• Sat
  • Oct 25, 2014
  • Updated: 7:39pm
NewsHong Kong

Report finds city's air is getting dirtier each year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 January, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 January, 2014, 4:12am

Air quality deteriorated last year, with overall levels of nitrogen dioxide, prevalent at roadsides, hitting the second-worst level recorded in the city's history, a concern group report has found.

The figures once again prove roadside emissions from local vehicles could contribute more to bad air than external pollution from widely blamed sources such as coal-fired plants in the Pearl River Delta.

Overall levels of average nitrogen dioxide concentrations recorded at the city's three roadside monitoring stations hit 121 micrograms per cubic metre in 2013, up from 119 in 2012 and the record 123 in 2011, according to the Clean Air Network (HKCAN). Since 2006, overall roadside nitrogen dioxide emissions rose about 24 per cent.

And last year's spike in nitrogen dioxide concentrations was largely driven by readings at the roadside station in Central, which hit a record high of 126 micrograms per cubic metre, the report found. The other two roadside stations - Causeway Bay and Mong Kok - recorded equally alarming figures of 121 and 116, respectively.

Both the World Health Organisation and the city's new Air Quality Health Objectives stipulate 40 micrograms per cubic metre as the acceptable level of average nitrogen dioxide concentration each year.

The three roadside monitoring stations also exceeded WHO levels of particulate matters (PM10) and fine particulate matters (PM2.5) - tiny specks of pollutants small enough to penetrate the lungs and cause cancer. Monitoring stations at Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan recorded the highest level of sulphur dioxide among all stations.

HKCAN chief executive Kwong Sum-yin urged the government to highlight the link between traffic issues and pollution in the upcoming policy address and to "look into the problem from a comprehensive transport management perspective".

"It's time for the Transport and Housing Bureau to act," Kwong said. She recommended regular progress reports on the HK$11.4 billion initiative to replace old commercial diesel vehicles, which was approved by the Legislative Council financial committee yesterday.



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This article is now closed to comments

So there we have the proof. "Since 2006, overall roadside nitrogen dioxide emissions rose about 24 per cent."
This has nothing to do with old "dirty" diesel bus and goods vehicle engines because the number of these vehicles on the road have actually diminished during the past seven years ( as they were progressively scrapped).
The sole cause is the administration's failure to curtail private car and van growth, resulting in almost gridlocked traffic congestion on down-town roads. Petrol engines, notwithstanding that they have catalytic converters, emit in many case even higher percentages nitrous dioxide than diesel engines.
'captam' has been saying this for years to deaf ears :The cars have to go!
actually retrofitting the soot traps to the buses caused increased NOx emissions since they did not also fit the NOx filters called selective catalytic reduction devices
the LNG taxis + minibuses are never maintained hence are another major source of NOx
happy reading Captam:
Nathan Rd, Causeway Bay , Kings Rd, Central thoroughfares should be designated Clean Air Zones
Only Commercial hybrid or diesel vehicles + non franchised buses Euro 4 & above allowed into the Clean Air Zones
Only hybrid shuttle buses allowed within the Clean Air Zones
Other franchised bus routes to terminate outside these CAZ areas + transfer to a shuttle at no extra Octopus cost
LNG Taxis + minibuses to be inspected every 6 months to obtain a permit to enter Clean Air Zones
(gee, that means they will actually have to be maintained by their owners instead of just rented out 24/7) after all a taxi licence costs 8 million bucks now so what's the maintenance + test fee
Introduce hybrid taxis that do not need to recharge every 100 kms since they have onboard charging (+ boot space)
Government has ignored this issue since well before 1997. Why is it sitting on huge reserves and not spending some on removing the old vehicles from the road which belch out black fumes - a small step but at least do something tangible! Another Government Bureau which merits a big 'F' grade.
if we banned all traffic for a day, shut down the power plants & construction our air would still be dirty & depending on wind direction
We are hemmed in on three sides by Ocean Going Vessels which are our major pollution source
Shenzhen port to our NW handled more containers (24m) than HKG port (23m) in 2012 & Yantian port to our NE handled over 10m containers. Meanwhile other vessels trudge onwards to Shanghai the world's busiest port all of them burning nigh 3% sulphur content treacle slop bunker fuel. Local road + construction diesel is just 0.001 parts per million sulphur.
Just one of the latest container supercarriers emits as many sulphur SOx, NOx + PM1/PM2.5/PM10 respirable suspended particulate pollutants as 50 million cars
The vessels already carry dual tanks so they can enter ECAs in the Americas, North Sea & Baltic.
There is no law to make them use the lo-sulphur diesel they already carry here.
Thankyou Edward Yau. Why does he still have a Govt job ?
We need a mandatory Emissions Control Area (ECA)
In USA & Canada the ECA is 200 nautical miles from the coast.
Our location is exacerbated by the overbuilding allowed by previous administrations creating Urban Canyons blocking wind flow hence no dispersion of the pollutants.


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