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HK’s Competitiveness Threatened By Poor Air Quality: Survey

Angela Seet – SCMP – Updated on Oct 14, 2008

The seriousness of Hong Kong’s air pollution could affect the city’s competitiveness, the American Chamber of Commerce warned on Tuesday.

The chamber said its latest survey raised concerns about the impact pollution was having on attracting people to work in Hong Kong.

AmCham’s third annual environment survey of 318 member companies showed 40 per cent of them had difficulty attracting professionals to the territory. In addition, 69 per cent knew professionals who intended to leave; and 56 per cent said they would prefer not work in Hong Kong because of the bad air pollution.

AmCham chairman Steven DeKrey said: “This year’s findings reinforce the reality that air pollution not only threatens our health but also the long-term competitiveness of Hong Kong as a world-class talent centre in Asia.”

AmChan urged the government to take more action to improve air quality.

“This year’s survey suggests that Hong Kong can productively focus on other aspects of air pollution especially ground-level pollution,” Mr DeKrey said. “This is something the residents and the government can address together,” he added.

The respondents support the government rapidly phasing out all diesel-run vehicles (81 per cent), bringing air quality objectives in line with those of the World Health Organisation (80 per cent), and using the cleanest buses (72 per cent).

Other key findings included:

  • Some 97 per cent supported converting diesel-run vehicles to liquified petroleum gas (LPG)
  • Ninety-one per cent wanted more ‘pedestrian only’ zones in the city centre
  • Eighty-one per cent were prepared to pay more for cleaner public transport.

However, not many were confident things would change in the next 12 months. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents felt the “quality of the natural environment in Hong Kong will not improve”, the survey noted.

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