How wonderful! On the day I have time to post again I am given a topic that sets my blood boiling.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is encouraging children to call a number and report the license plate of vehicles if they see "Black Smoke" in the exhaust.
This sounds, at first hearing, innocuous enough but isn't. Having citizens SPY on each other is one of the hallmarks of a Fascist government and that is exactly what this is, just like what happened in the Cultural Revolution, and in NAZI Germany and is still happening in North Korea and Zimbabwe. What is next? Having kids turn their parents in for disagreeing with THBT?
In a practical sense, though ideologically less severe is the problem of someone simply sending your license plate in out of spite, malice or boredom. Suppose they do this MULTIPLE times. This looks like a practical joke waiting to happen. It also looks like a nearly anonymous way to harass someone you simply don't like.
It would be worse if the EPD did more with these complaints than sending the owner of the vehicle a "warning letter." Taiwan used to offer a bounty to people who turned in cars that didn't meet pollution control standards. School kids would go to parking lots and copy down license numbers and turn in thousands of cars because the probability was that at least some of them would fail and they could then collect the bounty. I know this happened because I have friends in Taiwan and their son earned walking around money this way. What happens if the EPD decides that if a driver is reported for this three times then they must go and get their vehicle inspected at a cost of three or four hundred dollars per whack or pay a traffic ticket?
On the other hand, in a sense, if all the EPD do is send a warning letter then what is the point? After all, if I have a car that is in need of service, with clogged fuel injectors, bad valves or fouled spark plugs that causes the engine to emit more pollution than it should I'd probably know it. Performance suffers, fuel efficiency suffers and the vehicle does not run right; not to mention I'd see the smoke in the rear view mirror. So, what is the point of a warning letter? If I'm driving a car like that and haven't fixed it then a simple letter with no legal teeth is useless.
It would appear to me that a program like this really has only two purposes.
1. To allow people who want to flaunt their environmental conscience to feel important by doing something when they are, in fact only padding their sense of Self Righteousness .
2. To allow the government to say it is doing something about a problem when it isn't
Neither one is good reason.
This program is evil. Simply evil. The fact that they are trying to "Save the Earth" makes it even more so because it gives a certain segment of the population the impression that they are helping to reduce pollution when they are not. It also potentially alienates others from environmental programs that would be useful and for which government and community support is needed.
If the EPD is so concerned about vehicular pollution then why not do something that would actually reduce it instead of having a program like this?
Why not require automobiles to pass a pollution control emissions test yearly? (This may be done already. Since I don't drive I can't say.)
Why not standardize the fees for all the tunnels so that drivers take the tunnel that is the most direct route rather than waiting at the one that is cheapest for 30 minutes with their engine idling? This would make a huge difference in the amount of air pollution emitted each day
Why not require all vehicles in Hong Kong to run on Propane? If someone wants a car that can be driven in China then let them park it in Shenzhen or pay a huge license fee and let them know that they will not be able to gas it up in Hong Kong.
Why not give a subsidy to the bus companies and MTR so that they can lower fares to encourage ridership?
Why not allow the use of electric scooters on roads in Hong Kong? Electric cars are impractical but several companies make one person scooters that can travel at about 50 to 60 Kph with a 50 Km range; perfect for many Hong Kong commuters
Why not restrict delivery times to business so that delivery trucks do not clog the streets at rush hour?
Why not take steps to make Hong Kong more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?
Why not make the MTR put up some parking garages at some of the stations in the N.T. so that people could drive to Tai Wai and then take the train on in? Park & Ride, hmmmm, where have I heard of that idea before?
Because doing the things listed above would take civil servants who were more concerned about reducing pollution than simply keeping their over paid, iron-rice-bowl jobs. Because it would not be something the construction cartels that the civil servants use to brown their noses want.
Until Next Time
The Blogger who believes that pollution is a real problem that needs solutions not based in the Cultural Revolution