Overview of Hong Kong/Shanghai/Hangzhou Summer Research Miranda Chien-Hale July 14th, 2012 Hong Kong Partners 1. Civic Exchange Contacts at Civic Exchange include founder Christine Loh, researcher Simon Ng, and researcher Veronica Booth. This reputable and independent NGO is working on many issues: marine emissions, walkability, wind circulation, water vulnerability, to mention a few. During my stay in Hong Kong I met with Simon and Veronica, and I attended a CE seminar called, “Dirty & Thirsty: Is this the future of DongJiang.” This seminar raised awareness about the water sources in the Pearl River Delta region, especially in light of increased urbanization and industrialization. As with any issue, this seminar highlighted the importance of “low hanging fruits,” or those relatively straightforward issues that can be understood and spearheaded by the community at large. Civic Exchange is a reputable NGO and is open to projects and ideas; this NGO seems to encourage interns, exchanges, and collaborative research projects. 2. Clean Air Network Contacts at CAN include Erica Chan, and campaign manager, Yuling Jia. CAN is affiliated with Civic Exchange, but is more of an activist group focused specifically on air pollution issues in Hong Kong. During the meeting with Erica and Yuling, we discussed the various projects CAN has been working on. They, like the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (hereafter HKUST), have a program geared towards educating high school students on air pollution. CAN received funding for this project from the Hong Kong government’s Education Fund. CAN’s high school program involves one-day workshops using “Sidepak” monitoring tools that measure otherwise undetectable particulate matter (PM 10, PM 2.5, and smaller) in the air. Some council members voluntarily perform experiments similar to those of the high school students. These council members take measurements two times per day over a set period of time and then set-up booths in their respective districts in order to report and educate the public about their findings. Both Erica and Yuling are interested in pursuing joint fundraising opportunities. I also sense they are, at the same time, cautious about such collaboration; they seek specific details about how such joint projects might work. 3. Chinese University of Hong Kong Contacts include Professors Linwei Tian of the Public Health department, and Xu Yuan of the Geography and Resource Management department. Lin Wei has done research on the health effects of coal exhaust and other air pollutants. Lin Wei was particularly enthusiastic about future projects that aim to engage and educate community members about the consequences of air pollution. 4. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Contacts include Professor Chak Chan, Professor Arthur Lau, Professor Paul Forester, Professor Alexis Lau, Professor NT Lau, and Professor Ming Fang, all affiliated with HKUST. Also interacted with Emily Bian, a graduate school student working on atmospheric research at HKUST, Jessica Cheng, an environmental engineer knowledgeable about the EXPLORE project, as well as several undergraduate students from the Division of the Environment. One undergraduate in particular, Leo Chan, participated in an exchange with Occidental College to conduct comparative research on walkability issues in China and the US. During my stay, I also gave a presentation to HKUST students about life at Occidental College and about, specifically, the Urban and Environmental Policy program. HKUST is currently involved in a number of environmental projects. In particular, HKUST has initiated the EXPLORE project which aims to help educate high schools students about the air pollutants common to Hong Kong. During the years 20092012 this project has relied on funding from the government’s Quality Education Fund. Students measure sulfur dioxide, ozone, black carbon, and visibility over a long period of time. They then analyze and report their results to the EXPLORE website. Students are then able to use the results to compare and contrast the levels of air pollution around various regions in Hong Kong at various time periods. In order to quantify black carbon levels in the atmosphere, students have adopted the Black Carbon Imaging technique. This technique relies on the use of a simple scanner and Adobe Photoshop. With a little re-engineering, this scanner can be redesigned for use on a camera or cell phone. The public could potentially analyze the amount black carbon in the air very easily given a filter. HKUST has one of the best-equipped air monitoring sites in Hong Kong, “the supersite.” This is because of the supersite’s size, location, and extensive monitoring equipment. In addition to the supersite, there are fourteen government-monitoring stations around Hong Kong used by government officials, academics and researchers. They are located in different districts around the region. HKUST also houses a state-of the-art Mobile Air Monitoring Platform that measures and reports real-time air pollution levels. This project was initiated under Ming Fang, the previous head of the Division of the Environment at HKUST. The Mobile Air Monitoring Platform serves to track and map pollution levels on streets, or in busy districts that do not have any comparable air monitoring systems in place. Unfortunately, the platform is not used often because it costs so much to maintain. The Division of the Environment at HKUST hosted the Pearl River Delta trip for their students, which I was fortunate enough to attend. During this trip I was able to see first-hand the effects of industrialization in the Pearl River Delta region. As with other rapidly growing regions in the world, cities in Southern China are faced with ever increasing energy needs. It is this energy shortage that makes particularly challenging implementation of sustainable methods of generating energy. On the trip we visited the Daya Bay Nuclear Power plant, which currently houses six nuclear reactors. We also visited two hydro PowerStations, a toothpaste factory, and a car factory. In order to meet China’s increasing demand for energy, at least twenty new nuclear power plants are being developed along China’s eastern coast. The implications of these new developments are enormous, especially given the recent radiation disaster in Japan. Shanghai/Hangzhou Partners I attended the 2nd Sino-US Conference of Regional and Urban Air Quality Management: The Challenge of Fine Particle and Ozone Pollution in Shanghai, China. The general consensus and drive of the conference was to mobilize the Yangtze River Delta region to regulate and improve air pollution standards. There was a lot of enthusiasm for finding ways to better air quality in China. 1. CAI-Asia, Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities. “The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia)” is a registered UN Type II Partnership with more than 200 organizational members, eight Country Networks and the CAI-Asia Center as its secretariat. CAI-Asia’s mission is to, “promote better air quality and livable cities by translating knowledge to policies and actions to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and other sectors.”” I met contacts May Ajero, Air Quality Program Manager, Liu Mingming, Assistant, Wan Wei, Environment Researcher, and Maria Patdu, Air Quality Researcher. CAI is an NGO with many offices across Asia. This group sponsored Simon Ng’s trip to speak at the conference. 