空氣質素對旅遊發展的影響

香港空氣污濁問題日益嚴重。日前環保組織地球之友做了一項調查,訪問百多名導遊,受訪者近四成表示聽過遊客投訴空氣質素差,有百分之四聽過遊客說因為香港空氣污染而不會重遊。旅遊發展局對此的反應是,每年只收到一至兩名旅客投訴香港空氣污染嚴重,反映空氣問題非主要投訴項目。

其實,大家應該想一想,到了更多遊客向旅遊發展局投訴空氣污染時,香港的旅遊業已蒙受多麼嚴重的打擊?

限制車輛進城

幾年前,曾經到墨西哥跑了一趟,第一站是首都墨西哥城。翻開旅遊書,書上有兩項警告:一、小心扒手和盜竊搶掠。二、空氣污染。第一項不須解釋,第二項或可供香港參照。

原來墨西哥城因為車輛和工業廢氣排出量多,引致空氣嚴重污染,而且城市位於環山的谷地,廢氣聚而不散;在冷暖氣流交嶽氶A更會出現逆溫效應,暖氣流把污染物困在地面,令空氣更為污濁。除了污染,墨西哥城還因地勢高,空氣較稀薄缺氧。旅遊書警告,旅客可能會出現呼吸困難或頭痛等情況。

飛抵墨西哥城,一位當地朋友來接機,駕車送我們到旅館。車在途中被警察截停,朋友和警察爭議了幾分鐘。原來他的車是單數車牌,當日不能進城。大概是警察通融,又或者他付了款,終於放行。後來才想到,這種限制車輛進城的措施,很可能和空氣污染有關。

港人無奈接受

香港的空氣質素倘若持續惡化,相信很快也會像墨西哥城那樣,各種旅遊書會列出一項警告,要遊客小心香港的空氣質素。到那時候,即使香港官方再大力宣傳旅遊,外地遊客可能也只會裹足不前,對香港敬而遠之。

當然,更嚴重的問題是,在香港生活的人也需要呼吸。一位移民之後回流的朋友說,因為香港空氣污染情況令人愈來愈擔心,他相信無法在港終老,遲早還是要再次離港而去。

另一位在香港工作了十多年的外國人說,他喜歡香港的生活方式,但對於退休後留在香港的前景卻很不樂觀,主要的原因是香港的空氣污染太嚴重。他說:連呼吸也有困難,又怎能留得住人呢!但香港絕大多數人不像那位回流朋友或留港工作的老外那樣,他們沒甚麼去路,要在這埵w身立命,要呼吸這堛漯躓臐C

胸肺病患增加

空氣污染是導致多種胸肺病患的主要原因,尤其影響上了年紀的人。近期有調查顯示,香港的長者胸肺病患有大幅上升的趨勢,患支氣管炎和肺氣腫的比率均較往年增加。這種情況,不用醫學界人士多作解說,原因肯定與空氣質素惡化有關。

再回說墨西哥城,因為空氣污染嚴重,有關當局勸喻 市民避免作劇烈運動和盡量留在室內。在香港,人們也經常聽到同樣的官方勸喻。不過,墨西哥城為了應付空氣污染,還有其他嚴峻的措施,包括下令大工廠減少營運,限制車輛使用道路,停止建築項目施工。但願香港不至於要到了必須採取類似的措施時,才真正設法去改善空氣質素吧。

Air pollution harming tourism, poll warns                                                                                        2006-03-27

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has warned that deteriorating air quality could damage Hong Kong's tourism, after a poll showed that nearly 40 per cent of tourist guides had received complaints from tourists about air pollution in the territory.

The environmental group interviewed 129 tourist guides, including 101 from the mainland, earlier this month at The Peak, Golden Bauhinia Square and the Cultural Centre about their views on air pollution in Hong Kong.

Nearly 50 per cent of the respondents were dissatisfied with the air pollution, describing the problem as "severe" or "very severe". About 40 per cent said they had received complaints from tourists about poor air quality.

Furthermore, 14 guides reported tourists feeling unwell on days with bad air pollution and five said tourists had told them they would not visit Hong Kong again because of the pollution.

