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January, 2008:

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines to Fly Climate Neutral

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines Invites its International Passengers to Fly Climate Neutral™ – PRWeb

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines has partnered with the climate solutions company Climate Friendly™, to offer its passengers the opportunity to neutralise the greenhouse gas emissions from their flights through investment in renewable energy in China.

Hong Kong (PRWEB) January 28, 2008 — Oasis Hong Kong Airlines has partnered with the climate solutions company Climate Friendly™, to offer its passengers the opportunity to neutralise the greenhouse gas emissions from their flights through investment in renewable energy in China. Oasis is one of the first airlines worldwide to develop a programme based on the full environmental impact of flying, supporting the use of renewable energy carbon credits.

Passengers who choose to offset their emissions using this programme are simply required to input their flight information into Climate Friendly’s air travel calculator. This informs the passenger of their resulting carbon footprint and recommends the equivalent value of renewable energy credits from the selected wind farm in China — the passenger is then given the option of purchasing these energy credits to neutralise their emissions.

Oasis has chosen to support energy credits which assist the Hebei Wind Farm, a 40-turbine project in the Wolongtu Mountains in China’s far north. The wind farm generates some 58,000 MWhs of clean energy a year, providing much needed clean and secure energy for the region and displacing the use of polluting coal-fired electricity which is common in this area and a large pollutant. The wind farm is reducing 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution each year in China.

“There is no more important environmental issue than climate change,” said Stephen Miller, Oasis Hong Kong Airlines’ CEO. “We are thrilled to announce this opportunity for our customers to help us begin to neutralise Oasis’ flight emissions through renewable energy projects in China. However, as an expanding airline this is just the start and we hope to extend the programme to other regions worldwide as our network grows.”

Climate Friendly works internationally with businesses and individuals to find innovative approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The programme developed for Oasis is one of the first of its kind allowing passengers to support clean energy in the airline’s own region.

“Oasis Hong Kong Airlines is the first airline in the world to take into account the full environmental impact as recommended by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This initiative enables Oasis to offer its customers the chance to take real and direct action on climate change,” said Joel Fleming, CEO of Climate Friendly. “By encouraging its passengers to neutralise their flight emissions through wind farm credits in China, Oasis is showing that all businesses can find ways to address this urgent issue and be part of the solution.”

Oasis passengers can learn more about the Oasis Climate Neutral Programme by visiting under “About Us”.

Air Quality Proposals To Be Issued

Air Quality Proposals To Be Issued – Environment News

The Council for Sustainable Development will next month advise the Government on addressing air quality, council chairman Dr Edgar Cheng says.

After a council meeting today Dr Cheng said the recommendations will cover action to be taken on high air-pollution days, road pricing and other air-quality issues.

The recommended way forward from a public consultation report last June seeking views on these issues will be included. The draft will be refined to include council members’ comments.

The engagement process ended in October and the council will submit an analysis report on the public views prepared by the University of Hong Kong. Both reports will be available on its website after submission.

Data Shows Pollution Is Getting Worse

Updated on Jan 20, 2008 – SCMP

The government’s much-heralded Action Blue Sky campaign is designed to reduce air pollution. Is it working?

A simple way to measure the extent of air pollution is to look at how often the air pollution index (API) is high or very high. This level is significant because it is the range that the World Health Organisation generally considers to be hazardous for health. In 2007, the API at general stations was high or very high 44 per cent (or almost half) of the time. This was the second-highest level of pollution since EPD records began in 1999, and the highest since 2004. There is a clearly increasing trend – the four years of highest pollution are the last four years.

Pollution is getting worse, not better. Action Blue Sky should be based around concerns of managing public health; the data shows it to be instead an exercise in managing public opinion.

William Hayward, Wan Chai

Blue Skies Warrior

As an industrialist, Dominic Yin learned all he needed for his new calling – environmental evangelist

Barclay Crawford – Updated on Jan 20, 2008 – SCMP

Dominic Yin has taken nearly a lifetime to find his true calling. The former industrialist and entrepreneur, 66, now describes himself as an environmental evangelist.

