A346 4 / 6 Jan 5, 2009 #1Discuss an issue of local concern. Why is this issue important to you? How do you think it should be addressed?"Food heaven", "financial capital" and "shopping Mecca" are just a few of the phrases that are synonymous with Hong Kong. While Hong Kong is all that, what the flashy guide books and advertisements fail to mention is that chronic pollution plagues the city, with recent estimates of the air quality being three times worse than that of New York. The smog that suffocates the city and shrouds the disproportionately vertiginous skyline has long been an issue with residents and tourists alike. At night, even the halo of radiant lights emitted from densely packed buildings fails to punch a hole through the smog. Increasing cases of asthma and bronchitis in recent years have all been attributed to the decline in air quality.The 'Peak Tower', a Hong Kong landmark attraction with a complete panorama of the skyline, boasts the wide, sweeping view that Hong Kong is famous for. The images promoting the views show an immaculate blue sky, yet unfortunately, the number of clear days are waning. On hazy days, visitors are invariably disappointed by the poor visibility, sometimes reduced to only a few kilometers. As a result, the economy of Hong Kong suffers from the pollution. However, it is not only tourism which takes the hit, numerous corporations have relocated as a result of the pollution, decreasing Hong Kong's economic competitiveness.Having lived in Hong Kong for 8 years, I find Hong Kong to be indescribably endearing, but the pollution severely hinders my enjoyment of an otherwise world-class city. As my family resides here, the pollution in Hong Kong is of great importance to me as it affects their well-being. While the government has taken steps to minimize the impact of the pollution via various public campaigns and emission reduction targets, I believe more can be done. Much of the pollution comes from factory emissions from the Mainland China, yet, most of the factories are Hong Kong-owned. While Hong Kong and Mainland China have different government systems, the Hong Kong government could perhaps offer businesses incentives to reduce emissions. In addition, I believe more stringent regulations should be steadily put in place to help facilitate the targets the government has set.I embraced the recent indoor smoking ban when it was passed back in 2006, as I find second-hand smoke indoors an annoyance; however, while this has cleared up the air indoors, it makes the air quality unbearable on the street, particularly in the crowded districts, so much so that I feel discouraged from visiting the city center. Having visited cities around the globe, I believe Hong Kong should take a leaf out of other cities' books. For example, Tokyo set up designated smoking areas in busy districts, to minimize the disturbance of smoking.With the growing amount of concern and steps taken to reduce the pollution, the future is slated to be a bright one. I hope to soon look forward to the day where I can stand by the harbor and take a deep breath; it would fill me with a joie de vivre!My last essay, hopefully! Thanks for all the help. I think this essay is sort of impersonal and boring though, tell me what you think. Thanks in advance!