Hong Kong Air Quality Researcher, Simon Ng Visits USC

Simon Ng, Chief Research Officer at Hong Kong-based nonprofit Civic Exchange, visited the Environmental Health Division on November 3 to present and share information on port air pollution surrounding Hong Kong. Civic Exchange is an “independent public policy think tank undertaking research to advance civic education and engage society to shape public policy.” During Ng’s presentation, researchers at USC Environmental Health and community partners were interested to hear about factors that make Hong Kong both similar and quite different compared to the ports of LA and Long Beach. Being surrounded by water on three sides, Hong Kong is greatly impacted by pollution that is generated from ships traveling to ports on either side of the city, not to mention ships that travel directly to Hong Kong’s port. This makes for some unique challenges in that Ng and colleagues at Civic Exchange must work with a wide variety of local and international stakeholders as they seek to reduce port emissions in and around Hong Kong.

Ng and Civic Exchange have published several reports on the public health impacts of ship emissions in the area, a hot topic for cities with large ports around the world. The reports provide a detailed look at the scope of the problem and control options; valuable information for those looking at policy options and government interventions at ports.

In recent years, Ng and Civic Exchange have partnered with the University of Hong Kong Public Health School on developing a website: The Hedley Environmental Index, which quantifies the financial burden that air pollution places on the region around Hong Kong. This unique site gives the viewer a real-time view of the ever increasing factors and costs such as deaths, hospital bed days, doctor visits and total economic loss. When visiting this site, one can also see real-time concentrations of specific pollutants around Hong Kong.

Civic Exchange is collaborating with the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College on a China – Environment project funded by the LUCE foundation which sponsored Simon’s week long activities in Southern California.