"It is alarming that Hong Kong is damaging its tourist image as the Pearl of the Orient, an image which it has built up hard for years," said FoE's environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung.

"For example, the scenic Victoria Harbour originally had a good name internationally, but the haze now often defaces the harbour view."

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, one in 10.7 days in 2002 had low visibility but last year the frequency surged to one in 3.6 days.

Mr Chu attributed the air pollution to several sources, including industrial development in the Pearl River Delta and local electricity suppliers.

Other factors include local greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles and poor urban planning where a dense concentration of skyscrapers traps emissions causing temperatures to rise.

FoE is calling on people to join an online signature campaign, run jointly with environmental body Greenpeace, to express their concern over the air pollution to the Economic Development and Labour Bureau. The bureau is seeking public opinion about the future development of the electricity market.

觀賞維港灰濛濛用手抹臉烏卒卒 港空氣差嚇走遊客

本港近年飽受空氣嚴重污染困擾,令東方之珠「蒙塵」。環保組織地球之友一項調查顯示,近四成受訪導遊曾聽過遊客投訴本港空氣污染嚴重,一成一更稱曾見過有遊客因空氣污染而感到身體不適,有遊客更表示因此不會再來港旅遊。地球之友指空氣污染正嚴重打擊本港旅遊業,要求政府加快減排步伐。

地球之友本月八至十日到山頂、灣仔金紫荊廣場及尖沙咀文化中心,訪問一百二十九名導遊,結果發現近五成受訪者認為香港空氣污染嚴重,三成八受訪者則表示聽過遊客對本港空氣的投訴,約一成一則表示見過有遊客因此感到不適;百分之四受訪者更表示,有遊客因空氣污染嚴重表明不會重遊本港。

機場能見度衰過兩年前

有外國旅客表示,本想看看維港兩岸景色,但結果只看到灰濛濛一片;用手抹臉時更看見黑色一片,顯示污染情況嚴重,希望政府盡力改善。

地球之友助理總幹事劉祉鋒指出,本港近年已發生多次空氣污染引發的「國際醜聞」,包括最近有馬拉松跑手在污濁空氣中不幸喪生。根據天文台紀錄,去年機場能見度出現低於八公里的日子共有一百零一日,即平均每三點六日便會出現一次,是二年的三倍。

劉祉鋒表示,空氣污染影響本港的國際形象,也令旅遊收益受損,促請政府盡早檢討及收緊已過時的空氣質素指標,要求電力公司減少燃煤、積極推動可再生能源及淘汰歐盟前期的重型柴油車量等,並推動粵港兩地加快二年減排步伐。地球之友稍後會將調查結果交給環境運輸及工務局跟進。

旅遊發展局總幹事臧明華表示,該局十分關注本港空氣污染問題,每年平均也收到一至兩名旅客投訴。她承認旅客來港大多會上山頂欣賞維港風景,空氣不好會影響他們的旅遊經歷,呼籲各界協助保護環境。

環境保護署回應表示,該署會積極改善空氣質素,要求電力公司減少發電廠排放的廢氣,鼓勵使用可再生能源,亦向汽車用戶發出減少廢氣的指引。環保署又指出,政府會加強與內地合作,減少地區空氣污染。

長跑王為子女健康移民

本港空氣污染問題日益嚴重,來港八年的「長跑王」馬克威廉斯(Mark Williams)指出空氣污染已達不能接受水平,為一對年幼子女的健康想,決定放棄在港的體壇地位,全家移居擁有清新空氣及綠化環境的新西蘭。

三十四歲的威廉斯過去四年贏得七成的本地長跑賽事錦標,有「長跑王」美譽。他表示,香港空氣質素日差,令他升出現皮膚敏感,練習時亦常感到眼睛刺痛,迫使他需放棄在港的體壇榮譽,不得不另投他鄉。

Bad air spells threat to tourism

Nearly 40 per cent of tour guides polled by Friends of the Earth said visitors to Hong Kong complained about poor air quality, prompting the group to warn that pollution is putting tourism at risk.

 

The group interviewed 129 tour guides at The Peak, Golden Bauhinia Square and the Cultural Centre between March 8 and 10.

