NOTES FROM THE GRASSROOTS: THE DOUBLE BURDEN OF AIR POLLUTION IN THE NEW TERRITORIES
Some comments from a DC member in the New Territories —
“On solving the air pollution problem, many people in the New Territories believe that the government and Legco have favored the interests of people living in city districts (mostly wealthy people) over the interests of those living in the New Territories. The government built and Legco supported the government offices, Legco building, public infrastructure and all commercial activities to be concentrated oin only Central or other city districts. This forces people living in the New Territories to travel all the way from the New Territories to Central (or other city districts) to look for jobs, eventually increasing the demand for buses running on the road. It has never been the wish of people in the New Territories to travel all the way to Central to work, but instead they have to bear the costs of cleaning up air pollution. Whether cutting short bus routes or increasing bus fares, it is the grassroots living in the New Territories who have to pay to clean up air pollution in Central. One way to reduce air pollution is better city planning, not just replacement of old buses. If the government could relocate some offices or public infrastructures from city districts to the New Territories, this could provide job opportunities to people in the New Territories, allow them to stay in the NT and, consequently, reduce the demand for buses.
Another point: The view of Victoria Harbour means nothing for the grassroots in the New Territories. Many of them can’t even afford to travel to Central.”
i share this letter with you because it gives genuine insight into WHY sometimes the grassroots finds it hard to support air pollution clean-up measures: THESE MEASURES (BUS-RELATED) FALL DISPROPORTIONATELY ON THEM – who have already been penalized by the great distance they must travel to work.
what it means for CAN is that we must find political approaches which acknowledge and,if possible, REDRESS these inequities. SPECIFICALLY, bus companies, NOT bus riders should bear MUCH more of the cost of cleaning up air pollution. NOT the average bus rider.
whether it is EFFICIENT for business centers to be established throughout the NT is, of course, another question entirely — one which i’m not qualified to comment on. ditto for the question of whether the long commute distance from the NT is reflected in rents and real estate prices in those areas. rather, the point of today’s blog is to shed light on the POLITICAL obstacles our movement confronts.