Candidates of the Four Major Political Parties All Pledge to Make Clean Air a Priority
(September 2nd, 2012) In the face of Hong Kong’s worsening air quality, Clean Air Network conducted a survey to find out precisely which Legislative Council Election candidates see air pollution as a high priority problem and which do not. In addition, CAN polled nearly 1,000 voters, asking them about their perceptions of Hong Kong’s air and how that plays into their voting decisions. Both groups were also asked about which measures to improve air quality they most support.
Voter opinion survey results
A total of 707 surveys were collected, nearly half of which indicated that a Legislative Council Election candidates’ position on air pollution was an important consideration (4 to 5 points), in terms of influencing their voting decision. Respondents were able to grade the extent of influence on a scale of 0, “not important at all,” to 5, “very important,” and the average of all the responses received was 3.2. The highest average, as sorted by constituency, was Hong Kong island (3.5) and the lowest was Kowloon East (2.9).
The measures to improve air quality that respondents supported the most were reducing roadside emissions (84 percent), and early implementation of Hong Kong’s new air quality objectives by administrative means and the creation of a concrete timetable for adoption of the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines (69 percent). Though a hot issue in recent press, the measure that proposed a full assessment of the health effects and social costs on the residents of North Lantau due to the air pollution that will result from Hong Kong Airport’s proposed third runway received support from only half the respondents (55 percent).
Legislative Council Election candidate survey results
All 287 Legislative Council Election candidates were sent CAN’s “Clean Air Pledge;” a total of 115 candidates (40 percent) signed it. Parties that signed include the Democratic Party, the Civic Party, the Labor Party, the New Democratic Alliance, the Civil Force, the Hong Kong Association for Democracy & Livelihood, the Hong Kong Awakening Association, the Neighbourhood & Workers Social Centre and the Democratic Front – these are all parties with one-hundred percent support for clean air amongst their candidates.
Of the candidates seeking re-election, thirteen were members of the Environmental Affairs Committee; about half of which refused to sign the Pledge.
Out of all the candidates who signed the Pledge (115), the majority are in support of reducing roadside emissions (99 percent); the measure to improve air quality that received the least support is a subsidy for bus companies to replace their old buses with environmentally-friendly buses (91 percent).
CEO of Clean Air Network Helen Choy says, “The results of the survey clearly show that both candidates and voters understand that the main source of Hong Kong’s air pollution is vehicles and that roadside emissions pose the greatest threat to public health. We hope the public will vote to express their desire for clean air and also hope that the candidates who signed the Pledge will keep their word, and not let Hong Kong’s citizens continue to suffer 3,200 premature deaths per year from air pollution.”
To read the full report of the results of the surveys conducted on voters and candidates who signed the Clean Air Pledge, please click here.