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Hong Kong choked by growing pollution problem

Photo: Commercial fish farms are in abundance next to the Mai Po Nature Reserve on the border between China and Hong Kong in May 2007. The problem of pollution, growing worse annually since Hong Kong's handover to China in 1997, has become a chronic problem that threatens the very economic foundations on which the city has been built.(AFP/File/Mike Clarke)

July, 2007
HONG KONG (AFP) - Discarded cigarette packets, McDonald's wrappers and even old socks litter the shores of Lau Fau Shan in Hong Kong's far north, home to what remains of the territory's oyster farming industry.
From across the border in China, factories belch smoke into the fetid air over Deep Bay, one of Hong Kong's most polluted stretches of water.
Ten years after the territory was handed back to the Chinese, pollution is one of the biggest problems facing the former British colony as it bears the environmental consequences of China's rampant economic growth.
For around a third of last year, Hong Kong's renowned Victoria Harbour was obscured by a grimy haze, with the number of days of reduced visibility up by 172 per cent since 1997.
Even the government says smog is now "a common phenomenon" throughout the heavily industrialised Pearl River Delta region of southern China.
"Pollution is a huge problem," said Lew Young of the World Wildlife Fund, which studies water and air quality.

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