He handed over the control of his companies to his son, Benjamin, in 2000, and in the past seven years, he has attended close to 200 conferences, seminars, panels and other environmental-related discussion groups – all funded from his own pocket.

Mr Yin began his working life at the Dah Chung Industrial Company, a manufacturing firm, in 1966. On returning to Hong Kong from Taiwan in the 1980s, he established trading and investment company Trigo Enterprises and was active in a number of other businesses in Hong Kong, Taiwan and on the mainland. Since 2000, he has formed a number of environmentally focused companies.

This journey, he defends China against US politicians who question the emerging superpower’s commitment towards tackling its environmental problems. On the other side, despite being a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee, he is still just as comfortable standing up to top party officials who are standing in the way of environmental progress on the mainland.

Mr Yin has just established the Hong Kong Association of Energy Services Companies (Haesco), a collection of businessmen, engineers and other professionals and concerned citizens determined to improve energy efficiency and protect the environment.

The long-term goal of the group is to bring the “blue skies back to Hong Kong”, but they are focused on bringing their experience to help find clean production solutions and energy efficiency projects. The organisation’s backers believe it will be able to offer solutions to companies and governments who want help in becoming sustainable and energy efficient.

“We can work very quickly to get a success in energy efficiency,” he says. “I can assure you that if we get strong support from the government and society, we will get back our white clouds.”

They want experienced business owners, students and all those concerned with improving energy efficiency in Hong Kong, the mainland, and indeed Asia, to join. More than 40 corporations and individuals have signed up and the number is expected to grow quickly, as the appetite for change in Hong Kong is strong, Mr Yin says. Many members own the factories on the mainland which have contributed to the environmental problems there and want to find another way.

Mr Yin says many companies and governmental organisations want to do something for the environment but are unsure where to start.

He says there is no reason that a developed and wealthy Hong Kong, with its growing environmental awareness, could not become a world leader in green production technologies, driven by profits rather than just goodwill.

Members include local and international energy firms that can help factories upgrade production technology, use less energy and improve their pollution controls. The group has 12 specific projects for the coming year, including a hospital in Shenzhen.

Mr Yin finds it hard to pinpoint what led him to the cause he now pursues so zealously. Partly it was friends such as Steve Wong, now the vice-chairman of Haesco, who first discussed energy efficiency with him while they served together on the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in 1999. At the time, he admits, he knew little.

“But for my age, I’m learning fast,” he says, laughing. “I can make speeches anywhere.”

The end of the decade was also a time when many were looking to the future. At heart a manufacturer, he says he believed there would be five important technological issues which would need new ideas, thoughts and research – information technology, new materials, aerospace, bacterial diseases and, finally, environmental technologies. “The other four were out for me. IT? I’m too old for that. In Silicon Valley, they consider 30 as too old. In aerospace, China and Japan are all over that,” he says, “and with new materials, you need billions of dollars. So, I was left with environmental technology.”

Another major factor on the path to environmental enlightenment also came with wanting to do something with his life that stood him apart from his father. He did not want to be seen as just the son of C.C. Yin.

From humble beginnings, Yin Chi-chung first built his fortune in pre-communist China. By the end of the Japanese occupation, he owned many factories, a bank, transport company, and two newspapers. So on May 19, 1941, Dominic Yin was born into a family of considerable influence and wealth in the Chinese wartime capital of Chungking (now Chongqing ) in the middle of the struggle against the Japanese.

After China fell to the Communists, the family moved to Taiwan and bought factories from the Japanese. In the 1950s he was kicked out, accused of being a communist because he had met senior party members in Shanghai in the 1930s.

The family set up home in Hong Kong, and Mr Yin dutifully followed his father’s advice by studying management and engineering in the US before joining the family business.

However, Mr Yin had inherited some of his father’s stubbornness, and the two clashed, so he moved back to Taiwan and made his own path and fortune in manufacturing.

But he was still not happy. At the back of his mind was a nagging desire to contribute to society. When he arrived back in Hong Kong in 1984, he again thought that he wanted to do something different from his father. “Money to me is not that important. I really wanted to do something that was meaningful,” he says in the booming voice that betrays his passion for Peking opera. “I came back and I was thinking and I did a little business. At that time, my children were small, and I had to make some money; otherwise, how could I make the money to send them to the US? I had to spend US$100,000 a year on tuition.

