Hong Kong’s air quality policies must be more stringent to reverse the rise in air pollution and protect public health. Hong Kong’s standards are far less stringent than many other developed cities and its outdated Air Quality Objectives have become a licence to pollute.
A report released today by Civic Exchange describes how London’s and Los Angeles’ aggressive policies have succeeded in improving air quality. While London’s Air Quality Management (AQM) strategy relies on energy efficiency and demand management programmes, Los Angeles’ strategy targets technological solutions to abate emissions.
Christine Loh, CEO of Civic Exchange noted: “Political leadership and multi-stakeholder collaboration were critical to the successes of London and LA. There is an urgent need to devise a comprehensive air quality management plan and to bring various stakeholders together to make it work”.
Loh called on the Hong Kong government to take note of four particular lessons:
1. Tightening air quality standards – to use standards as a policy driver to clean-up.
2. LA’s clean port policy – to deal with the specific problem of shipping emissions, and pollution arising from marine and trucking activities.
3. California’s air quality management – the California Air Resources Board may be a useful model to consider regional air management between Hong Kong and Guangdong.
4. London’s road pricing and low emission zone – to deal with managing traffic using economic incentives.
Dr Alan Lloyd, the President of the International Council on Clean Transportation who was speaking in Hong Kong said, “Hong Kong should take aggressive steps to improve air quality and protect public health.” The internationally renowned clean air advocate elaborated, “in addition to learning from California’s success on air quality, Hong Kong should follow suit on its bold actions on Climate Change both of which are fundamentally linked. The Science tells us it is time to take action, complacency is a sure path to failure.”