About half rated the air quality as either severe or very severe, while only 5.5 per cent said it was good. Nearly 40 per cent said that tourists had complained about air pollution, with 10 per cent saying they had seen visitors fall ill because of the smog.

The group said 4 per cent of the guides had been told at least once by tourists they were not likely to return because of the air pollution.

Friends of the Earth assistant director Edwin Lau Che-feng said both the opening of Disneyland last year and the 2003 visit by Yang Liwei , China's first man in space, were marred by poor air quality.

At the airport, where most tourists gain their first impression of Hong Kong, the number of days with low visibility hit a record high last year, he said.

[The survey] has sent the government a clear, alarming signal that our international image as the Pearl of the Orient is on the verge of being tarnished, Mr Lau said.

He urged the government to restrict emissions from power plants and vehicles, and promote energy conservation.

A mainland tour guide leading a group from Dongguan yesterday said the smog did affect visitors' enjoyment, but tourists visiting the city for the first time were able to overlook it. They don't really mind the air quality, even though it is not good sometimes, she said.

Clara Chong Ming-wah, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said it was very concerned about air quality, but only received a few complaints a year. She said the board would appeal for the tourism sector to help clean up the air with moves such as turning off idling engines.

 

Pollution must be dealt with - before it's too late

The pall of smog blanketing Hong Kong has been much in evidence again over the past week. And, if the results of two surveys reported today are any guide, it is well and truly hurting our health and wealth.

Pollution index readings last Thursday were at near highs - just one indication that efforts by the government, power companies and other polluters here and in Guangdong have borne little fruit. Try as they might, they cannot wholly blame weather patterns and Hong Kong's geographical features.

A study by the environmental group Friends of the Earth found that almost 40 per cent of the 129 tour guides surveyed had received complaints from tourists about the quality of our air. Ten per cent said that they had had to deal with clients falling sick from the pollution. The air was at times so bad that 4 per cent of the guides had been told by tourists it was unlikely they would revisit Hong Kong.

With tourism so crucial to our economy, such findings should be ringing alarm bells. Yet, in some quarters, perhaps they will only raise a shrug of the shoulders and a resigned continuation of present policies.

That surely has been the case with the frequent research carried out over the past decade or more on the effect of pollution on the health of Hong Kong's people. Each study has shown that it is cutting into our life span, raising public health-care costs and reducing our effectiveness at work.

The latest, a Chinese University and Hong Kong Lung Foundation Research survey, found that respiratory problems among people aged 70 or more had risen six times over the past 12 years. Respiratory experts blamed air pollution and called on the government to quickly implement a smoking ban in public places.

Putting a smoking ban into practice is simple compared with dealing with cuts in emissions, especially from factories across the border, yet the government has still taken five years to get to the point of agreeing to push ahead with a partial smoking ban in indoor public places. Even then, it has watered down the proposed legislation.

Pollution is a serious issue: half-measures and compromises cannot be considered when the health of the community is at risk. But that is not all that is lost, either - we are also losing valuable members of society.

This newspaper reported last week that Executive Councillor Charles Lee Yeh-kwong is gradually relinquishing his public duties on the advice of his doctor, and a source cited worsening asthma caused by air pollution. Replacing Mr Lee will not be easy - apart from being a member of the Executive Council, he also serves on many public bodies and was the preferred candidate to become the first non-executive chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission.

We are also losing one of our top athletes, runner Mark Williams, who has won 70 per cent of the local competitions in which he has taken part. Feeling he is unable to train because of pollution, he and his family are leaving the city. His reasoning was doubtless the same as that passing through the minds of other residents: it is wrong for his children to grow up in the foul air we all now have to breathe.

We cannot all leave; yet the sense of urgency felt by people such as Mr Williams does not seem to be felt by the government. It has taken steps, helping to put in place a monitoring system in Guangdong, cutting vehicle emissions and pressuring the power companies to change their ways. Yet that is clearly not enough.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen pledged last year that combating pollution would be one of his priorities. There needs to be a comprehensive plan of action to assess the problem and tackle it. Action is needed and it must be taken now - before our health, image and competitiveness have been damaged beyond repair.