Hong Kong Pollution Spurs 25% in Survey to Mull Leaving City

Pollution in Hong Kong, with the worst roadside smog on record during the six months ended March, has led more people to consider leaving the Chinese city, according to a survey by a policy think tank.

About 25 percent of respondents said they may move away from the city as the pollution weighed on health, the Civic Exchange said today, after telephone interviews of 985 people by Hong Kong Baptist University. In 2008, 20 percent of those surveyed said they may leave.

Hong Kong people are the most dissatisfied in the world with their air quality, according to a Gallup survey of adults in 153 countries released in April. Chief Executive Donald Tsang vowed last month to step up efforts to clean up the city’s air.

“The public understands clearly that the high daily concentrations of roadside pollution pose the greatest threat to their health,” Christine Loh, chief executive officer at Civic Exchange, said at a press conference today. “Many are thinking hard about leaving.”

The Environmental Protection Department reported “very high” air pollution today at all three of the city’s roadside stations - in the Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok districts - triggering a government warning for people with heart or lung diseases to avoid prolonged stays in heavy traffic areas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophie Leung in Hong Kong at sleung59@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Anstey at canstey@bloomberg.net

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