PM2.5 concentration highest in Des Voeux Road Central
CAN: Pedestrian plaza is the solution
Think-tank Civic Exchange and Institute for the Environment of HKUST today released a report revealing PM2.5 pollution along the tramway. They found that annual average PM2.5 concentrations were highest along Des Voeux Road Central (close to 55 µg/m3), followed by Hennessy Road/Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay. High PM2.5 concentrations were also found in Des Voeux Road West in Western District and King’s Road in North Point. Hong Kong’s annual average air quality objective (AQO) for PM2.5 is 35 µg/m3, whereas WHO’s recommended standard is 10 µg/m3.
They also discovered that the daily average PM2.5 concentrations exceeded WHO AQG in Central and Causeway Bay (about 280 days), Western District, Admiralty and most of Wan Chai (over 200 days), North Point (over 150 days), and Eastern District (over 80 days).
Clean Air Network believes these findings clearly demonstrated the street cayon effect. It also proved the inadequate focusing on end-of-pipe solutions- retiring old commercial diesel vehicles and retrofitting catalytic converters on LPG taxis and vans. Hong Kong needs to overhaul the current supply-led transport management and facilitate a more sustainable traffic planning. These are the responsibilities of Transport Bureau.
As the study pointed out, Des Voeux Road Central suffered from the highest pollution. There already existed a perfect plan to tackle the issue: pedestrianization of the road. Last year, Hong Kong Institute has proposed the stages of pedestrianizing the area to improve air quality.
In New York, a permanent 30,000 sq ft pedestrian plaza was transformed from multi-lanes highway on Broadway in New York’s Times Square. The plaza achieved a 40 to 60 per cent decrease in vehicle-generated pollutants and business has flourished.
With the development of Central-Wan Chai Bypass, the traffic flow of Connaught Road and Des Voeux Road is expected to decrease. Hong Kong should rise up to the opportunity to become a true world-class city. CAN suggests that the government consider the plan of Des Voeux Road Central pedestrian- and tram-only precinct. CAN believes such measure can fundamentally improve the air quality in the area and encourage citizens to walk instead of driving.