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POLLUTION IN HK- Have you had enough??!!

  1. #17
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Discovery Bay, Hong Kong
    I just want to add that the peition is not a criticism of HK- the petition has arisen from our love for Hong Kong and a worry that the city we all know and love is under threat from its polluted skies!

  2. #18
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Discovery Bay, Hong Kong
    So have written something, but feeling a little nervous about posting it on here...pleas be gentle and kind with the criticism! Am happy to change it in anyway, or to completely rewrite if someone would like to do that!

    An Open Letter to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, President of the People’s Republic of China

    It is no secret that Hong Kong air pollution has worsened in recent years. There have been too many days this year when our city has been shrouded in the haze of a polluted sky. And there have been many polluted days when many of us had made the decision to keep our babies and children inside, rather than expose them to the pollution.

    Our concern is not just that we are unable to take our children out to play but that the current and future health of our children is under constant threat from the polluted air.

    A large number of has have lived in Hong Kong for many years and call the city home. Worryingly we have seen the air quality worsen considerably in recent years and we are constantly asking ourselves- how bad is it going to be in two years time, in five years time, in ten years time? For many of us Hong Kong is home and we have nowhere else to go should we decide we can not bear the pollution anymore, which it is why, we feel, it is imperative that the government acts, and acts now!

    Others of us will call Hong Kong for a much shorter time, and many of us are already considering a move back to cities and countries where the air is clean or at least cleaner due to the worsening air pollution. For many of us our expat packages do not compensate for the worsening air, and its potential and actual impact on our children’s health. If we go, we take with us the expert knowledge and skills we were recruited for in the first place and with it goes Hong Kong’s competitive edge and ‘international city’ status.

    We are each trying to do our bit to lessen the impact of our own carbon footprints but we are also aware that this is a much bigger issue than we can deal with alone.

    We are asking you, the government, to take decisive action in tacking Hong Kong’s worsening air quality. We make the plea not for ourselves but for our children- wouldn’t it be nice if the children who will one day run this city are able to grow up as children should grow up- happy and healthy without constant trips to the Doctors and hospitals; without the long term health effects the pollution brings.

    There are countless statistics detailing the effects of Hong Kong’s air pollution on our city. Here are just a few,

    "Pollution is a major cause of illness in Hong Kong. Every year, pollution is the cause of around 1,600 deaths (four per day), 64,200 hospital admissions (176 per day) and 6,811,960 doctor visits (18,600 per day). These serious health effects result in annual community losses of over HK$2 billion (around US$255 million) in direct health care costs and productivity losses, and HK$19 billion (around US$2.5 billion) in further costs arising from pain, suffering and personal loss."

    We would like to know what it will take before the government will take action. Do people have to be dying from pollution related illnesses? But wait, they are already doing that. Do are children have to be suffering from pollution related illnesses? But wait, that is already happening. Does our pollution have to be forcing people to leave Hong Kong and preventing others from settling here? But wait, that is also already happening.

    So what now? If the government is having a difficult time coming up with ways to combat the pollution, we have a few solutions for them,
    - No car days, as is currently practiced in Manila and Naples as two examples
    - A road tax, similar to that introduced in London which forces drivers wishing to enter the city centre with their cars to pay a high toll
    - Working with Hong Kong owned factories in China to find ways for them to reduce the pollution they create, whether this means encouraging them to run less days a week, or to implement tested pollution reducing methods
    - Making it more expensive to own and run a car in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a public transport system that is the envy of cities around the world- it is cheap, convenient, reliable and fast. Hong Kong as a city does not need the number of car owners and drivers it currently has.
    - Banning completely, or at least charging for plastic bags.
    - Introducing the mandatory separation of waste at source into recyclables, biodegradable rubbish and rubbish.

    We realize that the government is tacking several items on our list, but it is our belief that the issue is not being dealt with as urgently as it should. More needs to be done and faster.

    Concerned Mothers of Hong Kong.

  3. #19
    spockey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Thanks for the effort beckyboo. It's hard for us to get together to sign our names to a letter. Could you organise an online petition? I've recently signed one which I think you can print to attach to your letter once everyone who's onboard "signs".

  4. #20
    woodk6 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Hong Kong
    I take it most of you saw the front page of the SCMP today. STAY INDOORS TODAY!!!

    Beckyboo thanks very much for writing this. I'm wondering if you might need to add that those stats came from But here's some more interesting info

    I'm running out the door but will have a better think about the letter later today.

  5. #21
    Neha is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mid Levels, Hong Kong
    Sounds fine and it is great start

  6. #22
    snagito is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Well done for writing this! I'd be happy to sign it too. Thank you.

  7. #23
    chubbysan is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Eastern HK Island
    can someone help me with this. i was reading the link post by woodk6, and was surprised to find out that "80 per cent of our air pollution comes from the delta" is a misconception: that is not the pollution we breathe. rather about "50 per cent of the air pollution you breathe while walking, shopping or living next to a typical Hong Kong city street comes from the traffic right in front of you - mostly from diesel trucks and buses."

    All along i thought that the main culprit is across the border cos there are times when you can feel the air in hk is so much fresher and better with the change in wind direction. for eg, like during summer period, the air quality is better.

    So if the traffic pollution is reduced in hk, which mean the pollution will be reduced tremendously and we wont have the haze that we are seeing now???

    Thanks for clarifying!!

  8. #24
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bekybook44, I thought you did a great job. You have taken into account how the different members of this site feel, with their different statuses here, ex-pat, local, foreigner now calling HK home.

    One thing, I'd make it shorter. I'd take out the things they can do. They know what they can do and they've already had quite a few think thanks on the situation that say all that and more.

    I would also say that the letter is being written not just for the sake of our children but for our health and the health of all people living in HK. We aren't martyrs and we don't need to be. We have a right to breathe air that will not harm our health.

    Perhaps we should actually think about a class action lawsuit. If there are known and easy measures to take that can reduce pollution but the government isn't doing it then i'd say we have grounds for a lawsuit. Woodk6 maybe you can advise on this? It doesn't have to be real, just the mention of it might get people to listen a bit harder and think about their rights a bit more

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