No shortage of ways to clean up our air, just a lack of official willingness to do so

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 January, 2012, 12:00am


It comes as no surprise that the government has failed to improve the quality of our air. This can only be because of an unwillingness to deal with the problem, since there are so many steps that could be taken.

For example, the administration could phase out all pre-Euro III commercial vehicles and raise speed limits wherever possible: cars operate more efficiently at higher speeds. It could improve the appalling quality of our roads (to increase speeds) and permit private cars to be converted to liquefied petroleum gas. To support this, it would have to build more LPG stations. The latest-generation diesel cars should be permitted, and cars should be taxed according to emissions rather than engine size.

Congestion could be reduced by making all cross-harbour tunnels toll-free one way and equalising tolls the other way, to encourage drivers to use the shortest route rather than the cheapest. The availability of roadside parking should be increased where space permits, to shorten travelling time. Our power generators should be required to fit scrubbers to their plants at taxpayers' expense (which would prevent the companies from resisting the change on grounds of cost and from charging for it under the schemes of control). Finally, the use of bunker fuel by ships in Hong Kong waters should be banned.

I am no expert, and there may be issues with some of these ideas, but I cannot believe none are valid. This list took me less than five minutes to think up. Why hasn't anyone in government addressed any of these issues? It cannot be the expense that deters it, since it has tens of billions of dollars to waste on a bridge, nor can it be lack of legislative time, since it can introduce legislation at very short notice to avoid unwanted by-elections.

Ian Hardee, Central