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May, 2006:

Choking on China Exports

Choking on China’s Exports

In Part Three of a Four-Part Series on Hong Kong’s Air Pollution, Douglas Woodring, Associate, Civic Exchange calls our attention to low-quality and adulterated fuels from across the border which have exacerbated local air pollution problems. There are measures Hong Kong-owned manufacturing companies can take to reduce pollution across the PRD sooner, rather than later, he reports.

By most estimates, there are more than 70,000 Hong Kong owned factories in Guangdong, the world’s manufacturing engine, and our backdoor. Guangdong’s power consumption is the highest in China by a large margin (over 35 per cent more than booming Shanghai’s consumption). As the value of Guangdong’s exports continues to rise, we in Hong Kong, along with the residents of the PRD, pay the price with rapidly deteriorating living conditions, mainly in the form of air pollution and poor health.

In order to keep China’s export engine running, reliable electricity is necessary. A shortage of electricity supply in Guangdong, however, has resulted in manufacturers using non-grid power via private generators which are powered by low-quality and adulterated fuels. This has greatly exacerbated air pollution problems over the past few years, and although Hong Kong cannot regulate what happens across the border, we believe there are voluntary measures Hong Kong-owned manufacturing companies can explore (see page 4) to help reduce air pollution in the PRD.

Full story here: