Hong Kong Sick and Tired of Smog, Bans Most Polluting Vehicles
Carrot & Stick Approach
Hong Kong has been trying for a long time, through various ‘clean air’ measures, to deal with smog that is estimated to cause 3,000 premature deaths every single year, but it never went far enough, resulting in a failure to meet its own air quality target for the past 25 years (“Last year saw 175 days of very high pollution, more than twice the figure from 2007,” according to government figures). The authorities have now come up with new measures that they hope will do the trick, or at least make things better, and we know these can work wonders if well implemented.
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The city will ban high-polluting vehicles, which include many of the 121,300 commercial diesel vehicles that are the main source of the smog problem in the city, and offer subsidies to replace diesel-powered buses and trucks. There were subsidies in the past, but the government now says that they were not big enough. They won’t say how big the new ones will be, but hopefully they’ll do the trick this time. And if not, they’ll also have new “sticks” to push people to upgrade they old clunkers.Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, will announce the new measures during his January policy speech, and reduction in emissions should start by 2014.
Hopefully they’ll adopt the Euro V standard, the cleanest Euro emissions standard at the moment. It is estimated that more than 40% of Hong Kong’s commercial diesel vehicles only meet the Euro II standard, which allows over 10x more particulate matter than Euro V.