Hong Kong air pollution

Survey finds public backing for action on idling engines

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 May, 2015, 3:07pm

Most people support suggestions that the government should legislate to ban idling engines, a poll has found.

The New Forum survey polled 1,330 people aged between 15 and 70 last month, seeking their views on air pollution in Hong Kong.

Four out of five respondents in the political group's poll said air quality was bad or very bad. More than half - 55.8 per cent - said they had stayed indoors or shortened their time outdoors because of the pollution.

More than 40 per cent believed that Hong Kong's roadside pollution was caused mainly by vehicle emissions.

When asked how many drivers would switch their engines off while waiting, 35.6 per cent of respondents said hardly any drivers would, 31.5 per cent said very few drivers would and 24.1 per cent said some drivers would.

The survey found more than two-thirds of respondents - 68.6 per cent - felt the government should legislate to ban idling engines. Of the 221 drivers in the survey, 68.8 per cent agreed.

District councillor and New Forum board member Dominic Chan Choi-hi said the high percentage of drivers supporting legislation could be because they spent more time on the road and had a better picture of how common the practice was.

Mr Chan believed the government should forge ahead with legislation to prohibit idling engines as soon as possible.

'In his policy address, [Donald] Tsang [Yam-kuen] said he would conduct a public consultation on the subject. But public opinion and the [survey] response clearly show that there is already a consensus.

'Further consultation would just be a waste of time. Instead, the subject should be presented to the Legislative Council for discussion as soon as possible.'

The group also suggested implementing a 'car-free day' once a month to encourage people to use public transport. More than three out of five people - 60.9 per cent - would support a car-free day, the poll found. Of the 221 drivers polled, 61.1 per cent agreed.

Mr Chan said a petition was handed to the chief executive last Tuesday urging him to consider the idea and Mr Tsang had replied that the information had been forwarded to the relevant bureau for consideration.

No margin of error for the poll was provided.