What We Do About Air Pollution

Standard Page - 2011-06-23
Greenpeace is one of the leading NGOs working on campaigns to reduce sources of air pollution in China and to change Hong Kong’s air pollution standards.


11 March 2014

A Greenpeace activists and her daughter wear respirator masks and hold a banner reading “No PM2.5”.

Greenpeace continues to do in-depth investigations and original reportage on the urgent issue of air pollution in China. You can read all of these publications here.

We are also campaigning against China's biggest cause of air pollution – coal.

Coal contributes the bulk of the country's emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. We are pushing for China to reduce – and eventually end – its use of coal. China has abundant potential for clean, zero emissions energy such as wind and solar. Switching to these energy sources would make a huge difference for air quality.

Read more about our campaign against coal.

You can also look at our special feature written in 2013 by Greenpeace East Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Huang Wei. She writes of how it took China more than five years to finally decide to reduce coal in order to solve the country's smog problem - and how we were there every step of the way.

Read: "How China's air pollution worries led to a curb in coal use".

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, Greenpeace has been working to push the government to update its Air Quality Objectives, which are 20 years out of date and far below World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

You may think the air in Hong Kong to be quite clean if you only looked at the Hong Kong government's own Air Pollution Index. But in fact, that would be misleading, as it is calculated using targets far below than what the WHO recommends as healthy.

To reveal Hong Kong's real air quality, we have published an application that compares air pollution data from all 14 of Hong Kong's monitoring stations to WHO guidelines. Don't worry about understanding complex data: though you can view this data as a graph or as a map, you can also download a bilingual (English/Chinese), easy-to-use iPhone application.

The application takes data from your nearest air-quality monitoring station and evaluates it against WHO guidelines – so that you can know the real quality of the air you’re breathing no matter where you are in Hong Kong.

We are also campaigning for Hong Kong to adopt greater energy efficiency renewable energy standards. If we use less electricity, then we can reduce the load of the coal-fired power plants that supply Hong Kong Electric and China Light & Power, the SAR's two main power plant companies.

In the past, Greenpeace has also launched surveys and online petitions to push the government to review and update its Air Quality Objectives. Though the government did conduct a review in 2009, they have yet to update the AQOs.