The Clean Air Network, a concerned green group in the city, said in mid-July that concentrations of nitrogen oxides in the air in the city have consistently surpassed maximum safe levels set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the last five years. In its mid-year review, Clean Air Network said the average roadside emissions of nitrogen oxides in the city's three business districts (Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok) were 2.5 times higher than WHO standards.
The Hedley Environmental Index estimated that a total of 23,378 doctors' visits at government clinics and hospitals were required due to pollution-related diseases on July 10, 2016, about three times the 7,735 visits recorded on July 15, 2015. Meanwhile, the visits cost the government HK$19.8 million on July 10 alone - up more than 200 percent from HK$6.13 million a year earlier, according to the Hedley index.
In short, it is imperative for the government to take swift and bold actions to control air pollution in the city and save precious lives. Curtailing the growth of the number of private cars is one aspect the government must consider implementing urgently. A cleaner city means happier and healthier people, which is conducive to higher productivity and economic output.