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            august 23, 2019

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Containerships are biggest source of air pollution in Hong Kong today


Containerships are the top source of major air pollutants in Hong Kong, according to the Environmental Protection Department's latest emission inventory. In 2016 shipping in Hong Kong waters produced 8,540 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 32,900 tonnes of nitrogen oxide and 1,480 tonnes of PM2.5 pollution, reported the South China Morning Post.
In 2015 the government introduced a law requiring marine vessels to switch to low sulphur fuel while at berth in Hong Kong. One year later officials announced sulphur concentrations had decreased by between 30 and 50 per cent. The regulation will be changed in 2019 to require all ships operating in Hong Kong waters to switch to low sulphur fuel.
Marine Department statistics show that overall the number of ocean-going vessels arriving in Hong Kong has fluctuated over the past decade but the figure rose by 7.8 per cent last year from 2016.
Aviation accounts for one per cent of Hong Kong's air pollution. Data collected via air quality monitoring in Tung Chung suggests that the local impact can be severe, with massive fluctuations in pollutants found near the airport. Ozone plateaued at concentrations of up to 86 micrograms per cubic metre of air in 2017.
Air traffic at the airport soared from a total of 295,000 international passenger and cargo flights in 2007 to 421,000 in 2017, an increase of 43 per cent.
As polluted as the city's air can appear, it is important to consider the bigger picture: in the long term, measures to reduce emissions do seem to be having a positive impact.

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