Hong Kong CAN

Hong Kong, China. April 9th, 2010

Clean Air Network (CAN) is a network bringing together and amplifying the voices of individuals, groups and organizations and together we urge the Government to act immediately to clean our air.

We visit CAN during our stopover in Hong Kong and support the initiative with some publicity.

NameHong Kong Clean Air Network
AimMission statement: "CAN is a network bringing together and amplifying the voices of individuals, groups and organizations and together we urge the Government to act immediately to clean our air."
Sincefounded in July, 2009
Staffaround 10 staff include some irregular interns and volunteers
People reached20,000 members but their actions, especially their recent messaging campaign have touched virtually everyone in Hong Kong society

We arrive in Hong Kong on a cloudy day in early April, and took the modern shuttle train from the airport to the downtown area. We walk around, overwhelmed by the Chinese neon lights and staggering high-rises, touched by the cute double decker street cars and - like the general public here - do not realize that the most urgent problem the city faces is air pollution.

A friendly young man tells us about his small initiative that is sensitizing Hong Kong citizens about the problem of air pollution. He is campaigning in schools and universities to raise their awareness about air pollution in Hong Kong, and challenging them to take action. The preconception is that Hong Kong's smog is created by mainland China and the wind blows it into the former colony.

But this is a mistake. Here are a few facts CAN aims to educate the public about.

• Hong Kong air pollution causes three (avoidable) deaths a day, more than 1,100 per year.
• Hong Kong’s air is three times more polluted than New York’s and more than twice as polluted as London’s.
• By WHO standards, Hong Kong’s air is only healthy 41 days a year (according to data in 2006).
• 53% of the time, the majority of Hong Kong air pollution is attributable to local sources.
• Although overall emissions tonnage has fallen in the past 15 years, roadside pollution has not improved. Because of its high concentration in close proximity to us, roadside pollution poses the biggest threat to human health.

Hong Kong has about seven million inhabitants, a number that matters by any measure. That's why the Hong Kong Clean Air Network deserves our support in their challenging attempt to change the Hong Kongers' mindset from defatism to a more pro-active attitude. We believe that Hong Kong should and could become a good example in terms of public health and the environment for other megalopolises, like its fastest growing counterparts on the mainland. 

And here's what you CAN do (quoted from the CAN media kit):

• Sign The Petition for Clean Air at if you haven’t already.
• Join our Facebook group at
• Follow us on Twitter at
• Forward to all your family and friends and ask them to sign the petition.
• Print out the petition and distribute to friends, colleagues and classmates so they can help us collect more signatures.
• Invite organizations you belong to such as your school, company, rotary group, residents’ association, etc., to send a message encouraging members or employees to sign the petition and become Friends of the Network.
• Post the petition on the bulletin board of your building, school, office or club.
• Give this kit to your doctor and ask if it’s possible to encourage patient sign-ups at his or her clinic.
• Donate to Clean Air network at
You CAN make a difference!
• Write to your LegCo members. A directory of all LegCo members can be viewed at
• Write to your District Council members. A directory of all DC members can be viewed at
• Volunteer at CAN.
• Introduce us to your CSR director by emailing
• Organize a talk or presentation to your school, company or association.
• Tell us how we can inspire the community more effectively by sending us an  email at

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