Air quality keeps HK behind regional rivals as expat locale
With Hong Kong’s Chief-Executive elect, CY Leung, preparing to take the helm of Asia’s self-proclaimed financial hub, it is hoped that the city’s obnoxious air quality will be high on his agenda, especially given his strong environmental credentials.
The severity of the problem, and its impact on Hong Kong’s continued success, should have been made clear to the former patron of the Climate Change Business Forum, in an annual report released Tuesday that places the city third behind Singapore and Japan's Kobe as Asia’s most livable among 49 Asian cities for expatriate employees.
Hong Kong cannot take any comfort that it has jumped from fifth place last year as Yokohama and Tokyo both dropped a point because of the effects of last year’s earthquake and tsunami.
The report by human resources consultancy ECA International takes into consideration 10 categories including climate, health risks, air pollution, goods and services, infrastructure, housing and education.
Hong Kong ranks similarly in infrastructure, goods and services and housing “but the main factor that really separates it from Singapore is its air pollution," Lee Quane, ECA's regional director for Asia, said in a statement.
"Air pollution remains a major issue (in Hong Kong)," Quane said. "It has the third worst score for this of any Asian city after Beijing and New Delhi, and is up among some of the worst locations in the world for air quality including Santiago, Mexico City and Cairo."
ECA ranked Singapore as the top destination globally for Asian expatriates in 2012, also unchanged from a year ago, with Sydney coming in at number two for the second year running.