What We Do About Air Pollution

Standard Page - 2011-06-23
Greenpeace is one of the leading NGOs working on campaigns to reduce sources of air pollution in China and to change Hong Kong’s air pollution standards.


11 March 2014

A Greenpeace activists and her daughter wear respirator masks and hold a banner reading “No PM2.5”.

Greenpeace investigates, reports and takes action on the urgent issue of air pollution in China, by campaigning against China’s biggest cause of air pollution- coal.  

From 2013’s report, “How China’s air pollution worries led to a curb in coal use”, to 2017’s “Estimating carbon emissions from China’s coal-to-chemical industry during the 13th Five-year plan period” we’ve been monitoring and reporting on China’s journey to break free from coal.

Coal contributes the bulk of the country's emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Over the past decade we have been pushing for China to reduce – and eventually end – its dependence on coal.

China has abundant potential for clean, zero emissions energy such as wind and solar. China is now the world leader for renewable energy installment and investment and the sector is projected to keep growing.

Read more about how Greenpeace supports renewables investment.

Hong Kong

The main source of air pollution in Hong Kong is emissions from regional coal-fired power plants, distant water shipping vessels and transport.

In 2014, Hong Kong finally updated its air quality targets, following years of campaigning. However, Hong Kong’s standards are still below World Health Organisation standards. Concentrations of half of the seven air pollution particulates monitored globally exceed WHO standards in Hong Kong.

To ensure transparency surrounding Hong Kong’s air quality Greenpeace launched the “The Truth About Air Pollution’ using WHO standards to assess whether the concentration of air pollutants in Hong Kong is safe and truly reflects the truth about air pollution in Hong Kong.

The application takes data from your nearest air-quality monitoring station and evaluates it against WHO guidelines – so that you can know the real quality of the air you’re breathing no matter where you are in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong living standards are among the highest in the world, but air quality falls far below expectations. Research from the World Health Organization shows that air pollution is hazardous to human health, with the potential to affect respiratory systems, cause heart disease and lung cancer. Air pollution adversely impacts our economy through rising healthcare costs, lowering productivity of workers, and forcing schools to close and airlines to cancel flights.

Greenpeace urges the Hong Kong government to set stricter standards for air quality, in line with WHO standards.