Reflecting community concerns about air pollution, 500 people today attended “The Air We Breathe – a Public Health Dialogue”, a conference organized by Civic Exchange and funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to discuss solutions to Hong Kong’s air pollution and the associated public health benefits.
The heavily oversubscribed event delivered up–to-date expert information on Hong Kong’s situation, an introduction to the Hedley Environmental Index, and introduced best practices in tackling pollution from overseas. Most importantly, it provided an opportunity for delegates to discuss the issues with local and global experts and to propose solutions to a panel of stakeholders that included Secretary for the Environment, Edward Yau and Legislator Audrey Eu (Chair of LegCo’s Environmental Affairs Panel).
The full survey results assessing public opinion on air pollution by Professor Michael DeGolyer, of Baptist University’s Hong Kong Transition Project was also released. Entitled ‘Hong Kong’s Silent Epidemic’ the survey quantified the community’s deep concern about air pollution, and identified the public’s desire for the Government to heed advice from independent experts in creating strategies and policies to address air pollution.
“We are delighted to have such an enthusiastic response to this conference,” said William Yiu, Executive Director, Charities, Hong Kong Jockey Club. “The aim today is to transform our concerns about the health impacts of air pollution into positive energy to develop the solutions that will give us all cleaner, healthier air.”
“Hong Kong has internationally-recognised experts on air pollution and public health. We are also able to tap overseas best practices to solve problems,” said Christine Loh, CEO Civic Exchange. “This tremendous gathering of knowledge – coupled with the community’s desire to participate – should send a very positive message to the Government that policies which improve public health by reducing air pollution will be strongly supported by the public and by experts”, she added.
Looking beyond the conference it is hoped that delegates will make use of what they have learned to participate in the government’s ongoing review of Hong Kong’s air quality objectives. These are the standards set by the Environmental Protection Department to control air pollution.