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The Pollution Leviathan

Container ship can be serious pollution source.

Container ship can be serious pollution source.

To tackle air pollution problem, government’s effort is very important. If the government frames the problem properly, then she can increase the effectiveness of the policy adopted.

However, the HKSAR Government had made two mistakes on the air pollution issue. Firstly, she claimed that we can do nothing about the poor air quality in Hong Kong, as the pollutants are mainly coming from the Guangdong area but not coming from Hong Kong people. Secondly, she thought that the main source of air pollution is coming from the land, so the measures tackling air pollution are mainly imposed on vehicles. However the government is ignoring the impact of marine air pollution.

Study from University of Science and Technology shown that one of the main pollution sources in Hong Kong is the container port located in Kwai Chung. The sulphur dioxide emitted by port facilities and containers put the health of three million people at risk. But we can see the government do not adopted measure that tackling the problem, and let the pollution Leviathan, the containers, continuous to emitted pollutants.

The government claims that the cross-border winds bring the pollutants from the Guangdong area. But the case is that the control over the vessels and port facilities can improve the air pollution problem a lot. Hit the jump for more information about the facts about containers pollutions.

  • Maritime industry data shows the biggest vessels each emit as much pollution as 50 million cars. To compare, we can see vehicles on Hong Kong roads use diesel containing 0.005 per cent sulphur but containers’s fuel may contains sulphur up to 4.5%.
  • Government proposals to clear the pollution from sea-going traffic do not mention container ships and the port. Ferries, pleasure craft and other small boats – which already use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5 per cent – are being encouraged to use low-sulphur diesel. The lack of interest in port operations is down to the low volume of emissions.
  • International agreements permit sea-going craft to burn bunker fuel with up to 4.5 per cent sulphur content. And fuel standards for ocean-going vessels will be changed to 3.5 per cent sulphur content by 2012.

So in order to have clear air and water, the government should action now. The cold-ironing technology can be introduced, and the government can also restrict the containers in Hong Kong to use cleaner fuel. The pollution in our land should be handled by us.


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