My other blog is which is an archive of my works.......... Robert Ho REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS at


About Me

My photo
My archive of works is at

10 November 2007

Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 4 Plan D


Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China

5/F, Central Government Offices, Main Wing,
Lower Albert Road,
Hong Kong
Telephone : (852) 2878 3300
Fax : (852) 2509 0577
E-mail :

Dear Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I do not presume that you remember me or my 4 emails to you [attached] so I crave your indulgence for a quick recapitulation of my last 3 emails detailing ideas to clean the polluted air of Hongkong. These 3 ideas are Plan A: Using jet engines to blow away the dirty air; Plan B: Using numerous water tanks to bubble dirty air through, thereby cleaning it; and Plan C: Making roads sticky with glue to stick most of the dirty vehicle exhaust particles to prevent them spreading into the air we breathe.

2. The more of these 3 Plans we implement TOGETHER, the more successful the overall effects. Plans B and C are simple to implement and so cheap they cost the Hongkong Govt or Hongkongers practically nothing. In return, these 2 Plans implemented TOGETHER should clear the air considerably. Probably enough to win kudos for the Hongkong Govt for taking effective action to solve a problem that is driving many expatriate and Hongkong families from Hongkong to cleaner places like Singapore, which has little air pollution.

3. However, my 3 Plans have been rejected outright without much thought, let alone experiment. The speed of rejection, within a few days, proves that little real consideration was given, further proven in the reasons for rejection. The rejections were directly from gut reaction, not rational thought. It was the bureaucrat's fear of doing anything unorthodox, that had not been established and precedented in the West, that had not been studied and trialled in the West and then taught to Asians. The simple fact that the West has not solved their air pollution problems means that Hongkong will continue to suffer along with them until ideas such as mine are studied and trialled there first. Meanwhile, people are migrating from Hongkong to cleaner pastures and the Hongkong Govt is seen as doing nothing except the standard, conventional, measures that the daily Air Pollution Index prove is inadequate. What a sad state of affairs.

4. The fact that this bureaucrat rejected my Plan B EVEN BEFORE I WROTE A SINGLE WORD OF IT TO YOU AND HIM is instructive. I need say no more. Further, the fact that he saw fit to reject my Plan C through a proxy shows that he is beginning to feel uneasy about rejecting my ideas, that he is beginning to realise that HE MAY BE GUILTY OF REFUSING TO SOLVE HONGKONG's AIR POLLUTION PROBLEMS. He stands in danger of going down in history.

5. Is Hongkong's air polluted enough to trouble us all into taking action? Is it bad enough for us to rouse ourselves from our comfortable routine of meetings and emails into direct action? Even unorthodox action? Here, I need only to point to your Environmental Protection Department website which has copious texts on how bad the air is. However, much of these read like Copy & Paste from Western sources, not surprising because much of the world do exactly this. Just to reiterate that the West has not solved its air pollution problems and so, if Hongkong refuses new ideas and solutions, it may continue driving away those who can migrate while harming those who cannot or would not.

6. I know that my ideas are kitchen science. Or kitchen chemistry. But the good thing about kitchen science is that THE PRINCIPLES ARE SO SIMPLE THEY WORK. For example, Plan B's idea of bubbling dirty air through water so that cleaner air emerges is A PROVEN CONCEPT, without me having to do a single experiment.

7. For example, there are many models of home water-filtration vacuum cleaners in Hongkong selling for about HK$1,000 that use exactly the principle of Plan B. These water-filtration vacuum cleaners suck in dirt [and necessarily, air, too], then trap the dirt in a small water tank, and the air that emerges is free from dirt and even some air pollutants. Of course, this vacuum cleaner is not an exact experiment to prove the concept and principle of Plan B because the bubbles of air are not tiny enough, the water tank not tall enough, etc, but the principle is clearly proven beyond doubt.

8. If you need further experiment, you can buy 1 of these water-filtration vacuum cleaners, and a cheap bottle of perfume [about HK$50], then find a fairly airtight room, empty the perfume onto an open dish, let the perfume fill the entire room with its telltale smell, then turn on the vacuum cleaner, and, returning to the room every hour or so, you will notice that almost all the perfume smell would have been removed by the water-filtration vacuum cleaner. This proves that the molecules of perfume, like the molecules of air pollutants, can be removed by water filtration.

9. If you need a more visual proof of the concept, find a fairly airtight room or shipping container, seal it airtight with simple household silicone from a tube, fill the room or container with thick, black smoke -- a smoke flare will do nicely -- switch on the water-filtration vacuum cleaner and see all the smoke filtered off by the water after a few hours.

