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Last updated at 18:23 GMT, Friday, 14 January 2011

Hong Kong pollution bad for business


1 December 2010

A quarter of people working in Hong Kong are thinking about leaving because of its air pollution. A new report from the Civic Exchange organisation says this would not be good for local financial businesses.

Annemarie Evans

People at a harbour in Hong Kong


Click to hear the report:


On yet another hazy day in Hong Kong, the report "Less Talk, More Action" shows the growing frustration here about air quality. Six hundred randomly selected people were asked for their views on air pollution. One in four said they were seriously considering leaving Hong Kong and finding somewhere healthier. Among them were the majority of postgraduate students polled and 38% of professionals. But it's not just the wealthier contingent who want to leave. Shirley Wong is a 37-year-old saleswoman, living in a small flat in Kowloon. She told me she would love to move into a more rural area and away from the city high-rises.

"Because my boyfriend, he has an allergy, we think definitely if we live in the more remote areas with more trees and plants, his allergy can be cured. But because I have to work in the urban area and I don't have a choice because of the money concern, I can only stay here."

More than 400 professional drivers were also quizzed about air pollution here. They said they feared for their health, even breathing the air inside their vehicles. With 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 don't trust that government to do anything about it.

Annemarie Evans, BBC News, Hong Kong


Click to hear the vocabulary:


hazy day

day when it is difficult to see clearly through the air, perhaps due to smoke, fog or air pollution

growing frustration

increasing feelings of being annoyed


in this context: people's opinions

randomly selected

chosen with no particular aim or method

wealthier contingent

group of people who earn or have more money


in this context: very tall buildings or skyscrapers

the money concern

worries about not having enough money to live


asked or questioned

feared for their health

were worried that they would become ill

less desirable

less attractive or popular

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