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April 8th, 2008:

Pricey ERP Is Best Choice

Updated on Apr 08, 2008 – SCMP

We have to strongly reconsider the government’s view on air pollution.

Whereas the Wan Chai to Central Bypass seeks to facilitate the current traffic flow through the centre of our city or may even allow the flow to increase, the purpose of electronic road pricing is to reduce the total number of vehicles that will go through Central at a given time.

By linking these two issues (“Bypass could halve levy for drive to Central”, March 30), it is readily apparent that our government’s planning advisers do not care about the problem of air pollution within our city centre and the effect that has on residents and would rather go ahead with an ill-advised public works project that will fail.

Why else would they push for a HK$50 levy through the ERP versus HK$90? Surely a HK$90 levy would make more environmental sense – making more people take public transport versus private vehicles. That the government even suggests a lower levy would be beneficial is ludicrous in the face of the facts.

Mark Chan, Tsing Yi

Filthy Air Is Bad For Our Health

Updated on Apr 08, 2008

Congratulations to the government of the Hong Kong SAR. In its drive to ensure Hong Kong is “Asia’s world city”, it has another milestone to celebrate, world-class smog.

As measured by the amount of time the air pollution index (API) is high or above, Hong Kong set a new record during the first quarter of this year.

Refusing to listen to critics who said it couldn’t be done, the API was in the range judged by the World Health Organisation to be dangerous 70 per cent of the time.

That is higher than for the first quarter of any year since records began in 1999 and puts us well on track to record the smoggiest year ever.

Unfortunately, summer is just around the corner and those pesky southern winds will blow the smell that puts “fragrant” into “Fragrant Harbour” away from us for a month or two. But don’t worry, the smog will be back to limit your children’s lung growth just in time for the new school year in September.

William Hayward, Wan Chai