MARINE CLEAN

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

After China be­gan open­ing up in the 1980s, Hong Kong’s port be­came one of the busiest in the world, serv­ing as a ma­jor gate­way for trade with the lu­cra­tive dragon econ­omy. This has had a dis­as­trous ef­fect on the city’s air, as emis­sions from ships are about as bad as they can get. Con­tainer ships and cruise lin­ers must keep their en­gines run­ning in port to main­tain power and ser­vices. Most burn a cheap and highly toxic de­riv­a­tive of crude oil known as bunker fuel. Be­cause Hong Kong’s port is so close to its met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas, it only takes a puff of breeze to carry the ships’ fumes into the ur­ban precinct.

It’s no sur­prise that the marine trans­port sec­tor has be­come the city’s top pol­luter, re­spon­si­ble for more than half the emis­sions of sul­phur diox­ide, a third of ni­tro­gen ox­ides and almost 40 per cent of the tiny toxic par­ti­cles that in­vade the lungs. So what is be­ing done to clean things up?

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