Air pollution in Hong Kong is often so bad that it is impossible to see across Victoria Harbor due to all the haze and smog. The government did endeavor to modify the air quality but, sadly, it still deteriorates continually. Even worse, the Air Pollution Index recently hit a record high, which suggests that the air quality in Hong Kong is far lower than the international standard. It all shows that air pollution is Just a growing problem and I’m writing to raise several concerns about air pollution and suggest various ways in which Hong Kong citizens can help reduce air pollution.
Let us begin with the cause of the problems, which includes three main aspects: vehicle emissions, unplanned use of land, and cross-border pollution. The first aspect concerns the vehicle emissions. With the increasing number of private cars, and the slow introduction of environmentally friendly fuels, the amount of air pollutants released by vehicles keeps increasing, thereby tarnishing the air quality. Secondly, the unplanned use of land can also account for the problems. Due to the limited land supplied, Hong Kong tends to be densely populated while the buildings are usually designed to be as tall as possible.
All the buildings therefore form a physical barrier to block the ventilation of air. Consequently, pollutants like suspended particles are trapped in air, causing the air to be polluted. Cross-border pollution is the third aspect. There are currently numerous factories built in Mainland in Guangdong Province. The industrial air pollutants can be carried to Hong Kong by winds. Especially in winter, when much pollution is brought by the northern monsoon, the air quality is exceptionally terrible.
To tackle the problem, we should focus on the causes and design solutions accordingly. To deal with the first cause, which is related to traffic, the amount of vehicle emissions should be controlled properly. Actually, this has been implemented before, for example, the installation of catalytic converters and introduction of unleaded fuels. However, the even worse air quality nowadays has proved these traditional means is not enough. In addition to these, the government should put more efforts into controlling the number of private cars on the road.
Raising the registration fee of the newly purchased vehicles and levying heavier tax on vehicle ownership are ffective measures to minimize the number of private vehicles, thereby reducing emission of pollutants. Introduction of electronic cars or hybrid cars also reduce the release of air pollutants by vehicles. Apart from Just introducing these cars, the government should also subsidies the installation of corresponding stations for power supplement so as to attract more vehicle owners to switch their options.
Then, the vehicles emission will definitely be lowered gradually. We can encourage citizens to use public transports instead of using private vehicles. This can help to increase he awareness of citizens on air pollution problems. Secondly, to achieve a better land use planning, new measures and laws should be set up for the developers and architects to refer to. For example, in order that the new buildings are surrounded with good ventilation, density and height of buildings should be reasonably limited and be stated in black and white as laws.
Besides, in order to keep the air clean with low suspended particles content, a certain percentage should be set as the proportion of green areas in the urban. Good road planning and design can also be achieved with clear regulations and rules. And, without strict enforcement, all the aforementioned laws are Just meaningless. This explains why keen and frequent inspection and execution by the government is always needed to match with an ideal city planning. Government should encourage private sector and community participation to promote greening.
The main initiatives being undertaken include active planning and greening program, enhancing opportunities of quality greening, community support and private sector involvement, and tree preservation. Thirdly, cross-border pollution should be solved by cross-border cooperation. It equires Joint effort from Hong Kong and Guangdong governments to develop environmental standards based on international best practices. For example, to decrease industrial emissions by requiring the most polluting industrial processes to upgrade or install control equipment.
Setting up monitoring systems, restricting the number of factories in Guangdong and controlling the industrial emission of pollutants can all be included in the agreements. Remember that we are actually living under the same atmosphere with people of different nations. Air pollution is not only the matter of our own city, but a worldwide problem. It explains the importance of cooperation amongst different regions. Last but not least, the problem can be alleviated by discouraging people from smoking.
Our government should extend the ban on smoking in parks, playgrounds and school. Also, monitoring can help to cope with the problem. Our government should impose more stringent regulations to the people who are against the law. To conclude, for the bright prospect of our society, on no account that our government and the citizens should not turn a blind eye to the problem, instead, we should go to great lengths to deal with the problem. For example, the government should pose some laws and stringent regulations.
The citizens should rethink their attitude not to pollute the air. And I believe that if the government and citizens can take the above mentioned measures, it would be better for Hong Kong and we can build up an ideal environment in the future. The intolerably terrible air is what we inhale every day. We cannot protect ourselves from the polluted air. I believe if the problems continue to worsen, air pollution could be disastrous and tragic. Therefore, from now on, we should be more aware of it and contribute a little every day to improve the air