Pollution in Hong Kong

A boat trip was organized by Clean Air Network to conduct a field study with Public Health Professor Linwei Tian, residents of Kwai Chung and artists along the coastal area and to look at the number one air pollution problem in Hong Kong today. Cargo and passenger marine vessels have become the biggest source of sulphur dioxide and respirable suspended particulate emissions since 2011.

Despite an overall drop in SO2 concentration in Hong Kong, in 2014, Kwai Chung recorded the highest SO2 level. There were 148 times that SO2 exceeded WHO 24-hour standard. Residents from Kwai Chung said that when she looked out the window most of the year, it was all in grey.

Prof. Linwei Tian said, “Compared with the relatively remote power plant emissions, our exposure to the OGV emission may be much higher because the OGV emissions are close to us — both horizontally and vertically.”

Although there is a drop in arrivals of Ocean Cargo Vessels from 2008 to 2013, we see a rise of Ocean Passenger Vessels. Compared to 2012, there was a 17.5% increase of the latter’s arrivals in 2013 (2839). In particular of cruise ship arrivals, we see an increase from 2040 in 2011 to 2601 in 2013.

Whereas at Kai Tai Terminal, fifty-seven trips of cruise ships are scheduled to berth this year, doubling 2014’s number and pose a great threat to the health of the people in East Kowloon due to its proximity to residential areas. Studies have shown that shipping related PM emissions are responsible for about 60, 000 cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths annually globally, most of them are in the coastal area in the world.

To further raise awareness on health threat posed by marine emission, CAN is going to organise “Kai Tak Arts Picnic” on March 29 (Sun) in Kai Tak Runway Park. The event is a potpourri of happenings including book swapping, circle painting, bottle gardening, and community art installation exhibitions. Through this event, CAN would advocate the installation of onshore power facilities immediately so as to change the port into zero emission area.

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