Authorities must control the growing number of cars in China's southern province of Guangdong to reduce air pollution in neighboring Hong Kong, the territory's environmental secretary said Thursday.
HONG KONG − Authorities must control the growing number of cars in China's southern province of Guangdong to reduce air pollution in neighboring Hong Kong, the territory's environmental secretary said Thursday.
About 80 percent of the air pollution in Hong Kong, which is often obscured by smog, is believed to blow in from mainland China.
Hong Kong, with a population of 6.8 million, has half a million cars, while Guangdong's capital of Guangzhou, with a population 7.3 million, already has 1.7 million -- triple the number five years ago, Hong Kong's Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao said.
"That growth is astounding, and if that growth continues, it will be very very difficult to hope, to even hope that air pollution will come down," Liao said in a speech.
She urged Guangdong authorities to develop the province's public transportation system. Liao noted some progress has been made, with the central Chinese government clearing the province to start planning an intercity light rail system.
"So we hope in the future that people across the border would be persuaded to use public transport and not to aspire to the ownership of a car," she said.
Liao said officials from Hong Kong and Guangdong have agreed to cut down on harmful emissions, and 16 monitoring stations have been set up in Guangdong to keep track of progress.
Calls to the Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau seeking comment went unanswered.
Separately, Hong Kong's largest polluter, power company CLP Holdings Ltd., announced Wednesday it will reduce emissions by generating more power with liquefied natural gas and shifting away from coal.
CLP Holdings will also install sulfur-removing facilities at its power generators.
Source: Associated Press