Drivers ignoring idling engine ban a huge problem in HK

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 June, 2015, 4:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 June, 2015, 4:23pm

All drivers in Hong Kong, whether it is trucks, taxis, private cars, buses or minibuses, have one thing in common. They leave their engines on while stationary.

Sometimes they are not even in the vehicle. They eat their lunch and sleep with the engine idling, sometimes for hours. Pedestrians pass by, seemingly unaware that this is a huge problem.

It seems they do not care that the law banning idling engines is being routinely flouted and I find this very frustrating.

I am not sure if Hongkongers have been educated about the environment. Everything you do has an impact and leaving the engine on is bad for the environment and for people's health.

There is clearly a lack of education in local schools. Students in Hong Kong may excel in maths, but know little about environmental issues.

We have an obligation to educate the next generation about the impact we have on the place we call home.

Sadly, many adults don't care about being eco-friendly either. Their priority is to make money. Hongkongers are wasteful, and take precious resources for granted - electricity 24/7, running water and the assumption that someone will always pick up their trash.

When I see an idling motor vehicle, no matter who and where, I politely ask the driver to turn off the engine. If they don't I stay and look at them until it's done. If they still don't I take a photo of their registration number plate and call the police.

Sometimes when there is no one in the vehicle, I turn off the engine and place the keys on the seat.

People get upset sometimes, and I don't know if they understand the problem. I don't want to call them stupid, but what other word can I use? Why don't they understand?

I know Hong Kong can be very warm in the summer but just get out of the vehicle and find some shade or go indoors.

The Environmental Protection Department has done a useless job enforcing the law. Between December 2011, when the idling engine ban came into effect, and November 2013, only 86 fixed penalty notices were issued.

I see 20 vehicles with idling engines in just five minutes every day in just a small part of Kwun Tong.

If we all supported this ban, we could have a cleaner and healthier Hong Kong.

Linda Karlsson, Clear Water Bay