10. Thus, Proof of Concept indubitably proven. All that needs to be done is to scale this Concept up enough to make a difference to Hongkong's air. If every rooftop in Hongkong, or most rooftops, house several large installations of this water-filtration air-cleaning tanks, big enough, that is, practically industrial scale, this Plan B alone will clean the air considerably. For best effect, the air should be sucked up from near street levels and returned to street levels after cleaning. This is not a problem as most tall buildings have wet and dry risers for firefighting and these riser holes run continuously from the bottom to the top of the buildings and so can house an air intake and air outlet ducting of up to 20 centimetres in diameter. Thus, these air ducts, which can be flexible or rigid. will run INSIDE the buildings, within the riser holes, but emerge OUTSIDE the building near street levels, say, either 1st Floor [Ground] or 2nd Floor. Further, if indoor air pollution within the building is bad, 1 of the installations can pump clean air to within the building, that is, indoors, to benefit the people working and using the building. This will motivate many building owners to install the installations since it will become an additional marketing advantage. Clean air is a big marketing advantage to any building owner and for self interest alone, they will do it.

11. Now, I will prove the Concept of Plan C, which is to make roads sticky enough to stick away most of the dirty vehicle exhaust particles especially the toxic Lead particles. For this, you only need an ordinary vehicle with the engine running for a few hours. Then, place a stool directly behind the exhaust tailpipe of the car. Fix to the stool, a thin material like cardboard or plastic sheet, etc, coated with glue, directly in the path of the exhaust tailpipe. The distance of the glued sheet to the tailpipe should be that of the tailpipe to the ground. That's all. To be more accurate, incline the glued sheet about 45 degrees to the path of the exhaust, as I have explained in my 4th Email on Plan C. After a few hours or so, bring the sheet to a chemistry laboratory to measure What particles and chemicals have been stuck and How Much of it. These particles and chemicals and their amounts will be those removed from the air we breathe. By simple scaling up, you can calculate roughly how many micrograms or grams of pollutants can be removed by how much surface areas of glued roads in what time.

12. In the Beijing sandstorms, if every available surface area is glued, a significant amount of sand and pollutants can be removed from the air we breathe. For example, if all tall buildings are coated with glue or, more reasonably, if every window is covered with glue, or pasted with a transparent plastic sheet covered with glue, this can remove much sand and other pollutants. In Hongkong, too. However, to reasonably enforce this without invoking the building owners' ire, the removal and pasting of new sheets should be done only during the regular window washing which is done only once or twice a year. But every little helps. If this new Plan D, of sticky windows, [which is a subset of Plan C], is done TOGETHER with Plans B and C, the overall effect will be considerable.

13. As I have said, the good thing about kitchen science is that it is so simple it works. The principles are simple and PROVEN. If you are sending Chang E 1 to the moon, you need rocket science. But if you merely want to reduce air pollution, the principles are much simpler. I suppose that if I had posed as a professor from MIT, written my ideas in scientific mumbo jumbo, added in regression analyses, tables of data, dozens of footnotes referring to academic theses authored by Western authors, then your bureaucrat may have given my ideas more credence and interest.

14. I don't blame him entirely. He is a bureaucrat whose comfort zone is meetings, email and reports. His entire training is Western-based and his entire work methodology is to adopt Western solutions and orthodoxies. He does not have a support system for evaluating new ideas for implementation, no matter how practical and feasible. A government is nothing but a complex web of systems and procedures. When my ideas come up against such a system that does not have prior procedures for evaluation and implementation, the inevitable result is total rejection of those ideas. This would be true of any government, not just yours. However, he had to struggle to find excuses to reject my ideas. EVERY REJECTION EXCUSE HE GAVE WAS FROM ME! I had, in detailing the best procedures and conditions for testing the ideas, warned of certain conditions and he simply restated these conditions as excuses. In the only excuse he gave that I did not anticipate, I did not anticipate it because it was ridiculous.

15. So where do we go from here? We could do what your bureaucrat suggested, which is to forward the entire set of ideas to experts or academics for evaluation. He has clearly shown he wants nothing to do with it. Of course, if experts and academics, preferably Western, succeed with the ideas, then these would become orthodox, which means that, then, he would be happy to adopt them. Here, I need your help. I cannot forward these to experts and academics because I do not know any. Nor do I have the clout. So could you exercise your executive prerogative and order that this be done? Just a sentence to someone to "Forward this to some expert or academic for evaluation and report back to me". This could be the start of the end of bad air in Hongkong. And Beijing in time for the Olympics in August 2008. And the rest of the polluted cities in the world. INCLUDING WESTERN CITIES.

16. Or you could call for a local or international Design & Build Tender to build a Working Prototype for Plan B [Bubble Tanks]. This would be quite cheap. Like all turnkey projects, this would be simple to write. Your bureaucrats would simply need to specify the required results, which is a sizeable reduction in air pollution by say, 50%, within a specified Test Area. And some of the suggested design features such as the water tanks and pumping systems, etc. Since this would be Design & Build, turnkey, this can be done within weeks and sent out, probably privately, to interested parties. However, there is no design and build for Plan C [Sticky Roads] which is more amenable to academic analysis and experiments. I suggest that Plan B be done first, and the success of which can then be the confidence to proceed with Plan C.

17. I would like to end by reiterating that I have absolutely no ownership of these ideas or intellectual property thereof. Please feel free to forward these ideas, in whole or in part, or edited and rewritten, to anybody and everybody, who may be interested. The more people get involved the better because they will improve and add new expertise from their individual training and experience. Again, you can achieve this with a simple executive prerogative. Simply ask your staff to "Forward and discuss these with any or all your colleagues here and overseas who might be interested, and report back to me."

