To what extent is the city of Hong Kong dealing with the effects of rapid urbanization and industrialization on its surrounding ecosystem? This historical investigation seeks to evaluate how the city of Hong Kong has dealt with the environmental market after the effects of rapid urbanization and industrialization. The core of this investigation summarizes the environmental problems Hong Kong has been facing and describes how they erupted.
The investigation then will move on to depict different ways Hong Kong is dealing with these problems. It will see whether the government or private industries or investors are making an effort to clean up the environment and how much money they are putting up to do so. The Other Hong Kong Report 1992 and Hong Kong, by C.P. Lo, are two of the sources to be analyzed in this investigation. They will be evaluated in terms of the authors’ purposes, values, and limitations of their historical context.
B. Summary of the Evidence After decades of paying little regard to the environment, the last ten years have seen dramatic changes in the Hong Kong environmental market. The Hong Kong Government has developed sweeping environmental regulations and guidelines for industry and the public, and has commenced broad-reaching environmental infrastructure projects to improve both the quality of life and the environment in Hong Kong. In support of this commitment, the Hong Kong Government is scheduled to continue to spend about two percent per year of Hong Kong’s GDP cleaning up the environment (Shipp).
In 1987, the Hong Kong Government started identifying many of its long-term environmental problems, for example: solid waste, water, wastewater, and air, and developed projects to begin to remedy these problems. The Government started the construction phase of many of these projects in the early 1990’s and is working to complete a majority of the projects by the end of this decade (Lo).
In 1991, a poll conducted by Ng Cho-nam and Ng Ting-leung showed that the citizens of Hong Kong consider air pollution as the most urgent environmental problem in the city. The government of Hong Kong has scored some success in the past with this problem but still have further to go in the future (Ng). Early in the 1990’s Hong Kong recorded reduced records of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere, some as much as eighty percent. This is mainly due to the Air Pollution Control Regulations which put restrictions on fuel (Lo). The city then started importing new light-duty vehicles in 1992 after unleaded petrol was introduced. This, however, did not solve the problem. Large diesel engines in heavy-duty vehicles contribute almost ninety-eight percent of the pollution caused by traffic (Ng).
Hong Kong’s water quality was decreasing throughout the 1980’s. Over ninety percent of the sewage was untreated. A study conducted in the early nineties showed an increase of Escherichia coli and dissolved oxygen, both indicating an increase in industrial and domestic waste around Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor (Ng). In addressing Hong Kong’s environmental infrastructure requirements, over 1.2 billion US dollars of environmental infrastructure project awards were made between 1998 and 2000. Projects that offer the greatest opportunities for US companies include a $150 million livestock slaughterhouse, $130 million for four refuse transfer stations, and a $300 million waste-to-energy incinerator, for which the feasibility study was awarded in September 1997. This 18 months study will likely be followed by a design-build-operate contract for the facility. The HKSAR Government expects to need several incinerators over the next decade (Morris).
The largest of all the environmental infrastructure projects currently being undertaken is the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme, at a cost of two to three billion US dollars. The development of the second phase, including disinfection, sludge minimization and deep oceanic outfall, occurred in 1999-2000. Some of the construction work of the third and the fourth phases was planned to be implemented concurrently with the second phase. Opportunities for US participation in this project, other municipal sewage systems and related equipment valued at $300 million, are good (Ng).
C. Evaluation of Sources “The Environment,” a chapter from The Other Hong Kong Report 1992, was published in 1992 by the Chinese University Press of Hong Kong. This section was written by Ng Cho-nam and Ng Ting-leung, both are well known environmentalists in the Hong Kong area. Ng Cho-nam is a lecturer in the Department of Applied Science, City of Polytechnic of Hong Kong. He is also the chairmen of Hong Kong Environment Centre. Ng Ting-leung is the General Secretary of the Conservancy Association.
C.P. Lo, the author of Hong Kong, was born and educated in Hong Kong. He has taught in the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Hong Kong for seventeen years before moving to the University of Georgia. There, he is Professor of Geography. His area of research is the application of remote sensing to the urban environment. He constantly monitors the changing ecological patterns of Hong Kong, and has carried out field work in the Pearl River delta of South China in connection with his research on people and environment interactions. His publications include four books and over fifty papers.
Both of these works were very similar since they were primarily based strictly research and facts. Both works were also written by Chinese authors which first hand experience in the ecosystem of Hong Kong. All three authors seem trustworthy with their statements since all specialize on this topic.