Press Release

Friends of the Earth (HK) Comment on Hong Kong Air Quality Improvement Measures

  • Attain WHO’s health-based air quality guideline levels
  • Implement 40+ year-old electronic road pricing (ERP)
  • Extend coverage of low emission zones (LEZs)
  • Speed up zero-emission vehicle transition
  • Collaborate with Greater Bay Area on improving air quality
The Panel on Environmental Affairs reviews Hong Kong’s air quality and progress of improvement measures today. Air pollution is the world’s top killer, responsible for 6.7 million avoidable deaths a year[1]. In addition to early death, it burdens the public health system through doctor visits and hospitalisations. One in ten Hong Kong children is affected by asthma.[2]

Although numerous improvement measures have been made over the years, EPD themselves admitted that consistently high roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and rising ambient ozone (O3) levels are frustrating efforts. Fossil fuels burned in vehicles and power plants contribute heavily to Hong Kong’s air pollution.

A liveable city must have breathable air, Friends of the Earth (HK) has the following recommendations for the government:

1. Hong Kong should be striving to meet the WHO’s health-based air quality guideline levels and minimise the public health burden from air pollution;
2. Set up the more-than-40-years-late electronic road pricing (ERP) to tackle rising congestion across the city;
3. Extend the low emission zones (LEZs) beyond franchised buses and covering more major road corridors;
4. Expedite the electrification of public and commercial vehicles, the largest source of roadside emissions; and
5. Enhance collaboration with the Greater Bay Area on air pollution monitoring and control, new energy vehicle innovation, and renewable energy development

Hong Kong must go beyond transitioning to zero-emission vehicles and also become less dependent on cars. Rising vehicle numbers—clean or dirty—will continue to contribute pollution through brake and tyre wear, if unaddressed. Friends of the Earth (HK) hopes the government will actively build a healthier, more liveable, and pedestrian-friendly Hong Kong.

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