All to blame for foul air

The air pollution problem in Hong Kong is growing as a public concern. No doubt we can point to China as a source of much of the problem. However, the only way to explain the highest Air Pollution Index numbers in recent weeks is by pointing the finger at ourselves.

Causeway Bay is densely populated with tall buildings, narrow streets, thousands of diesel vehicles and tens of thousands of pedestrians. Every day many of those pedestrians suffer the deadly health effects of breathing gritty, putrid air. The youngest, oldest and poorest are most at risk.

It is clear from the fact that Causeway Bay consistently has the highest air pollution ratings, and, from the observation that Central's air improves after Sunday traffic closures, that traffic is the cause. Therefore, everyone who travels by car, bus, minibus, or taxi can consider themselves partly responsible for creating this disastrous air quality.

Secretary for Transport, Nicholas Ng Wing-fui, and Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Gordon Siu Kwing-chue, as the officials ultimately responsible, I urge you to take rapid action.

Some suggested remedies that would have immediate effect are: ban vehicles from using certain roads in Causeway Bay on Saturday afternoons and Sundays; begin using dynamometers to test all diesel vehicles for smoke emissions; enforce the fixed penalty fines for smoky vehicles; reinstate legislation against idling vehicles.

The pedestrians of Hong Kong can no longer afford your inaction.