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October 1st, 2008:

HK’s Take On Climate Crisis Hits The Big Screen

Yau Chui-yan – SCMP – Oct 01, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary about global warming presented by former US vice-president Al Gore, was a box-office blockbuster that brought global warming to the world’s attention.

Now Hong Kong is going to have its own version of An Inconvenient Truth, albeit shorter and not presented by a green statesman.

From today, a 30-second movie trailer called Climate Crisis will screen in eight Broadway cinemas around the city. The short will screen for three weeks, and is expected to reach more than 55,000 viewers.

It will be the first such film specifically targeting a Hong Kong audience and highlighting climate change.

Oxfam Hong Kong, which produced the film, hopes the short will attract younger audiences and get them to pay more attention to the consequences of global warming.

“It is more effective to arouse people’s attention by using moving images in cinemas, as people are sitting there attentively,” Fiona Shek Hoi-wai, the communications officer of Oxfam Hong Kong, said.

In the movie trailer, a young Hong Kong girl uses a hair dryer and leaves the fridge door open for a long time, just as many people do in their daily lives. The movie contrasts such behaviour with footage of ice melting at the North Pole and someone losing their family because of flooding.

“The film is intended to arouse people’s consciousness about the relationship between excessive consumption of energy and damage to somebody’s home elsewhere,” Ms Shek said.

To many people in Hong Kong, climate change is only about the environment. However, this is not the full picture: climate change also affects many people’s lives. The girl in the movie can use moisture cream when the weather is dry. However, for people in Africa, the dryness will affect agriculture and damage the people’s livelihoods.”

Producers Huang Kwai-fung, 28, and Chow Tze-chun, 23, said their understanding of climate change increased markedly from producing the movie.

“Some of my friends did question the relationship between our excessive consumption of energy and disasters happening elsewhere. However, I became deeply impressed [by the strength of that relationship] while making this movie,” said Huang, who was a prize winner at this year’s Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards. The production cost HK$15,000.

Mong Kok Pollution ‘Three Times’ WHO Levels

Peter So – SCMP – Updated on Oct 01, 2008

A green group and legislator warned the worsening air quality at tourist spots would scare off visitors, and are urging government to tighten the air-quality measuring standards.

Greenpeace have conducted on-site monitoring of the levels of respiratory suspended particulates (PM-10) and fine suspended particulates (PM-2.5) on Monday and Tuesday this week – prior to the peak tourist period of “Golden Week” – in a pedestrian area of Mong Kok.

The experiment discovered that the concentration levels of both particulates had three times exceeded the World Health Organisation’s most stringent standards. It means tourists and local residents’ health could be threatened if they are exposed to the area for several hours.

Paul Tse Wai-chun, a legislator in the tourism sector, said the poor air quality would damage the city’s image in the long run.

An earlier survey found 48.8 per cent of local tourist guides had received complaints from tourists about the city’s air pollution, Greenpeace said.

Meanwhile, Mr Tse called on the government to amend the air-quality measuring standards in accord of the WHO guidelines which [were] established in 2006.

The current government standards had been adopted since 1987, and it did not include PM-2.5 – which research suggests can penetrate deep into human lungs and have more severe health effects than larger particulates.

“The current standards are too loose and outdated,” said Mr Tse.

He said it is the responsibility of the government to update the Environmental Protection Department’s Air Pollution Index to let the public know the real situation of air pollution.

Mr Tse added that initiatives to improve the “wall effect” created by high-rise buildings and the control of traffic flow in busy districts should be undertaken.

Despite the government would commission a study to review the air-quality objectives and development a long-term management strategy, Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo Wai-muk said the government has no time-table to amend current standards to meet the WHO’s more stringent standards progressively.

And the green group would update a “Real Air Pollution Index” on the website – – which would monitor air pollutants including sulphur dioxide, ozone, respirable suspended particles and nitrogen dioxide with the updated WHO standards.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has made travel tips on the city’s scenic spots with better air quality to tourists. Mr Tse said the government can promote those spots as a remedy.