By Anjila Manandhar**
When I first landed in Hong Kong the weather was cold and the air was clean. I silently said to my self “It’s been ages I haven’t breathe clean air, now I don’t have to inhale dust and smoke for at least 10 months.” I wish I could take clean air back home to my country. Hong Kong also has air pollution problem but the roads are not dusty like we have in Kathmandu. On my way to my new home the first thing I noticed are the very tall buildings, lots of greeneries, long underground tunnels, beautiful and colorful two storied buses, an electric train and ferries. Hong Kong has various modes of public transport system.
The second day to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, my office station, I was introduced to a group of research graduates. They took me to the laboratory where they are monitoring indoor and outdoor air quality. The lab was furnished with different types of monitoring equipments which are very new to me. I felt I joined the University again.
It is amazing to see people queuing in front of the bus stand that made me recall my memories during my school time. They lined up to get into the bus; to get into the elevator and even in the shopping centers to pay the bill. They are so well mannered and have respect for each other. All the time we could observe and learn lots of disciplinary lessons from the people here and definitely a success factor of the development.
People like to walk here and so do I. I walk to my office everyday, there are good pathways for the pedestrians, and on the way we pass by a beautiful garden which is like a botanical garden, we can see various species of plants and there are some benches for the people to rest. People use this space for doing exercise in the morning, cycling and playing for kids, jogging and some homeless spend the nights in the place though they are not allowed to lye down there.
Hong Kong is geographically compact and the port are being encroached to build the tall buildings which look good but it blocks the wind which means more pollution and heat is trapped inside. It seems that Hong Kong has one of the world's most efficient, safe, and frequent public transport systems. That may be one of the reasons why I have seen more people (more than 80 %) riding on public vehicles. It is interesting that people pay by using card for the transportation they use. It is Octopus Card an electronic value card which is very easy and convenient to use. It is accepted by almost all forms of public transport and at many fast food chains and stores, save time and eliminates the need for small change.
I had good experiences during my first week and hope to gain more knowledge and experience from here so that I can contribute something to my organization and to my country.
**Ms Anjila Manandhar worked as a Program Coordinator for Clean Energy Nepal. Currently she is posted at Polyuniversity Hongkong under the FK Exchange Program.