Hong Kong motorists may face fines for leaving their engines idling under a new law being considered. The law was written to help reduce the city's worsening pollution problem, the government has said.
The announcement came as air quality monitors recorded “very high” pollution over the city for the second day in a row. When the city's air is like this, there is an automatic health warning for people with breathing and heart problems.
Environment Secretary Sarah Liao said officials would consider a new law after they had studied the effectiveness of urging drivers to turn off their engines while stationary.
Air quality has become so much worse in Hong Kong in the past decade that it reduced visibility to less than one kilometer on more than 50 days last year, a record in this southern Chinese territory.
Surveys say pollution is also hitting Hong Kong financially. Companies are finding it hard to attract executives from overseas because of the haze, and the travel industry says tourists are increasingly suffering health problems.
Tour operators say visitors are also complaining as the city's famous harbor, its main tourist attraction, is covered in a thick blanket of pollutants.
On such a day, the high-rise skyline is blocked by gray haze and impossible to see from the Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district less than a kilometer away across the harbor.
The government claims the problem is mostly due to the industrialization of southern China's neighboring Pearl River Delta area. Green groups blame Hong Kong's coal-burning power stations and diesel-powered buses.
1. idle v.i.
空轉 (kong1 zhuan3)
例: I let my car's engine idle while Eric ran inside really quickly.
2. monitor n.
監督者 (jian1 du1 zhe5)
例: When he left the room, our teacher sent in a teacher from another class to act as a monitor.
3. urge v.t.
勸導 (quan4 dao3)
例: My mother urges me daily to go to medical school.
4. stationary adj.
靜止的 (jing4 zhi3 de5)
例: I hate stationary bikes; I like to be moving when I exercise.