Thursday, May 27, 2010

Singapore Beats Hong Kong as Asia’s Most Livable City

Singapore retained its ranking as the Asian city with the best quality of life, while Hong Kong lags rival financial hubs as it struggles with air pollution, according to a survey by Mercer Consulting.

Singapore ranks 28 among 221 cities, Tokyo is at 40 and Hong Kong is placed 71, the list shows. The cities are rated on 10 factors including infrastructure, political and social environments, and access to medical care. Hong Kong scored poorly on health concerns, said Cathy Loose, a Tokyo-based Mercer officer who helped compile the list.

“The government hasn’t done very much to introduce green measures or reduce pollution,” Loose said in an interview. The list serves as a compensation guide for expatriate relocation.

Hong Kong’s air pollution was the worst on record during the past two quarters, sparking regular government health warnings. To address the problem, the government introduced a bill in April proposing a ban on idling engines among other steps.

“To tackle local emissions we have been implementing very stringent control measures which are equivalent to those being required by other advanced countries,” Eva Wong, spokeswoman at the environmental department said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg.

The government is working with local bus companies and also neighboring cities in southern China to curb air pollution and is investing HK$300 million ($38 million) to develop low-carbon transport technology to cut roadside emissions, she said.

Media Censorship

Singapore lags Hong Kong only on measurements of personal freedom and media censorship, said Loose. Mercer is a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos.

Hong Kong’s effort to cut pollution and protect the environment trails even that of Havana and ranks just above Damascus, the list shows. Overall, Vienna retains the top spot as the world’s best city to live in.

As posted in Bloomberg by Le-Min Lim

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