The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge could be an express route to worsening air pollution for Hong Kong as the link opens the door to mainland vehicles with lower emissions controls, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday, citing green group Hong Kong Clean Air Network.
The network made the claim based on analysis of air quality surveys that it says indicate that mainland vehicles are likely the culprits of rising ozone levels in the region.
Clean Air analyzed data from the city’s Environmental Protection Department and found that ozone concentrations in the city and the Pearl River Delta have risen over the last few years, with levels in the delta up 13 percent last year compared with 2006.
But, it said, the average levels of other air pollutants in HK, such as suspended PM10 particulates, fine PM2.5 particulates and sulfur dioxide, have fallen.
Ozone is a secondary pollutant produced by a chemical reaction of sunlight with other pollutants, making their sources hard to trace. Petrol and diesel vehicles on the mainland produce large amounts of pollutants, contributing to ozone formation.
Clean Air said mainland vehicle emissions standards are looser than those in Hong Kong and the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will surely bring more mainland cars to Hong Kong, degrading air quality in the city.
The bridge is expected to open in 2016 and bring an estimated 9,200 to 14,000 vehicles to Hong Kong each day.
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