2. Environmental Protection Agency I met contacts Carey J. Jang, National Expert/Senior Scientist, and Dale M. Evarts, Group Leader for Climate, International and Multi-Media Group. Dale Evarts emphasized the need for community outreach and education. He seemed excited about Occidental’s China-US Environment Program and offered to help out in any way he could. At the conference, he promoted the use of tools called AirNow, AirNow International. These tools are systems for acquiring and distributing information to the public, primarily by disseminating real-time data about air quality in the US. He also spoke of EPA’s Mobile Source Road Map. 3. Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Atmospheric Environment Institute I met contacts director Changhong Chen and engineer Hongli Wang. The Atmospheric Environment Institute is a prominent research institute in Shanghai primarily funded by the government. Their air monitoring site holds similar equipment as the supersite at HKUST. However, it appeared to be a slightly smaller site. 4. Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center I met contact Shen Yin, an engineer at the monitoring center in Shanghai. The center is one of the “leading environmental centers in China, providing analytical services to the government, industry, and the private sector.” SEMC has taken part in water quality monitoring, air quality monitoring, and urban noise control monitoring. Shen Yin, a good friend to Simon Ng of Civic Exchange, is involved in monitoring vehicle emissions in Shanghai. Funders for various research projects include the World Bank, ADB, and foreign governments. 5. Hangzhou I spent three days in Hangzhou with my family. Most notably was the citywide bike share system. It is highly used and nearly free. The center of the city lies around West Lake, making it a good location for public bikes to be installed around the city. Future Project Possibilities 1. EXPLORE I hope to build upon the success of the EXPLORE project at HKUST by helping to develop an applicable project in Los Angeles, and perhaps assist others develop such a project in another Chinese city. While the University of Southern California already uses a number of methods to engage the community and high schools with p-track monitors, my idea would aim to improve the already existing programs. An improved project would result in comparative study of multiple cities in China and the US over a period of time. In theory, this project would help to increase the level of awareness about air pollution in China and the US by empowering high school students and community members to measure various levels of pollutants they are exposed to in their everyday lives. These results will be analyzed and displayed on a collective website. I hope to see HKUST and other academic institutions such as the University of Southern California and Occidental College provide support and resources for this project. HKUST will help to orchestrate the EXPLORE program in another Chinese city, perhaps Nanjing, in addition to continuing the project in Hong Kong. Ming Fang, a retired HKUST Professor, is passionate about the expansion of the EXPLORE project, and currently resides in San Jose, California. He is knowledgeable and could potentially train trainers in Los Angeles on how to conduct the experiments. The long-term and hands-on nature of EXPLORE project creates a realistic and meaningful experiment for students and community members. Participants will connect the smog they see in the sky, to pollutions levels on a filter, to the health problems they witness in their communities. The results will be posted on a group website, so that participants in the various cities can share information and experiences. Furthermore, in order to foster additional engagement of the community in Los Angeles, I would like to promote the adoption one of Clean Air Network’s programs. After the initial air pollution experiments around LA, interested community members could set-up booths along major streets in order to educate others about local air pollution levels based on the data they themselves collected. 3. EXCHANGE I foresee further exchanges between Occidental College and HKUST, whether for college students during the school semester, or for summer research projects. For example, Leo Chan has already participated in a summer research exchange project at UEPI this summer. Several of his classmates also intend to come to Oxy starting the fall semester of 2012. There also seem to be additional opportunities for internships between the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, Civic Exchange, and Clean Air Network. These exchanges will create a network of collaboration, shared information, research, and an opportunity to learn for one another. I also want to support the creation of a trip in Los Angeles modeled after the Pearl River Delta Trip, that I took in Southern China. This trip would allow students of Occidental College to learn about some of the major systems that make Los Angeles, Los Angeles. For example, how exactly does Los Angeles get it’s water, electricity, and food? Where does the city’s waste go? What sorts of implications do these systems have on the environment? Students participating in the trip would get the opportunity to visit places in, or around Los Angeles, and then compare their findings to a comparable city or region in China, perhaps the Pearl River Delta area. Students participating in the PRD trip at HKUST could similarly research Los Angeles. These comparison trips would provide further channels for education and exchange between China and the United States. 4. CONNECT Over the course of my time in China this seminar I was able to identify a number of notable organizations that are striving to address environmental problems prevalent across the world. These organizations include, but are not limited to, Civic Exchange, CAN, EPA, CAI, as well as other academic institutions. They are all doing great work and will be good contacts for the future. Future projects relating to US, China, and the environment could be funded by Shin Shin Educational Foundation, HK government funds, the Luce foundation, and the Rockefeller foundation. Additionally, Dale Evarts of the EPA may serve as an especially noteworthy connection for future endeavors. He has a large interest in engaging and connecting with the community and might be aware of potential funding opportunities. CAI also has connections and offices across Asia and may be interested in future collaboration. 5. My Role I had a great time this summer and learned so much from so many different people. I would most like to be a part of the movement to engage the community and increase their awareness about air pollution. I would love to spend more time in China after I graduate if I felt I was helping to address issues of air pollution or water pollution, two resources we cannot live without.