In a region of seven million people living and working on only 423 square miles of land, a growing consciousness of environmentalism is becoming more and more important.
The challenge is daunting. Hong Kong has poor air quality due in part to industrial pollution coming from the mainland. Vehicles, especially diesel, are responsible for street-level pollution. Landfill space is becoming scarce.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is taking a tough stance against litter and pollution in the region. Richard Vuylsteke, president of the Chamber, talked to us during our visit about the importance of creating environment-friendly citizens at a young age. One of the region’s most successful campaigns to go green involved educating elementary-aged children about the harmful effects of littering. Soon these young advocates started spreading the word on eco-friendly habits to their parents. After a short time, the region was noticeably cleaner. The campaign’s success was evident, and a new generation was turned on to the importance of protecting natural resources.
Right now, Hong Kong is reaching for low-hanging fruit and quick fixes in the fight to conserve, creating campaigns and tactics to spread awareness and taking part in advocacy and debates. It takes time and funding to implement new legislation and educate citizens about developing eco-friendly standards and habits. But Hong Kong is off to a good start.