Haze Reaches Record Level in Hong Kong
While a metaphorical cloud shrouds New York City today, an all-too-real one is suffocating the city of Hong Kong, where pollution levels have set record highs this week, obscuring skyscrapers and prompting officials to warn people to stay indoors. Earlier this week, smog levels reached a record 185 on an air pollution index where any reading over 100 is considered dangerously high. Hong Kong’s leader, Tung Chee-hwa, has made environmental cleanup a priority, to some success; for example, 90 percent of the city’s 18,000 taxis switched from diesel to cleaner fuels in the last two years. However, the dirty air persists, and it is breeding some resentment in the former British colony because much of the pollution comes from the 18,000 factories in Guangdong, a neighboring province in China, where environmental regulation is lax at best. “No matter how good we are, they still have to solve the other half of the problem,” said Ng Cho-nam, a university professor and president of Hong Kong’s Conservancy Association.