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Ferry companies shouldn’t be subsidised while they burn dirty fuel

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Home > Ferry companies shouldn’t be subsidised while they burn dirty fuel

Ferry companies shouldn’t be subsidised while they burn dirty fuel

Saturday, 25 May, 2013, 12:00am



Howard Winn

No subsidies for polluting ferries

Hong Kong Pollution Watch (HKPW) has submitted a formal objection to the proposal to build additional pier floors at Central Piers Nos 4, 5 and 6, which was due to be discussed at the Legislative Council Panel on Transport yesterday.

One of the justifications for the work, according to Legco papers, is that it would offer long-term help “in improving the financial viability of the six major outlying ferry routes on a sustained basis”.

HKPW is objecting to the idea on the grounds that it would subsidise the operations of New World First Ferry, which, it says, “emits some of the worst dark smoke pollution in Hong Kong”. The group urges the work be postponed until either the ferry company stops polluting the air or another ferry operator is found. HKPW also says the ferry company is endangering the health of its employees who work at the ferry terminals as a result of the emissions from the ferries.

The same might be said of the Star Ferry which operates from Central Pier 7. The tie-up has a first-floor viewing area with a high pitched roof, rather than a flat roof. The idea is to provide a pleasant vantage point from which to view the harbour. However, when the ferries dock their funnels are just a few feet below the level of the floor. The structure of the roof acts as a trap for the low-grade fuel being burned, even when the wind is blowing.

Accordingly, the first impact on the senses is not the fine view but the stink of exhaust fumes, to say nothing of what we are breathing in. It is surely time to end this nonsense and make these ferries use cleaner fuel.

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