The weather has been interesting in Hong Kong recently. Actually, I have no idea what the weather has really been like, because it has been invisible behind the veil of pollution we’ve been living under. Two days ago the air pollution index in Hong Kong exceeded 500. The previous high was 201 back in 2004 or 202 in 2008, depending on who you want to believe. Of course, it is also important to note that Hong Kong refused to adopt the standard benchmark index for pollution back in 1995, instead setting its own scale, which it has “adjusted” on several occasions. In 2005, local academics published a fairly succinct article explaining how the delusional approach to pollution ratings was lethal.
As you can see, a lot has changed.
Well, to be fair, there is a big campaign in the MTR stations now with posters proclaiming that everyday three people die from Hong Kong’s air pollution. But since the pollution index went off the charts two days ago after the posters have been up for a month, I guess they are not having the desired effects. You can also get the “real” reading of the pollution here.
When people started hacking and coughing and complaining about the air the other day, the government was quick to point out that this was the fault of sandstorms in China, thus the issue was climate change and not actually pollution. Which is not entirely accurate, but it does bring up another important issue, which is that authorities have been categorically ignoring the climate issues too. Hmmm… climate and pollution related?
In light of the latest air pollution scenario (not sure if I am glad to know that I likely woke up with severe head pain because of the air rather than the two beers I consumed the evening previous…) what has Hong Kong done? Well, they said people should stop smoking, and pointed at a deer and called it a horse. In other words, the press decried the assertions of pollution and said it was climate change.
Wait, didn’t we already go over that?
- The worlds’ largest electronic waste site in Guiyu, Shantou, Guangdong with easily accessible trips to numerous black rivers
- The Pearl River, aka “The World’s Factory Floor”
- Lamma Island’s own (woo hoo – a hometown favorite!) Power Station Beach!
- Causeway Bay Roadside Pollution Station… likely to be as active as the US debt clock soon. (Okay, that may be a bit overstated. Maybe.)
Seriously. I think they may be on to something. And then eventually they might even make this list. But, today, the pollution is invisible – just that pesky NO and CO2 that seems like it doesn’t matter if you can’t see it… So, breathe deep and remember what Frank told us long ago:
[Hong Kong smog-sunset photo from HK Outdoors]