“I wanted to do something better than my father. That is good motivation.”

The former industrialist, entrepreneur and patriot is not being conceited when he makes this statement. Old friend and engineer John Herbert, who is also a director of Haesco, says that Mr Yin is a practical man, with no airs and graces, who talks straight and doesn’t have the time for building a lasting monument to his ego. Despite the determination to forge a better environmental future, Mr Yin has no doubts about how potentially long and hard the path will be.

“Most of the entrepreneurs are so busy making quick money and do not have the social responsibility to do something for the environment,” he says.

“If you go to any high-rise in Hong Kong, you will find there is no such thing as environmental efficiency. I was talking to one of the big developers and asked him why he wasn’t educating the buyers, but this son of a gun said: `Firstly, I don’t want to hear it, and secondly, do you think the buyer will believe it?'”

Then there is the mainland, where rapid development has seen a focus on money before all else.

“The only thing they believe is to take money from your pocket and put it in their pocket,” he says. “That is the only thing they believe. No matter what kind of method, that is what they want. That is my experience of China. But business development at the cost of social and cultural development is not good.”

Mr Yin says this can be seen in the corruption in the government. There is often no interest in the outside world.

“Many of them don’t like classical music, art or theatre. They like karaoke sung by pretty girls,” he says.

Mr Yin points to the continued desertification of the mainland, which is happening at a rate of 3,000 sq km each year. There are 400 million people living – and destroying – areas which are under threat. “We really have to influence the government because if we don’t do anything for China, I don’t know how many years [it will be] before the whole of China becomes desert,” he says. “They are not stupid, and they know there are problems that need to be solved. I will just have to sleep less and work harder.”

And tomorrow he is off to the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Guangdong To Boost Green Efforts

By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-19 10:34

Guangdong will attach more importance to protecting the environment and saving energy during its industrial development, deputies to the ongoing provincial people’s congress said on Friday.

“Guangdong saw its GDP soar 14.5 percent last year. However, we are under growing pressure because we must control per unit of GDP energy consumption,” Li Miaojuan, director of the Guangdong provincial development and reform commission, said.

Euro III vehicle emission standards will be implemented in the Pearl River Delta to aid protection efforts, she said.

“The standards will be implemented in Guangzhou on May 1, and then extended to the Pearl River Delta on July 1.

“The whole province will have to observe the standard by the end of next year,” Li said.

Several other measures will also be introduced, she added.

For example, the commission is planning to close down all small thermal power plants and a number of cement and steel-making plants before the end of the year.

Power plants with a generating capacity of more than 125,000 kw will also be desulfurized this year, she said.

Also, due to the potential threat of a coal crisis, the province is speeding up construction of nuclear power and recycled energy sources.

More plants will install online pollution surveillance systems, congress deputies said.

Li Qing, director of the Guangdong environmental protection bureau, said: “The air quality in the province last year was worse than in previous years.”

Discounting drought and other natural factors, vehicle emissions are the main reason for the poor air quality.

Deputies said they hoped the implementation of the Euro III standards will help improve the situation.

Li Qing said on Friday that the environmental protection authority has built up an air surveillance network that covers the whole of the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong. A similar system has also been developed for monitoring river water quality.

In Guangdong, 149 factories that have a record of releasing large amounts of pollutants into the river, have installed the online surveillance system.

The bureau intends to install the same system in more factories this year.

Li Qing said about 6 billion yuan ($830 million) will be spent in the coming years on reducing pollution in the river.

Hong Kong Planning Carbon Exchange

Hong Kong expected to tap into supply of Chinese carbon credits

Joanne McCulloch, BusinessGreen, 18 Jan 2008

Hong Kong is set to become the latest financial centre to join the global carbon market, announcing plans to set up a carbon trading exchange by the year end.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has said a feasibility study into the viability of trading emission related products will be completed by early April, with a concrete plan in place by December.

The exchange is expected to tap into the expanding supply of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon emission credits coming from China, which provides over 60 per cent of the credits in the global scheme.

