Hong Kong pollution 'prompts 25% to consider leaving'

Air pollution over Hong Kong on 22 March 2010 Much of the city is shrouded on bad days

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One in four people would like to leave Hong Kong because of its worsening air pollution, new data from a think tank has revealed.

Those people seriously considering leaving tended to be wealthier and better-educated people, said the Civic Exchange report.

It warned this could lead to a brain drain from the finance centre.

The results were taken from a sample of 600 randomly selected people asked for their views on air pollution.

On yet another hazy day in Hong Kong, the report Less Talk, More Action shows the growing frustration here about air quality.

Nearly 52% of postgraduate students polled and about a third of Hong Kong's wealthiest said they were planning or seriously considering leaving to find somewhere healthier.

Money issues

But it is not just the wealthier contingent who want to leave. Shirley Wong is a 37-year-old saleswoman living in a small flat in Shamshuipo.

She told the BBC she would like to move to a more rural area, away from the city high-rises.

"Because my boyfriend has an allergy, we think definitely if we live in a more remote area with more trees and plants, his allergy can be cured.

"But I don't have a choice because of money concerns - I have to stay here," she said.

More than 400 professional drivers were also quizzed about air pollution.

They said they feared for their health even breathing the air inside their vehicles.

With its continuing pollution problems, Hong Kong has become a far less desirable place to live.

The report also showed that while Hong Kong people trust that their government understands there is a problem, they do not trust their government to do anything about it.

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