Hong Kong Phooey
Hong Kong businesses are starting to worry that the city’s abysmal air quality and pollution problems will hinder their ability to attract talented new employees. Hong Kong’s smog problems are largely the result of diesel-powered vehicles in the city and factories in the nearby Chinese province of Guangdong. Ozone levels, an indicator of smog, have risen nearly 50 percent since 1990, and congested sections of the city have dangerously high levels of airborne lead, sulfate, and carbon. Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has promised to convert all diesel taxis to cleaner fuels by 2005, but a strong taxi and bus lobby may hinder his efforts. “The environment will become a significant factor in getting people and businesses to come to Hong Kong,” says Barrie Cook, a Hong Kong businessman who assembled the Hong Kong Business Coalition on the Environment.