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January 25th, 2012:

Treat bad air problems as a crisis

South China Morning Post Letters

In respect of air quality, the people of Hong Kong want two things.

They want the truth about air quality where they and their children live, work, study and play so that they can make informed decisions as to how best to protect their health and take concerted and urgent action to improve it. They are not interested in targets.

Also, they want to be warned when the air is dangerous to their health and they want the government to start doing something meaningful about it without more years of dithering.

I was impressed and relieved when the administration got rid of all the diesel taxis and some of the diesel minibuses, which had a hugely beneficial effect on air quality back in 2003.

What has it achieved since then? We are still plagued with dirty old buses, minibuses, goods vehicles, ferries and ships, and the power companies have still not cleaned up their act.

The government has a pretty good record when it comes to managing crises. I am sure that the Hospital Authority would say that the steadily increasing cases of respiratory disease amount to a continuing and worsening crisis, so can we please start treating it as such?

Guy Shirra, chairman, Friends of Sai Kung