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Idling engine law proving ineffective


Letters to the Editor, September 19, 2012

Submitted by admin on Sep 19th 2012, 12:00am


Idling engine law proving ineffective

Hong Kong’s idling engine legislation is perplexing as it is copied (according to an Environmental Protection Department official I spoke to) from the traffic and boat idling ordinance of Toronto, Canada.

It is bewildering because, in 2011, Toronto was officially ranked No 1 city in the world in quality of living and clean air, and Hong Kong was voted one of the most polluted.

It is inexplicable that Hong Kong copies an environmental programme from a city that bears no resemblance to the problems the SAR suffers from.

Interestingly, the three minutes of permitted idling per 60 minutes was reduced in Toronto to just one minute and enforced regardless of the weather.

Hong Kong continues with its three minutes per hour and should the hot weather signal be in effect, then idling for as long as you like is perfectly legal.

So on days when pollutants should be reduced, our Environmental Protection Department allows empty coaches to idle and trucks to bellow noxious fumes into the air so a driver can sleep in his airconditioned cabin.

It is a travesty of a law designed to appease the very people guilty of polluting our air; our government continues to treat the health of Hong Kong citizens as unimportant and this is simply not good enough.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Roadside pollution is getting worse

I refer to the letter by Edward Rossiter (“Government failing to curb pollution”, September 11).

Air pollution is getting worse and it poses a serious threat to our health.

Current government policies have been shown to be inadequate and ineffective. I am concerned that there has been an increase in the number of private cars but nothing has been done to curb deteriorating roadside pollution.

For those working in Kwun Tong, walking along the pavement for just 10 minutes is absolute torture as the traffic flow is heavy, especially in the rush hour.

Conditions are made worse by urban renewal projects. There are construction sites in operation day and night with dumper trucks coming in and out; the health of Kwun Tong residents is in jeopardy.

The air pollution index does not come up to international standards.

Why is a world city still using an outdated index, especially when it is supposed to be an important yardstick and is relevant to the health of Hong Kong citizens?

We have to face the fact that pollution is really getting out of control. It is high time the government considered curbing roadside pollution. Yet, the effectiveness of banning idling engines is in doubt.

It is not uncommon to find minibuses or taxis still with their engines running while they are waiting for passengers.

For the sake of the health of Kwun Tong residents, the government should do more to tackle the pollution they face at pavement level, like putting more resources into roadside greening and subsiding minibuses to use environmentally friendly engines.

Leung Kit-yan, Diamond Hill


Idling engine legislation

roadside pollution

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