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Buses are the main polluters, not private cars

Ariel Kong (“Air filters won’t fix our city’s poor air quality”, October 28) says children need to understand the causes of pollution and “get into the habit of using public transport”. And adds that hopefully when they grow up they will choose not to buy a car and “we will have fewer polluting vehicles on our roads”.

If she would read the Environment Bureau’s March 2013 paper on pollution, “A Clean Air Plan”, she would know that private vehicles account for a tiny fraction of the pollution caused by commercial vehicles and buses, especially the old ones.

On page16, she would see a graphic and the numbers: for particulate pollution, goods vehicles produced 890 tonnes, buses 270 tonnes and private cars just 20 tonnes annually (1.72 per cent of the total for buses plus goods vehicles); for nitrogen oxides, the numbers show goods vehicles produced 36,950 tonnes, buses 9,640 tonnes and private cars just 890 tonnes (1.91 per cent of buses plus goods vehicles).

Overall, buses (about 20,000 of them) produce 11 to 14 times the pollution of the 500,000 private cars in Hong Kong. Buses do carry more people, on average, but commercial vehicles and buses remain the overwhelming source of Hong Kong’s roadside pollution.

That Ariel Kong misses this point shows the success of the transport lobby in obscuring it, and highlights the immorality of their continuing refusal to protect the health of Hongkongers, old and young.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels

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