It is not the first time Hong Kong has talked of setting up a trading scheme however, with plans outlined in a similar agreement with China’s Guangdong Province touted in 2006. The two governments pledged that by 2010 they would cut local emissions by 40 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, using 1997 as a base year.

In related news, the Tokyo Stock Exchange Group and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange reportedly agreed this week to jointly undertake a feasibility study into creating a domestic greenhouse gas emissions trading market.

Worsening Levels Of Air Pollution Leaves Green Groups Breathless

Environmental management

Government’s ‘obvious reluctance’ to tackle worsening levels of air pollution leaves green groups breathless

Jacqueline Tsang – Updated on Jan 18, 2008 – SCMP

The government has spent HK$23billion on waste management and environmental programmes since 1997, but visibility in urban areas has dropped 33 per cent in the past 10 years and landfill space is only expected to last for another nine years, according to green groups.

Volunteer environmental groups said they felt more could be done by the government.

Christian Masset, chairman of Clear the Air, a volunteer organisation targeting Hong Kong’s air pollution issues, said: “The government is obviously reluctant to put in maximum effort to clean the air for fear that it would frustrate the interests of certain big businesses. The result is that the people and the image of Hong Kong suffer greatly.”

A spokesman from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) denied the government had placed business interests ahead of public safety. She said the government’s goal of improving air quality was “a key priority … and is determined to combat air pollution”.

Mr Masset said the government’s reticence in replacing diesel trucks was a major cause for concern.

Edwin Lau, director of the registered environmental charity Friends of the Earth, said that while the government had introduced a scheme last year that provided incentives for diesel vehicle owners to replace their pre-Euro and Euro-1 standard diesel vehicles for new Euro-4 diesel trucks within 18 months, it was not mandatory.

The government is prepared to allot up to HK$3.2billion in incentives for the scheme, but it appears this is not incentive enough for vehicle owners to take action.

According to Mr Lau, less than 2 per cent of truck owners have applied for the subsidy.

The government also proposed a ban on idling vehicles in November last year, and Clear the Air has been providing help on the legislation in the hopes that it would be passed by this autumn.

But Mr Lau said that the effectiveness of this ban, in terms of improving air quality, was unclear.

“Targeting franchised buses and old diesel trucks would have a significantly larger impact on roadside air pollution,” he said.

“However, the government seems to shy away from harder battles and larger corporations.” Mr Masset explained that emission from diesel trucks was just one of the major causes of air pollution in Hong Kong. Other polluters include ocean vessels and emissions from the two power companies – CLP Power and Hongkong Electric.

He warned that if these issues were not addressed, and preventive measures not immediately implemented, the city’s average Air Pollution Index (API) could reach 200.

An API of 100 to 200 is considered “very high”, while 201 to 500 is listed as “severe”, forcing people suffering from heart and respiratory diseases to stay indoors.

Other major environmental concerns in Hong Kong include water quality and waste management.

According to Felix Leung Ka-wang, senior information officer at the Environment Bureau and EPD, as of last year, 83 per cent of the 41 gazetted beaches in Hong Kong met the Water Quality Objective (WQO) and were declared safe for swimming. However, seven beaches in the Tsuen Wan area couldn’t meet the WQO and were subsequently closed to swimmers.

“Stage 2A of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme, which deals with the treatment and disinfection of unsafe effluent in the water, is anticipated to come into operation late next year,” Mr Leung said.

“The ongoing implementation of local sewerage works will facilitate the re-opening of Tsuen Wan beaches.”

As for the problem of waste piling up faster than landfill space can expand, other than disposal charges for construction waste that were introduced in 2006, Mr Leung pointed to other efforts including the development of facilities to reduce the bulk of waste, and the Source Separation of Domestic Waste Programme, in which 80 per cent of Hong Kong’s households were expected to take part in separating out their waste for recycling by 2010.

South China Catching Up With Beijing in Air Pollution

Environmental Health – Posted online: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 12:19:40 PM

South China too Catching Up With Beijing in Air Pollution

It is not as if Beijing alone is wringing its hands in helplessness over the deteriorating air quality. The situation doesn’t seem to be any better in the Guangdong Province, Hong Kong. It recorded an average of 75.7 days of haze in 2007, a “marked increase” over normal years and “the most” since 1949 when the New China was founded.

Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky and diminish visibility.

In total, 27 major cities and counties set records in terms of hazy days last year. The situation was relatively more grave in the Pearl River Delta region in eastern Guangdong. Most cities and counties there saw more than 100 hazy days, a report on the atmospheric composition released by the provincial meteorological bureau said.

Enping City in Guangdong’s northwest recorded 240 hazy days last year, the most in the province, the report said.

“The serious situation of hazy days shows the atmospheric pollution in Guangdong, especially in urban areas, is worsening,” it noted.

Industrial discharge and auto exhaust were largely blamed for the air pollution, according to Wu Dui, an atmospheric studies expert from the Guangdong Provincial Meteorological Bureau.

He said haze lingering over the Pearl River Delta region was mainly caused by lower atmospheric pollutants brought by air currents along the coastline from Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dongguan; the haze was rarely blown from the region to Hong Kong — only one to three days in a year.

In addition, the photochemical pollution was grave and the ratio of fine particles was increasing in the atmosphere over the sky of the delta region. This not only greatly reduced visibility in hazy days, but also did harm to people’s health by damaging their respiratory tracts, heart and blood vessels, liver and lungs, Wu said.

”It may take at least 20 or 30 years to bring the haze under control. Cities in the delta region should join in fighting air pollution instead of acting by themselves,” he added.

Source – Medindia

Ultrafine Particles In Air Pollution May Cause Heart Disease

Study shows how ultrafine particles in air pollution may cause heart disease

By Rachel Champeau | 1/17/2008 1:00:00 PM UCLA News

Patients prone to heart disease may one day be told by physicians to avoid not only fatty foods and smoking but air pollution too.

A new academic study led by UCLA researchers has revealed that the smallest particles from vehicle emissions may be the most damaging components of air pollution in triggering plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. The findings appear in the Jan. 17 online edition of the journal Circulation Research.

The scientists identified a way in which pollutant particles may promote hardening of the arteries — by inactivating the protective qualities of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol.

A multicampus team from UCLA, the University of Southern California, the University of California, Irvine, and Michigan State University contributed to the research, which was led by Dr. Andre Nel, UCLA’s chief of nanomedicine. The study was primarily funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“It appears that the smallest air pollutant particles, which are the most abundant in an urban environment, are the most toxic,” said first author Dr. Jesus Araujo, assistant professor of medicine and director of environmental cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This is the first study that demonstrates the ability of nano-sized air pollutants to promote atherosclerosis in an animal model.”

Nanoparticles are the size of a virus or molecule — less than 0.18 micrometers, or about one-thousandth the size of a human hair. The EPA currently regulates fine particles, which are the next size up, at 2.5 micrometers, but doesn’t monitor particles in the nano or ultrafine range. These particles are too small to capture in a filter, so new technology must be developed to track their contribution to adverse health effects.

“We hope our findings offer insight into the impact of nano-sized air pollutant particles and help explore ways for stricter air quality regulatory guidelines,” said Nel, principal investigator and a researcher at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute.

Nel added that the consequences of air pollution on cardiovascular health may be similar to the hazards of secondhand smoke.

Pollution particles emitted by vehicles and other combustion sources contain a high concentration of organic chemicals that could be released deep into the lungs or even spill over into the systemic circulation.

The UCLA research team previously reported that diesel exhaust particles interact with artery-clogging fats in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to activate genes that cause the blood-vessel inflammation that can lead to heart disease.

In the current study, researchers exposed mice with high cholesterol to one of two sizes of air pollutant particles from downtown Los Angeles freeway emissions and compared them with mice that received filtered air that contained very few particles.

The study, conducted over a five-week period, required a complex exposure design that was developed by teams led by Dr. Michael Kleinman, professor of community and environmental medicine at UC Irvine, and Dr. Constantinos Sioutas, professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC.

Researchers found that mice exposed to ultrafine particles exhibited 55 percent greater atherosclerotic-plaque development than animals breathing filtered air and 25 percent greater plaque development than mice exposed to fine-sized particles.

