Shenzhen and Hong Kong show how intercity alliances can tackle pollution
Michelle Wong highlights how Shenzhen and Hong Kong are working together in an effort to reduce ship emissions, one of the nagging sources of poor air quality in the Greater Bay Area
Is controlling air quality even possible? This is a valid question in the context of linked cities that can potentially give rise to more urban economic hubs in the region. Yet, this is a question Hong Kong has long answered with a rather optimistic “yes”.
Let’s take a look at what Hong Kong has been doing so far to address the problem. Over the years, the government has looked at the amount of ambient concentrations in the air to gauge its air control solutions, extending financial support to curb emission sources on both land and at sea.
Fortunately, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Office for Marine Emissions and Control, led by China’s Maritime Safety Administration of the Ministry of Transport, has come to the rescue to complement Hong Kong’s efforts against ship emissions across the region.
Here’s an instance of neighbours working together to keep the larger community safe and the air breathable.
The office for marine emissions and control is a major step towards acknowledging that Hong Kong’s air quality is vulnerable to the impact of the Greater Bay Area development plan, as Hong Kong shares a common air shed with the delta and the wider Guangdong region.
While there is more work to do, the shared road map on “ecological civilisation” may provide the momentum to inspire continuous collaboration and accelerate air clean-up in the region. The Greater Bay Area will not only present opportunities for economic growth, but is an important test bed and role model of sustainability collaboration for China and the rest of the world.
Imagine where such unified efforts can lead. We shouldn’t miss this golden opportunity to use the Greater Bay Area example to influence policy and improve the globally connected air we breathe.
Michelle Wong is a research associate in the Institute for the Environment at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology