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January 24th, 2013:

Letters to the Editor, January 24, 2013

Submitted by admin on Jan 24th 2013, 12:00am


Comments on Beijing’s bad air appalling

Your report (“‘Beijing cough’ an insult to capital, says professor”, January 22) that a senior health professional, Professor Pan Xiaochuan , has contrived a bizarre piece of misinformation denying the effects of air pollution on human health is disappointing and depressing.

The central government should reaffirm that it recognises that pollution harms everyone, regardless of race and culture.

The suggestion that Chinese citizens in Beijing have somehow accommodated to the catastrophic impact of pollutants on their immune and cardiopulmonary systems is ridiculous and should be strongly repudiated.

We certainly do not wish to hear this nonsense echoed by any quarter here in Hong Kong.

It is inconsistent with high- quality mainland medical and environmental health research, and the judgment of the veteran environmentalist, Professor Qu Geping , who acknowledges that economic plans have failed to protect environmental health (“Top adviser says weak rule of law fed pollution mess”, January 21).

Although their power to influence the situation quickly is limited, there is also clear recognition of the toxicity of China’s urban pollution by Beijing health authorities and education commission, and other academics and businesses, who realise that Chinese cities are being destroyed as desirable destinations by uncontrolled pollution.

The thousands of children forming queues at health stations are the most sensitive sentinels of the harm to population health. A majority will be from the lowest socio-economic groups.

Any Beijing residents who may appear to have tolerated the physiological insults of pollution will simply be survivors of the large-scale epidemic which has pushed many others into clinics, hospitals and early graves.

The same conclusion applies to Hong Kong.

Anthony Hedley, honorary professor, department of community medicine, University of Hong Kong

Source URL (retrieved on Jan 24th 2013, 5:55am):

Predicted economic benefits of Kai Tak cruise terminal grossly inflated

Submitted by admin on Jan 24th 2013, 12:00am

News›Hong Kong


Amy Nip and Keith Wallis

Tourists visiting Kai Tak hub will generate just a quarter of official estimate of HK$1b in first year

Government projections of the financial benefits of the Kai Tak terminal appear to be overestimated by as much as 75 per cent, a South China Morning Post investigation has found.

Official estimates reported in 2008 suggested the total value-added contribution to the economy would be HK$860 million to HK$1.09 billion this year alone.

But an analysis of the numbers expected when 37,000 passengers on 16 ships using the terminal between its opening in June and April next year suggest this is hugely optimistic.

An examination of each vessel’s itinerary by the Post shows Hong Kong will be a port of call for seven out of 10 passengers; the rest will be joining or ending their cruise tours in the city.

Based on the 2012 per capita spending of the two types of cruise tourists – HK$4,833 for those starting or ending their tours in Hong Kong and HK$2,141 for those stopping in briefly on their tour – all passengers will spend about HK$100 million in that time. This figure will be boosted by the value-added approach of economic analysis, which takes into consideration a “multiplier effect” of tourist expenditure, meaning the sum could go from one business to another and create bigger benefits.

The multiplier is 2.5 to 3 in Hong Kong, so HK$100 million of tourist spending would add HK$300 million to the city’s gross domestic product, associate professor of economics at Chinese University Terence Chong Tai-leung said. This is just over a quarter of the official estimate.

Hang Seng Management College’s dean of school of business Professor Raymond So Wai-man said the government tended to exaggerate the benefits of projects.

Delays in the terminal’s construction may have dragged on its competitiveness, he said, but its opening would be the starting point for HK to join the cruise race.

Chong agreed: “The building of a terminal can enhance the city’s image and create long-term benefits.”

Work on the long-awaited terminal started in 2009, after the site lay vacant for more than a decade.

The government failed to find a suitable candidate to build the terminal, and eventually decided to build it itself at a cost of HK$7.2 billion.

Competitor Singapore opened its Marina Bay Cruise Centre last October. From this June to April it will handle 89 dockings.

Jeff Bent of Worldwide Flight Services, a partner in the consortium that will run the Kai Tak terminal, said he was disappointed in the number of ship calls.

Cruise companies were not confident the terminal would open on schedule and had not bothered to book ships into it.


Kai Tak Cruise Terminal


More on this:

Kai Tak cruise hub ‘not in best location’ but expansion is timely [1]

Source URL (retrieved on Jan 24th 2013, 5:48am):