In recent years, there are more people care about the environment and try to strike a balance between economic development and environmental protection. However, more complete transportation network implies a more well-developed city, more transport implies more emissions and pollution. Pollution problems are always significant issues that the government should handle. The air quality of Hong Kong is worsening. The air pollution problems will lead to public health issues, increase the government medical expenditure and the cost of living, decrease the live quality of Hong Kong and damage the living environment. If the government can carry out more measures to lower the pollution caused by transportation, this city will have better economic performance and improve the image of Hong Kong.
The transport problem —air pollution Under globalization, Hong Kong becomes a cargo hub in both air freight and marine. Hong Kong also is a well-developed city with a relatively perfect transportation network. However, the main source of air pollutants in Hong Kong is transportation, which including aviation, shipping, and land transportation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2018), air pollution can be defined as the air which is contaminated by chemical, biological, or physical pollutants and can be divided into visible and invisible air pollution.
There are some key pollutants are harmful to health. For example, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3) (WHO, 2018). 3. The causes of social concern 3.1. Public health issues When the air quality decreases, the higher the potential that people will have related health problems. The effect of air pollutants on the human body depends on the level of exposure. As WHO (2018) mentions that the longer the exposure time to the particulate matter (e.g., PM2.5) the more serious damage to human organs will be caused. For the short period of exposure, the contaminants will irritate eyes, noses, and throats.
Prolonged and continuous exposure, it may increase the risk of suffering respiratory infection and lung impairment. It may also lead to more serious chronic effects like reducing the lung function, increasing the chance of suffering from lung cancer, ischemic heart disease or stroke. Since there may be more citizens need medical services due to the low air quality, the medical expenditure of the government will increase. The government has the responsibility to provide proper medical care to its citizens. Therefore, the government will pay attention to this problem.
As mentioned in the above, the air pollutants will cause damage to the human body and lead to different health problems, which will also lead to a decrease in income and live quality. People may be unable to work under a high level of air pollution or because of the disease caused by air pollution problems. Less income is earned, less disposable money can be used. This will lower the live quality as the level of satisfaction in both material and mental are lowered. Since the air pollution problem will increase the cost of living and decrease the quality of living, more citizens will concern about this problem.
Environmental damage The air pollution problem is affecting not only humans’ lives but also animals’ living condition. According to Mann (2018), greenhouse gas (GHG) is any gas that can absorb or trap infrared radiation and cause climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are the greenhouse gases which come from burning fuels for transportation. If there are more GHG are produced, the situation of the earth will be more dangerous. For instance, when the average temperature of the earth increases, the sea level is rising because of melting glaciers.
This will damage the living condition of many people and animals who live in coastal cities. Therefore, environmentalists will raise the awareness of protecting the environment. The current understanding of the problems Land transportation The air quality of roadsides is affected by the emission of vehicles. Most of the vehicles on the road are using petrol as fuel to drive the car. However, this type of vehicle will emit N2O and other pollutants which are harmful to human health. Brimblecombe and Ning (2015) report that the air quality had obvious improvement during the road blockage when there was a protest. This implies that the vehicles on the road have important roles in the air pollution problem.
Aviation and Shipping Apart from the local transportation, regional and global transportation that related to Hong Kong also contributes a lot to global warming issues. According to the report written by To (2015), shipping has more cargo movement than aviation; however, aviation produces relatively more air pollutants than shipping
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