Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

Michael Tien struggles through a fog of information

South China Morning Post – 20 Jan 2012

RTHK’s Backchat programme yesterday produced more fireworks on the topic of Hong Kong’s air quality. Professor Tony Hedley, who is an acknowledged world expert on public health and the environment, described the government’s announcement of new air quality objectives (AQOs) as “disappointing, chaotic, out of control”.

“We have been talking about this for 22 years,” he said. “Today we have some of the worst air quality in the world, certainly by the standard of a developed economy… It is quite clear and I think it is official, the government is prepared to trade off child health in favour of business infrastructure development.”

The new measures “were unlikely to make any meaningful difference to the health impacts of the population”.

Jim Middleton, chairman of Clear the Air, said environment chief Edward Yau should be fired for his dilatory approach to improving the air, adding he must have been instructed to act this way to enable the government to continue with its infrastructure projects.

Mike Kilburn, head of environmental strategy at the Civic Exchange, said it would be challenging to met the mainland’s new objectives while Hong Kong’s would not be since they were so lax and would do little to improve air quality.

So it wasn’t exactly a public relations success for the government.

Some of the lighter moments were provided (unwittingly) by co-host Michael Tien, New People’s Party deputy and former rail bigwig. “Not being very technically oriented in this field, I kind of get the gist of it,” he said, as he painfully took us through his learning curve. “You have economic development, you have infrastructure development and this regional influence…” You would have expected him to have a better grasp of the subject.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *