Response to EPD criticism of Greenpeace API

Press release - 2005-03-02
Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department (EPD) reacted angrily to the public launch yesterday of Greenpeace's AIr Pollution Index (API), calling the index "unscientific and misleading [for] the public". The Greenpeace API, which is updated hourly, was launched on www.greenpeace.org.cn yesterday morning in order to give the public more accurate information about Hong Kong's air quality.

Greenpeace campaigners in front of Central Air Quality Measuring Station

Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department (EPD) reacted angrily to the public launch yesterday of Greenpeace's Air Pollution Index (API) calling it index "unscientific and misleading [for] the public". The Greenpeace API, which is updated hourly, was launched on www.greenpeace.org.cn yesterday morning in order to give the public more accurate information about Hong Kong's air quality.

Greenpeace campaigner, Sze-chung Chow said that the EPD was confusing the problem, "The real problem is that the Air Quality Objectives (AQO) are much looser than those for the EU, the internationally accepted standard. The calculations that we use to get to the Greenpeace API are based on the EU standard, so are the EPD in effect calling the EU system unscientific and inaccurate?"

Chow urged the government to face the problem and immediately revise the AQO so that Hong Kong people can know the truth. "The difference between the two APIs shows that the acceptable concentration in the existing API is far higher than the international standard because our AQO has not been revised since 1987".

Chow also criticised the Environmental Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB), the agency responsible for Hong Kong's AQO, for not dealing with the problem. The ETWB has yet to respond to Greenpeace's calls for a much overdue revision of the AQO. "The EPD's reduction of Hong Kong's air pollution problem to technicalities shows us that they are not taking the problem seriously", Chow added.

According to the recent opinion survey on air pollution that Greenpeace commissioned The Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies to conduct in early February, more than 80 per cent of respondents thought that Hong Kong's air pollution was serious. In addition, 70 per cent wanted the government to revise the AQO immediately.

Chow urged the government to face the problem and immediately undertake a revision of the current outdated AQO.

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