Hong Kong air pollution


PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 May, 2015, 3:07pm

Airlines are trying to clean up their act

Jake van der Kamp's Monitor column, 'Iata chief's green talk can only raise false hopes' (September 27), ignores the fact that the aviation industry has made great strides in limiting its environmental impact and has enormous potential for continued technological advancement.

Led by the International Air Transport Association, the industry has set itself a goal of zero emissions for commercial aviation.

Whilst we do not have all the technological answers yet, these will be found. Only 17 years passed between Orville Wright's flight in 1902 and the first daily passenger flights from London to Paris in 1919.

Furthermore, the industry's more recent track record is extremely impressive. Over the past 10 years, fleet renewal and infrastructure/operational progress have improved aircraft fuel efficiency by 20 per cent and new technology and aircraft coming on stream will lead to at least a further 25 per cent improvement overall by 2020.

In fact, three quarters of the aircraft that will fly in 2025 have not yet been built.

In order to move towards its aspirational future goal, the industry is taking steps today, researching alternative fuels to reduce CO{-2} output and decreasing the weight of planes and saving fuel. It is developing new operational procedures on the ground and airports are doing what they can to reduce their footprint on the environment in many and varied ways.

None of these measures are headline grabbers, but they show the industry's steady commitment to meet the challenge of climate change and a collective will to succeed. The important point is that we can grow, but we want to ensure that we grow responsibly.

Our long-term vision is not something that can be achieved overnight.

It will be a culmination of many initiatives and commitments made across the aviation industry. Thanks to this collective will, such a future is a distinct possibility.

Bill Glover, managing director, environmental strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

At-risk species need our help

I refer to the letter from Joseph Sham, of the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, 'Same goal' (September 29).

The letter completely sidesteps the issues raised by previous correspondents. The current efforts by government are woefully inadequate and fail to provide any reassurance that stronger measures will be introduced within the next decade.

The time for real action is now. Our one marine reserve is tiny, while the marine parks are failing to allow heavily depleted fish populations to recover. While the department procrastinates, species like the Chinese bahaba and one nesting population of green turtles in Hong Kong and others are close to extinction.

The Chinese bahaba is a highly valued food fish that used to spawn in huge numbers in the Pearl River Estuary, but very few are now caught each year, if any.

Yet the department has taken no measures whatsoever to protect the species. If the department is unwilling to take action to stop large valuable marine species going extinct, what hope is there for our lesser known marine biodiversity? Our children deserve so much better than this.

Eric Bohm, chief executive, WWF Hong Kong

New law could curb the idlers

The reply from the commissioner of police ('Police willing to take action', October 4) to Gareth Jones ('Idling engines add to pollution', September 18) misses the point.

Choi Wong Fung-yee states that 'Waiting [in certain areas] is allowed provided that the vehicle does not cause an obstruction.' The key is that, as the law currently stands, it is not illegal to leave your vehicle's engine idling while waiting which means many vehicles are indiscriminately spewing out noxious fumes that add to Hong Kong's pollution problem.

Perhaps the commissioner of police could tell us why the law still allows for idling engines? As we have proved with Clear the Air's idling engine street patrols, most drivers are willing to switch off idling engines when reminded.

We have also found a significant number of vehicles that are idling, are also breaking a traffic law such as vacating the vehicle to deliver products, double parking (thus blocking traffic) or parking illegally.

Therefore the police should be more vigilant in regards to idling engines. We need a no-idling engine fixed penalty law enforced by the police to keep our streets safe and our air clean.

Amy Ng, Clear the Air

More open space provided

I refer to the article, 'Cramping our style' (September 27).

Of the 32 projects started since the Urban Renewal Authority was formed in 2001, a total of around 19,000 square meters of open space at ground level will be provided for public enjoyment. This translates to around 15.5 per cent of the total project site area. This is considered a more meaningful measure than comparing it against the total gross floor area of the residential/commercial space provided by the projects.

This new open space represents a net increase of around 16,000 square metres and includes around 3,000 square metres of existing open space, mainly in our Kwun Tong scheme, which will be modernised and upgraded to match the new open space.

In addition, the authority plans to provide more than 20,000 square metres of publicly accessible open space at the various podium levels within our Kwun Tong project, and around 600 square metres in our Graham Street/Peel Street project, taking advantage of the sloping nature of these two projects.

Similar opportunities are being studied for other projects as the opportunity arises.

Iris Tam, executive director,

Urban Renewal Authority

We cannot ignore abuse

I agree with Martina Ngai that the government and society must face squarely the problems of child abuse and other forms of domestic violence ('We must act', October 4).

Families facing financial difficulties are under unbearable pressure and it is very easy for quarrels to break out.

The government should be trying to help these problem families with financial subsidies and setting a statutory minimum salary and maximum working hours, so parents can spend more time with their children.

Social workers have to keep a close watch on these problem families, and offer them counselling. Courses should also be held so that children and parents learn how to deal with their emotions and prevent things getting out of control in a family.

They have to learn to control their emotions.

Tracy Lai, Kwun Tong

Free laptops

Instead of waiving fees for our children who are living with constant stress and fear under our suicidal exam-oriented education system, the government should give every student a laptop and drag them into the green revolution of no textbooks, no paper, no ink and no rote learning.

This will help our children to play a vital part in the fight against pollution.

Nalini Daswani, Tsim Sha Tsui