18. This is my good deed for the day. I hope you will act and make it yours, too.

For Clear Air and Clear Minds,
I am,

Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: [+65] 68989553
HP: [+65] 90127417
7 Nov 07 1420





4 attachments — Download all attachments

Email To Donald Tsang 18 June 2005 On Govt By Referebdum .doc
37K View as HTML Open as a Google document Download

Email To Donald Tsang 12 Oct 07 Plan A Jet Engines.doc
45K View as HTML Open as a Google document Download

Email to Donald Tsang 23 Oct 07 Plan B Bubble Tank.doc
75K View as HTML Open as a Google document Download

Email to Donald Tsang 29 Oct 07 Plan C Sticky Roads.doc
35K View as HTML Open as a Google document Download


Dear Mr Lee and Mr Pun, cc Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I think you and your department have totally missed the whole point and the whole stupendous issue. I propose all these ideas NOT FOR PERSONAL VAINGLORY. Indeed, when all these ideas succeed, and I have proven that they will -- and you and your department have not shown the contrary -- HONGKONG AND CHINA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL BENEFIT FROM THE CLEANER AIR!

2. I will not reap a single cent in benefit nor do I need the publicity or fame. Far from it. Please don't even mention that I have been involved.

3. In other words, what I have been doing is to simply FEEDBACK to your government, like any concerned citizen or well-wisher would. I have been merely giving SUGGESTIONS just like any Hongkonger or well-wisher would. That's all.

4. What would your department do with FEEDBACK and SUGGESTIONS from the public? Reject them without even seeing them, as you have done? Discourage further ideas and suggestions like you have done in your last reply? Tsk, tsk.

5. Thus, the onus is NOT ON ME to prove the feasibility of the project by enlisting the services of a university or laboratory, etc. In fact, I have proven the feasibility of Plan B [Bubble Tank] beyond any shadow of doubt in my last email, [which includes the minor sub-idea Plan D]. Surely, when you draw a chicken, you need not be so detailed as to even draw its intestines? I HAVE PROVEN THE FEASIBILITY! BEYOND ANY DOUBT! NO NEED FOR A UNIVERSITY OR LABORATORY TO BUY THE HK$1,000 WATER-FILTRATION VACUUM CLEANER TO PROVE THE PRINCIPLE! ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS TO SCALE UP THE APPARATUS BIG ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE AIR IN A BIGGER AREA. AND THIS CAN BE DONE EASILY WITH A TENDER FOR THE DESIGN AND BUILD OF A WORKING PROTOTYPE, WHICH, IF SATISFACTORY, WILL LEAD TO MASS MANUFACTURE MEANING BIG PROFITS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL TENDERER! CAN IT BE SIMPLER? THERE ARE HUNDREDS, IF NOT THOUSANDS OF COMPANIES OUT THERE WHO WILL JUMP AT THE OPPORTUNITY!

6. At this stage, we are not talking or arguing about technical feasibility. That I have proven beyond doubt that it works, Plan B Bubble Tank, at least. The scientific principles are PROVEN! Which is to dissolve and filter out chemical and particulate pollutants using a water tank. All you need is a big version of the water-filtration vacuum cleaner. We are now at the implementation stage, where we need to make some administrative and maybe, political, decisions. If we believe that the people of Hongkong, China and other world cities do deserve a chance of cleaner air, so that foetuses do not die stillborn like some are doing now, from the toxic Lead and other pollutants, then should we not rouse ourselves from our usual routine of comfortable meetings, email and reports to stick our neck out just once and say, "Let's do it". We can do it all quietly, without publicity or fanfare. Simply write out your Design & Build Tender and send it out privately to interested companies. They will do the rest. Within months, you will have several Working Prototypes ALREADY TESTED BY THE COMPANY BEFOREHAND BEFORE THEY EVEN HAND THEM OVER TO YOU, AS THEY MUST BE SURE OF THE DESIGNs' VIABILITY. Then, you install them somewhere quietly and note the improvement in API readings. Then, and only then, do you publicise the whole thing. The people of Hongkong, China and the world will then applaud you for your brave decisions. And we all live happily ever after.

7. Now, having said that, I will cease and desist. The more and the harder I push, the more it seems that I GET THE MOST OUT OF ALL THIS! Which cannot be farther from the truth. I get nothing out of it. I just want Hongkong, which I admire, especially your tv serials, which my wife and I watch every night, to be more liveable so that 1 day, if my son decides to work and live in Hongkong, the air will be good. [He is now a second year Economics student in LSE]. Thus, I do have a small, little, personal interest in Hongkong's clean air.

8. I will now stop pushing and let you all take over. No need to email or reply me further. If you go ahead, that's fine. If not, it's your city and you have the prerogative to do what you want with it. Thank you for your time and my apologies if I have ruffled any feathers with my pushing.

I am,
Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: [+65] 68989553
HP: [+65] 90127417
9 Nov 07 1847