Greens want polluting buses to be taken off roads earlier to cut breathing problems

  • 作者: Leo Li Chun Kit
  • 寫作年級: F5
  • 寫作日期: 2010
  • 學校: St Mark's School

The green group “Friends of the Earth (HK)” suggested replacing those buses under the old Euro-II emission standards with the new Euro-V buses. It is because the roadside air quality in Hong Kong (HK) is worsening and they believe that such a move can reduce the number of patients with respiratory diseases by 200,000 a year.

In a nutshell, I think the suggestion from the Friends of the Earth is great. The relevant measure should be taken in HK. There are several reasons.

First of all, the air quality is really poor in HK. When we watch the weather report on television every morning, the air pollution index is usually “High” or “Very High”. It shows that the air pollution has become a serious environmental problem in HK. According to the statistics from the Friends of the Earth, more than 1270 hours in the first 6 months of 2010 showed a “Very High” pollution level comparing to the past four years. It shows that this problem is becoming more and more serious. That’s why we must tackle the problem wisely in order to fight for a better living environment.

Second of all, bad air quality is harmful to our health and it will cause respiratory diseases. By replacing these old Euro-II buses with advanced Euro-V buses, pollutants emission will be reduced and the air quality can be improved. As a result, fewer people will suffer from respiratory diseases in the future. At the moment, the only difference between Euro-II and Euro-V buses is the level of pollutants emission. They are completely identical in terms of functioning and their performance. Therefore, it can be assumed that this replacement will not bring out any side effects.

However, there may be some difficulties when considering the feasibility of this suggestion.

As the price of Euro-V buses is very high and a large amount of money is required to discard the old Euro-II buses, a huge amount of capital is needed to carry out the plan. Afterward, the bus company may shift the cost onto their customers, which means they may increase the bus fares. Therefore, customers need to pay more for a bus ride, which is going against one of the aims of the plan.

Another possibility is that the bus companies may fear that they will become less competitive if they increase the bus fares, and hence their operating profit will decrease with the declining number of passengers. There is a risk that they will record a loss after the replacement. In view of this, bus companies are reluctant to put in such a huge amount of capital to purchase the advanced Euro-V buses.

In order to solve this problem, the HK Government is recommended to subsidize bus companies for purchasing the advanced Euro-V buses. This move will reduce their risk of making a loss. Therefore, it will motivate them to join the program.

In conclusion, government and the bus companies take important roles in this issue. As the responsibility of government is to improve our living environment, they should persuade and motivate bus companies to launch the replacement so as to improve the air quality of HK as well as our health.