COSTS AND BENEFITS OF AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT IN HONG KONG
William F. Barron
T. H. Lam
C. M. Wong
A respiratory health survey conducted in Hong Kong in 1989 identified significant health differences between school age children living in an industrial area with poor ambient air quality and those in a control group living in a relatively clean area. In 1990, the government banned the use of high sulphur fuel. As a result, ambient sulfur levels dropped sharply and particulate levels dropped moderately. The avoided costs of doctor consultations alone offset a moderate fraction of the costs of this air quality improvement. If even the lower end of estimates from elsewhere apply to Hong Kong's willingness to pay for symptom relief, such values offset a major share of the costs of the air quality improvement simply through near-term improvements in health. Considering longer-term health and other benefits leads one to conclude that the economic benefits likely far outweigh the costs. Copyright 1995 Western Economic Association International.
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