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Author: Dicky Chen, Antonio Da Roza

Originally: Civic Exchange

Date: 10/8/10

Originally: May 2009


The shortcomings in the Hong Kong Government’s approach to protecting the public from air pollution include:


- So far, resisting reviewing and correcting the deep flaws in the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, including taking a nuisance-based, rather than a health-based approach to enforcement and failing to address the absence of a regular health-based review mechanism for air quality management


- The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) seems reluctant to set air quality standards that prioritise the protection of public health. It appears more concerned that setting tight standards will draw attention to how bad Hong Kong’s air quality really is, and that tighter standards may make it difficult to approve new infrastructure projects. Indeed, the proposed AQO for sulphur dioxide permits higher emissions than those we currently experience – which is contrary to the terms of both the CRC and ICESCR for progressive achievement


- The EPD has so far not set a date to ban polluting old engines.


- The Department of Health plays no part in the air quality management strategy. EPD has no medical expertise and lacks the competence to determine appropriate standards and strategies to protect public health.


- The Hong Kong Government makes no provision for siting schools away from busy roads, nor for protecting children in their homes from roadside air pollution.


The Hong Kong Government is failing to meet its obligations under Articles 24 and 27 of the CRC for States to provide an environment that does not prejudice health, prevent healthy development or obstruct the combat of disease. Hong Kong is also failing in its obligations to protect the right to health of its children, which constitutes a breach of Article 2 and arguably Article 6 of the CRC.

Endnote

  1. http://www.civic-exchange.org/eng/upload/files/090529UNCRC.pdf - last accessed 10/8/10

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