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Air Standards To Reveal Priorities

SCMP – Updated on Feb 13, 2009

Soon, the government will replace the hopelessly outdated air pollution index (API). What it decides to replace it with will give us an insight into the government’s priorities. If the government is most concerned about the health of Hong Kong people it will adopt strict pollution guidelines.

These will allow for much less air pollution than the current standards and will drive down pollution when they are used to evaluate future developments, such as agreements with Guangzhou. The downside is that, in the short term, we will exceed these guidelines almost every day and so Hong Kong may get some bad press.

If the government is mostly concerned about public relations, it will adopt very lax guidelines. These may be only slightly stricter than the current API and will do nothing to fix the pollution problem or improve the health of Hong Kong people. By doing this, the government may successfully evade the bad press, but at a cost to our lungs.

Let us see what it does.

William Hayward, Wan Chai

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