Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Hong Kong group launches air pollution campaign

By Annemarie Evans
BBC News, Hong Kong

Apartments and houses in Hong Kong
Blue skies are increasingly rare in Hong Kong due to pollution

More than 200 companies in Hong Kong have launched the first business-led petition to urge the government to combat worsening air pollution.

The Petition for Clean Air is organised by an environmental group, the Clean Air Network, which wants the government to clean up the smog.

By harnessing the support of the business community, environmentalists hope to reach all sectors of society.

The city's world-famous skyline is regularly enveloped in haze.

Roadside pollution reached very high levels on one in every eight days last year, and the group says three deaths a day can be attributed to the city's air pollution.

Political push

This month the group has organised more than 200 restaurants, cafes and gyms in a campaign to collect signatures from customers, hoping that the combined power of businesses and the public will force the government to address its pollution problem.

There are tens of thousands of factories across the border in southern China which adversely affect Hong Kong's air quality, but the network says the main problem is roadside pollution.

Joanne Ooi, chief executive of the Clean Air Network, says it is time for the government to act.

"The goal of the campaign is actually to educate the general public about how air pollution affects their health, so that they will speak out in favour of better and tighter air quality management policy for Hong Kong.

"Specifically I want the people of Hong Kong to tell their politicians that they support the use of the government's money for air quality clean-up measures," she said.

The haze which now perpetually covers one of the world's most famous skylines has also discouraged international corporations and professionals from basing themselves in Hong Kong.

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