21 September 2009
This week, CSL, HK’s biggest mobile network operator, is going to conduct an SMS campaign on behalf of Clean Air Network (CAN), an environmental NGO educating and mobilizing the Hong Kong public about the health impacts of air pollution. Starting from 22 September, CSL will encourage people to sign the CAN petition urging the government to clean up Hong Kong’s very dirty, unhealthy air. The CAN petition states, “Air pollution is Hong Kong’s most serious public health crisis, killing over 1,100 people every year. I urge the Government to improve our air quality until pollution no longer poses a significant threat to my health.”
Two SMSs, one in Chinese and one in English, will be sent over the duration of two weeks. The message, “You can breathe healthy air in HK only 41 days a year. Help us clean up air pollution, one signature at a time”, will be used to rally support from the general public to speak out about air pollution. The timing is crucial, as the HKSAR Government is presently reviewing Hong Kong’s long-outdated Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) during a public consultation period, which ends on 30 November 2009. (The AQOs have not been revised for more than 20 years, partially explaining why air pollution has become Hong Kong’s biggest public health crisis.)
In addition to the SMS campaign, CSL is supporting CAN by linking to CAN’s petition webpage on the landing page of its website and putting up e-posters in the CSL retail stores all over Hong Kong. Last Friday, CSL sent an email to its own staff, encouraging them to sign the petition.
Such a public alliance between NGOs and the private sector is unprecedented in Hong Kong. The alliance between CAN and CSL and CSL’s endorsement of CAN will be the first time an Asian NGO leverages its messaging through the resources and network of a blue-chip corporation with vast reach to the general public.
Joanne Ooi, the CEO of CAN, remarked, “If there’s any issue which can forge alliances between the NGOs and the private sector, it is Hong Kong air pollution – because it’s an issue of universal concern which affects everyone in society. I salute the vision and leadership of CSL in supporting this cause, the success of which can positively impact the lives and health of all the residents of Hong Kong.”
“We are pleased to assist CAN and to do what we can in order to clean up Hong Kong’s air. CSL has instituted a number of “green” initiatives recently and we see this support as a natural extension of those efforts.” CSL’s Head of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, David Aitken said.
“CSL stands for ‘Create a Simple Life’ but in this case we stand for ‘Create a Safer Life’.”
For further details, please visit www.hongkongcan.org