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Hong Kong air pollution

Summer in Hong Kong: the season of idling engines

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 10:17am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 10:17am

Once again summer is here and idling engines are the norm in Hong Kong. I do my best to remind drivers to turn off their engines, and have recently taken to informing the Environmental Protection Department on 28383111 of the occurrences.

I dial the number and an officer takes down the make and registration of the vehicle. He says he will proceed to the street when a department vehicle becomes available. He also asks for my number in return, so he can give me a follow-up on the occurrence at a later date. 

Generally, by the time the officer turns up, sometimes 20 minutes or so later, the offending vehicle has moved on. Often, if the vehicle is present, the environmental officer gives the driver a pamphlet outlining the severity of toxins in their exhausts.

There is no incentive for the chauffeurs, the worst offenders, to turn off their polluting machines

At this stage, the driver promptly turns off the engine or simply moves on to another location – out of the prying eyes of the officers.

I do believe this system is flawed. There is no incentive for the chauffeurs, the worst offenders, to turn off their polluting machines.

May I suggest a system where “Joe public” can take a photo on his phone of the offending vehicle, complete with location, date and time, and send that information to the department for action and fines. This would save the officers time and the government money. The same could be done for illegally parked vehicles.

I sincerely urge the government to take a more positive approach to this selfish attitude by drivers, to give the public cleaner roadside air.

Jan Bochenski, Mid-Levels