Hong Kong pays dearly for Pollution

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on June 13, 2008

You don’t have to look any further than your window when searching for evidence of Hong Kong’s foul air. But for those of us clamoring for improvements to air quality can now turn to the most compelling argument yet contained in a just-released study commissioned by Civic Exchange think tank in collaboration with several medical experts. You can download the entire report by clicking here.

The findings, based on research into the health impact of bad air in Hong Kong, Macao and the Pearl River Delta make sober reading indeed. Based on 2006 data, poor air caused 10,000 deaths. Most of these occurred in the Pearl River Delta, where much of China’s manufacturing is done [at Hong Kong-owned factories]. Air pollution also caused 440,000 hospital days spent by sufferers of lung and heart problems, not to mention 11 million out-patient visits. The combined medical bill for all this? A cool $1 billion. Now that’s the kind of figure that I hope will make Hong Kong’s corporate chieftans sit up and take notice.

In a similar vein, the Financial Times ran a story earlier this week comparing expatriate quality of life across 200 cities. The study done by Mercer, ranked Hong Kong 70th. Sydney, which also boasts a breathtaking harbor, was ranked 10th. By the way, for those of you who might be wondering, my personal crusade against idle engines in Hong Kong is still going strong. And thanks to a government campaign, I’ve discovered that drivers have become far more responsive in recent months when I ask them to cut their motors.

Reader Comments

Jason

June 14, 2008 2:20 AM

Thanks - glad to see even business week is getting on the case of HK's pollution issues.

Would the author though provide functional links to his articles? keep up the good work!

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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