Sunday, July 22, 2007

ISA HK/China --- Tree planting to curb air pollution in HK

*** Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas.***

Dear Station Members,

The Chief Executive (CE) of the HKSAR Govt, His Excellency Mr. Donald Tsang, has recently spoken out about his desire to 'restore our Blue Sky with a magic stick' in view of our current air pollution. Details of his interview in Chinese can be visited at:

Although the result of our current air pollution is complex & would require the cooperation of our Chinese neighbours up north, there is at least one thing our Govt can do to ease the situation in our city area within our ability --- by installing Urban Trees properly.

One of the benefits of trees is trapping air pollutants in their foliage & bark, besides absorbing heat, providing shade & supplying oxygen. Western cities including Singapore have recognized these benefits years ago & they have implemented massive Tree Planting in their Greenery Program, not just for ' flowering' like China & HK emphasized so much upon, but environmental & ecological benefits as given in research. Just visit any successful Western city in Europe, America, Australia, NZ & Singapore, & check out their Tree Planting. Are their trees like ours especially in terms of structure & performance? The facts have spoken for themselves.

Another important issue our CE has mentioned is that he has encouraged our Civil Servants ' to break away from old thinking, & to openly discuss & listen to the public during policy making & resolution'. This is an excellent comment indeed so pleased to be heard by all of us, because this would mean our current Govt will no longer work like the old one making unilateral decisions without participation of public & would force-feed those policies in the hope that they would be acceptable & admired by the receptors. Hasn't HK had enough of these in the past 10 years? Otherwise, there would not be half a million protesters marching out on street in July 2005.

When it comes to Tree planting, the issue of proper Tree Care can not be ignored, because if a tree is not selected, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it will eventually become more a liability rather than an asset to our society. Just look at the number of Tree Failures in our city in the past few years. We have perhaps lost more trees in a month after typhoons in Aug 2006 in the thousands, than Singapore would have lost in total since Singapore became a nation from the 1960's. Something must have gone wrong with our mature trees & it would be difficult to imagine how happy the public would accept that. Changes in our old practices need to happen if our CE's words are correct.

ISA may have arrived in our region just a little too late. After developing in advanced nations for years, our Station has finally invited ISA to land in HK with their international connection & expertise, & it looks like ISA is here to stay, despite opposition. Because if not, ISA would simply divert the resources to our neighbours like Taiwan & China, & help them there. It is a free world for ISA indeed & the choice is on their hands.

If so happened, wouldn't it be hard then for us to swallow if we were to be taught ISA by our brothers & sisters from around with perhaps their half-English, whereas we would continue to be proud of our old practices to invite more Tree Failures in time to come ??

It appears that the choice is apparently ours.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

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