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September 17th, 2008:

Cleaner Option For Our Buses

Updated on Sep 17, 2008 – SCMP

I refer to Clive Noffke’s letter (“New deal can save Sokos”, September 10), and the announcement to scrap CLP Power’s proposed natural gas terminal that was going to add significant costs to consumers in Hong Kong (“Gas plan for Sokos ditched by CLP”, September 12).

The Hong Kong government can now support a plan to change the heavy diesel bus fleets over to compressed natural gas from the Towngas system, instead of building another terminal to receive the propane version of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for use in heavy engines. Taxis and minibuses use the butane version of LPG.

Heavy buses using compressed natural gas produce 80 per cent less in emissions than diesel engines. A study in Australia found that traffic fumes stunt the growth of babies in the womb, which should be a concern to health officials given the canyon-effect of multi-storey apartment blocks that can bottle in cancer dangerous particulates.

Bus depots in Brisbane Australia have installed compressed natural gas equipment that can refuel six buses in four minutes, while the bus is being cleaned and maintenance-checked before going back on the road. Single-deck buses are designed to have seven cylinders in the roof section of the bus. Double deckers would need a different design.

Compressed natural gas buses produce half the engine noise of diesel buses.

Hong Kong can become a leader in adopting new heavy vehicle fuel systems that could significantly reduce the grey smog that pollutes our skies. Our children could grow up breathing cleaner air which benefits their mental and physical development.

Ross Smith, Shek Tong Tsui

Pick of the day: Suffocation

Updated on Sep 17, 2008 – SCMP

Sixteen-year-old Sam Inglis’ digital photographs (pictured) focus on Hong Kong’s air pollution problems. Opens today; reception, Fri, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Mon-Sat, noon-10pm, Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Rd, Central. Inquiries: 25217251. Ends Oct 4