77% of Hong Kong Residents Think Unsafe Food a Major Concern: Ahead of Air Quality, Global Warming


If the air quality wasn’t bad enough, Kong Kong citizens have plenty of other environmental concerns to worry about...They're just harder to photograph. Photo: Adrian Furby

You might have seen John’s earlier post on how one in five Hong Kong residents is considering leaving the city due to air pollution. In case you don’t have the population of Kong Kong at your fingertips, that translates in about 1.4 million people. And about 500,000 of those are actually making plans to emigrate. That story is interesting enough, but here are some other stats, tidbits and factoids coming out of the same Civic Exchange survey: Global Warming, Food Safety Concern Grows
Food safety issues saw a 24% jump in concern from 2001-2008: Now 77% of Hong Kong residents believe unsafe food is the most important environmental issue. And they want to government to do something about it: 90% of people surveyed want the government to take action on this front, up 21% from seven years ago.

Of the top environmental concerns people listed, the one with the second largest percentage change from 2001-2008 was global warming. In 2001 only 29% of people surveyed considered global warming to be a top concern; now 51% responded that it was a serious issue (still behind more immediate concerns...fair enough when you have trouble breathing and have contaminated food).

More People Consider Air Pollution a Top Enviro Concern
In 2008 54% of respondents indicated that air pollution was a top concern, up from 49% seven years ago. This makes air pollution the third most important environmental concern, behind unsafe food and drinking water pollution, and ahead of contaminated seafood and global warming. Air pollution also ranks as the second most important issue which Hong Kong residents surveyed believe the government should take action on, with 81% of people surveyed agreeing that something needs to be done.

Some Grim Stats on HK Air Pollution
Other interesting stats in the survey include the following, all as a result of air pollution in the city:

10% of Hong Kong residents go to hospital or miss school or work due to breathing difficulties

20% suffer shortness of breath and sore chest after outdoor activities, or suffer from asthma

25% buy lozenges or other medicines to deal with air pollution

33% go to a clinic

50% suffer coughing, choking, or stinging itchy eyes

66% close windows and turn on air conditioning during high pollution days

66% stay indoors or limit their activities

More: Civic Exchange (press release)

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Tags: China | Food Safety | Global Climate Change | Hong Kong | Pollution