Poor air quality at cycle track

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 November, 1998, 12:00am

I am a cyclist and often use the Tolo Harbour bicycle track to travel between Sha Tin and Tai Po.

I am concerned about the health risk facing cyclists on this track, because when I cycle to Tai Po, on my left is a busy highway and on my right an area under reclamation.

The air quality, especially at that point on the track near Pak Shek Kok is deteriorating. Cyclists cannot escape from the exhaust emissions coming from the many vehicles using the adjacent Tolo Highway.

The reclamation activity generates a lot of dust, especially with dump trucks unloading a lot of reclamation material.

When cycling tracks are being planned, a buffer zone should be created which ensures that the distance between a main road and a recreational area is no less than 10 metres. This is the only cycle track connecting Tai Po to Sha Tin and so it is very popular, especially on weekday mornings and holidays. I hope the health of cyclists will not be adversely affected by the poor air quality.

I have the following questions for government officials: Does the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) monitor air quality in Pak Shek Kok? What mitigation measures will the relevant government department provide to protect cyclists from the effects of the Pak Shek Kok reclamation work? Does the EPD publish Air Pollution Index readings taken at or near Tolo Highway, so that cyclists can find out the level of air quality on any particular day before they set out on the track? If the air quality is not acceptable, what mitigation measures will the EPD implement? Could the bicycle track be re-positioned further away from the highway as part of the Tolo Highway widening project? I look forward to hearing from the EPD, through these columns.

LO SHEUNG HUNG New Territories