“This suggests that ultrafine particles are the more toxic air pollutants in promoting events leading to cardiovascular disease,” Araujo said.

Pollutant particles are coated in chemicals sensitive to free radicals, which cause the cell and tissue damage known as oxidation. Oxidation leads to the inflammation that causes clogged arteries. Samples from polluted air revealed that ultrafine particles have a larger concentration of these chemicals and a larger surface area where these chemicals thrive, compared with larger particles, Sioutas noted.

“Ultrafine particles may deliver a much higher effective dose of injurious components, compared with larger pollutant particles,” Nel said.

Scientists also identified a key mechanism behind how these air pollutants are able to affect the atherosclerotic process. Using a test developed by Dr. Mohamad Navab, study co-author and a UCLA professor of medicine, researchers found that exposure to air pollutant particles reduced the anti-inflammatory protective properties of HDL cholesterol.

“HDL normally helps reduce the vascular inflammation that is part of the atherosclerotic process,” said Dr. Jake Lusis, study co-author and a UCLA professor of cardiology, human genetics and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics. “Surprisingly, we found that exposure to air pollutant particles, and especially the ultrafine size, significantly decreased the positive effects of HDL.”

To explore if air particle exposure caused oxidative stress throughout the body — which is an early process triggering the inflammation that causes clogged arteries — researchers checked for an increase in genes that would have been activated to combat this inflammatory progression.

“We found greater levels of gene activation in mice exposed to ultrafine particles, compared to the other groups,” Lusis said. “Our next step will be to develop a biomarker that could enable physicians to assess the degree of cardiovascular damage caused by air pollutants or measure the level of risk encountered by an exposed person.”

Researchers added that previous studies assessing the cardiovascular impact of air pollution have taken place over longer periods of exposure time, such as five to six months. The current study demonstrated that ill effects can occur more quickly, in just five weeks.

“Further study will pinpoint critical chemical and toxic properties of ultrafine particles that may affect humans,” Nel said.

The research team included investigators from the fields of nanomedicine, cardiology and genetics. Additional co-authors included Berenice Barajas, Xuping Wang, Brian J. Bennett and Ke Wei Gong of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Jack Harkema from the department of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University.

Additional grant support was provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Rachel Champeau,

Hong Kong Smog Third Worst Since 1968

Cheung Chi-fai – SCMP – Jan 17, 2008

Guangdong was plagued last year by the worst smog in 59 years, with 27 major cities and counties reporting record numbers of smoggy days, according to the province’s meteorological bureau.

A bureau report reviewing the atmospheric state of Guangdong last year said the average number of smoggy days reported was 75.5, the highest since 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded.

It also revealed that some inland cities which had been relatively free of smog had started to report an increasing number of smoggy days.

In Hong Kong, smog last year was the third-worst since 1968, with the number of hours with reduced visibility reaching 1,298. December was also the worst recorded month of reduced visibility – 305 hours.

Xinhua reported that the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau said the number of smoggy days in 27 cities and counties in the province had broken previous records. The western Guangdong county of Enping suffered from the worst smog – with 240 smoggy days recorded last year. Dongguan city , where many Hong Kong factories are based, recorded 213 smoggy days.

In the northeastern city of Heyuan , once a pristine rural area and site of the province’s biggest water reserve, the number of smoggy days increased dramatically – from three days in 2005 to 182 last year.

The deterioration was believed to be a direct result of relocation of industries further inland.
The report, which reviewed the development of air pollution in the province, also found that the worst season for smog was winter rather than summer.

The worst month was December, when areas throughout the province recorded an average 11.4 days of smog. Provincial capital Guangzhou reported 22 smoggy days during that month, the highest since 2000.

Bureau atmospheric scientist Wu Dui said while use of aerosols in the Pearl River Delta had shown signs of declining in recent years, the proportion of fine particles which caused haze, low visibility and smog had increased.

Green Power chief executive Man Chi-sum said the worsening haze rang alarm bells over whether Guangdong could meet 2010 emissions reduction targets agreed with Hong Kong.

“It is a worrying trend,” he said, citing an earlier report reviewing the progress of emissions curbs which said the region’s emissions had increased, not decreased, since 2002.