Hong Kong air pollution: 'life-threatening' levels

Jan 04, 2010
A resident covers her nose over pollution in Hong Kong. The city's roadside air pollution reached life-threatening levels one in every eight days last year, a report said Monday, citing figures obtained from the government.

Hong Kong's roadside air pollution reached life-threatening levels one in every eight days last year, a report said Monday, citing figures obtained from the government.

The roadside index recorded by the Environmental Protection Department showed there were 44 days of "very high pollution" in the Central district last year, the South China Morning Post said.

The figure was significantly higher than 39 days in 2008 and 13 days in 2005, the newspaper said.

"Very high pollution" levels -- with the air pollution index exceeding 100 -- can significantly aggravate the symptoms of people with heart or respiratory illness, the department said.

Healthy people may experience irritation to the eyes, wheezing, coughing and sore throats.

A roadside station in the densely-populated Mongkok district recorded 37 "very high pollution" days last year, compared to just one five years ago, the report said.

In Causeway Bay, another busy shopping and residential hub, the figure is up five-fold from 2005, reaching 25 days, the report said.

A department spokesman said the trend could be partly attributed to unfavourable and that the index did not reflect the full picture.

"Selective picking of a certain range of Air Pollution Index readings for comparison will not give a fair and comprehensive picture of how air quality changes over the years," a department spokesman said in a written reply to AFP.

However, a team of scientists said findings from their own research show that the roadside pollutant levels in Central were two or three times higher than the government figures.

"From the findings of our study, we can logically deduce that the number of 'very high pollution' days would be more than the (government's) figure," said team leader Chak Chan, acting head of the environment division at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Chan said their findings were more accurate because they used mobile measuring devices, while the government used stationary tools.

Air quality in continues to deteriorate due to emissions from the southern Chinese factory belt over Hong Kong's northern border and local emissions from power generators and transport.

The city has been wrapped in a thick blanket of haze for most days in recent months.

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hong Kong air pollution equals record high

Oct 24, 2009

Hong Kong air pollution has equalled a record high registered in 2000, triggering a warning for people with heart or respiratory illnesses, according to the Environmental Protection Department.

Sydney reports high levels of pollution

Feb 23, 2006

The city of Sydney, Australia, is experiencing a smog-filed summer season as air pollution levels double and officials have issued 14 health warnings.

Study says Chinese air quality standards not yet met

May 13, 2008

With the Olympic Games in sight, the Chinese Government is committed to improving the air quality in Beijing, and has had measures in place since 1998 which have already made a difference. However, there is still some way ...

Air pollution may increase risk of appendicitis

Oct 06, 2008

Could there be a link between high levels of air pollution and the risk of appendicitis? New research presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, suggests a novel ...

Thick Smog over Beijing, China

Nov 10, 2005

Thick pollution obscured the sky over Beijing and nearby regions on November 4, 2005. According to news reports, the city's pollution index reached the highest level on the scale between November 4-5, and residents were warned ...

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

12 hours ago

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LKD
not rated yet Jan 04, 2010
I wonder when the Pearl River Delta will catch fire like the Cuyahoga?

More news stories

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...