Jogging in the centre of the city? You must be kidding.

The other day I saw some one jogging on the side walk in Wanchai, Hong Kong. I was shocked. How could it be that some one chooses to risk his or her life by jogging in a busy area like Wanchai where heavy traffic leads to high levels of pollutants, which are  trapped by high rise buildings, making the air even worse?

I took a closer look at the jogger. It was a foreigner.  Maybe she didn’t know how polluted Hong Kong is. No locals will jog on the side walk in the centre of the city like Wanchai, or Causeway Bay. 

Hong Kong’s air-quality objectives have not changed since 1987, meaning that the city has been adopting a very low standard in defining what the minimum air quality should be. It is now in the process of adopting WHO’s international standards.

But in March, officials disclosed that the government would adopt the WHO’s least stringent emission-control level for PM2.5 and the second-loosest target for PM10. PM2.5 and PM10 are some of the key pollutants affecting asthma patients. 

The saddening fact is the city’s 10% of the children suffer from asthma, up from 4% 15 years ago. 

I hope the government will change its stance and adopt a more stringent international standard when it releases its draft report on air quality objectives next month. Public health should be always on the top of the government agenda.

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