It’s free to go to Hong Kong Zoo. It’s run by the Hong Kong government. The cages of Lemurs, Toucans, Chinese crocodiles and Burmese Pythons are housed in immaculate architect designed cages surrounded by meticulously gardened jungle. The resident Jaguar has a mid levels pad which includes its own gym, spa bath and sun deck. It’s true that his accommodation is not as big as he might have had back home in South America, but hey in Hong Kong he gets to eat prime quality, imported beef and gets to look at the city lights every night.
The Hong Kong humans drive down from their apartments to gaze at the caged Jaguar while he gazes back at them. They both breathe the same Hong Kong air, and its choking them all.
The Civil Service led Hong Kong government is doing a fine job on the small but important elements of the urban environment. The streets are swept clean. The parks are mass planted with flowering trees. Even the public toilets are spotless. This all a bit of a shock to anyone who has recently been to under developed countries like England, which used to run Hong Kong. It’s hard to believe that he former colony’s slick public transport and its gleaming airport were designed and built by the same folks responsible for the odd and dysfunctional bus service to the shambles at Heathrow.
But the Hong Kong civil service government hasn’t the strength and perhaps the insights needed to address the larger issues. It’s good at gardening but is struggling with air pollution. As an unelected body, it lacks a democratic mandate to take on the literally filthy rich…Hong Kong’s government sanctioned but privately owned power stations. A Hong Kong government agreement protects these gross polluters from competition in this tiny but exclusive market, in doing so feeding them continuing profits.
China Light and Power‘s website has a nice green frog and it boasts of its environmental awareness. CLP even claims that by 2010 , five percent of its generation will come from renewable sources, which seems a negligible if not laughable proportion. Particularly since CLP is powering up its dirty, coal fired stations to export even more electricity to China’s polluting industries. (45.7% increase last year). Hong Kong Electric meanwhile smugly says it strives to exceed its customers environmental expectations. HKE has commissioned a wind generator of Lamma Island even as it expands its conventional generation capacity. Both companies are politely resisting calls to quickly clean up their corporate acts.
Their shareholders, are after all the whos who in Hong Kong’s real zoo .