Air pollution is a multi-disciplinary social issue, spanning beyond the environmental spectrum. To cultivate public knowledge on air pollution, CAN organises a series of community talks for everyone to join the dialogue.
To tackle air pollution, are emission limit and switching to less-polluting fuel enough?
Traffic congestion, pedestrian environment, promoting cycling as a transport mode and urban greening – everything relates to policies for the environment, transportation and urban planning, as well as the understanding and application of principles of sustainable development. At CAN, we are concerned about all topics related to air quality improvement.
To most people, air quality may be merely an environmental issue. But transport and urban planning policies determine the quality of the air we breathe. To extend public understanding and dialogue on air pollution, we endeavour to host regular community talks to continually steer actions as a means of urging for policy changes.
Topic: Low-emission transport planning and Electronic Road Pricing
Cordelia Lam, Principle Assistant Secretary for Transport and Housing
Alfred Lam, Chief Engineering / Transport Planning, Transport Department
Representatives from Hong Kong Institute of Planners and Public Space Initiative
Worrying situations such as the traffic congestion paralysing Kwun Tong, Kap Shui Mun Bridge and, as the government recently foresaw, the Eastern Harbour Crossing indicated that the capability of our transport system is on the verge of saturation. While there will be only a 0.2% expansion, it is crucial to take such precaution measures and introduce a low-emission, sustainable transport plan that reduces vehicular dependence. Recently, the government released a public consultation on electronic road pricing as a measure to reduce the number of vehicles entering Central and to improve air quality within the zone. In light of that, CAN seated officials from Transport Department at this roundtable discussion with the public.
Topic: What makes our air unbreathable?
Guest Speaker: Mr. Lam Chiu Ying
Faced by the health-threatening air pollution crisis in Mainland China, people in Hong Kong are concerned if we are doomed to the same fate. In the meantime, Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s last haven with high ecological values, is on the verge of being ‘demolished’ for the sake of development. How do we maintain a balance between urban development and ecological conservation?
For multiple times, summer in Hong Kong saw records of air pollution exceeding acceptable standards; which stirred up conversations about air pollution in the city. Is air in Hong Kong already unbreathable? Is it because we have too many cars and inadequate green space? What does urban planning have to do with the air we breathe every day?
Meteorology holds the answer, but this, however, fails to convince the government, which prioritises the issue of insufficient land, not to attempt to urbanise country parks and green zones. Is this narrow developmental principle more destructive than pollution? From how unbreathable our air is, Dr. Lam discussed all the key factors steering substantial changes, including policies, public mindset, as well as how we conceive the importance of the environment and development.
Topic: Dialogue with Mr. Wong Kam Sing, G.BS., Secretary for the Environment
Over the past years, the Environment Bureau has enacted policies to combat air pollution. Mr Wong Kam Sing was invited to discuss governmental efforts, effectiveness and future plans.