Saturday, 17 December 2011

A Start on Clearing the Air

After years of hemming and hawing, the government finally implemented the ban on idling engines which began earlier this week.

It's the Tsang administration's weak attempt at cutting air pollution in Hong Kong.

The basic rule is that all passenger cars cannot idle for more than three minutes; if they do not comply they are slapped with a HK$320 ($41) fine.

And there are also some exemptions, such as taxis in a queue and the first two minibuses in their stands. How does that really help the situation?

It's interesting to note the ban began in December when the temperatures have dropped -- imagine what will happen in the summer. It's legislators' way of trying to gently ease people into getting used to turning off the engine... something most drivers in North America and Europe would do subconsciously.

So far some drivers in Hong Kong have "forgotten" about the new law or they found it impractical to follow.

The latter reason is amusing.

These complaints come from chauffeurs who are at the beck and call of their masters and mistresses who demand that the car be in front of the building they are at even though they are not physically at the front door yet.

One driver named Lam said that if a boss asked the driver to wait for five minutes, it seemed unreasonable for the driver to turn everything off for those few minutes. Also cars could heat up quickly in the summer and would take time to cool down again.

"Many bosses do not like stepping into a hot and stuffy car," he said.

Well, taipans and tai tais, this is the reality of the situation. It's called global warming. We are all trying to do our bit to cut the amount of greenhouse gases in the air, a good chunk of it caused by vehicle exhaust. Most of us who take public transport don't complain about having to wait in the heat, so perhaps you can suffer slightly with a car that may not be cooled down to the temperature you want.

And traffic wardens need to be more strict about enforcing the law instead of just giving polite warnings. No one is above the law.

1 comment:

  1. this measure of curbing emission is long overdue. i am glad hong kong has finally waken up to the threat of global warming. late better than never.