ka-ming, Sha Tin