Hong Kong air pollution

Tourists use picture perfect billboard as pollution mars Hong Kong harbour views

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 3:29pm

A hoarding showing Hong Kong's skyline has become a surprising hit among tourists over the past few days as a soupy haze envelops Victoria Harbour.

The billboard, erected by the Architectural Services Department to cover a construction site on the Avenue of Stars, features photos of the harbour with a clear sky - something many tourists found more appealing than the real view yesterday.

Dallas Seager from Australia snapped her children in front of the board, so the family could have a nice picture with blue sky to upload onto Facebook.

"We did take pictures over there [with the actual harbour view]. But it is too foggy today," she said. "We couldn't see the architecture [on Hong Kong Island] clearly."

Many mainland tourists shared Seager's sentiments that the weather was "foggy", but said the air was not as polluted as it was in their home towns.

Song Zaiqin from Jiangxi province, who asked her daughter to take a picture of her in front of the billboard, said the air quality was still much better than back home. "It's just that we can actually see those buildings in the picture," she explained.

Donna Wong Mei-lin, who works in the Starbucks outlet opposite the board, said she was not surprised tourists preferred taking photos there. "They don't need to walk all the way to the other end of the avenue [where they could take a picture of the most famous architecture] on such a steamy day, only to find the pictures are not as beautiful as the board," Wong said.

We did take pictures over there [with the actual harbour view]. But it is too foggy today. We couldn't see the architecture clearly

Visibility was lower than five kilometres yesterday morning, but it gradually improved during the day, Hong Kong Observatory senior scientific officer Tam Kwong-hung said.

Under the influence of Typhoon Trami, which made landfall in Fujian province, a northwesterly and westerly wind was prevalent in Hong Kong and this contributed to lower visibility and higher air pollution.

Tam said visibility would improve today when winds were expected to turn southwesterly.

According to the Environmental Protection Department's Air Pollution Index, pollution levels were high to very high at general stations throughout the city yesterday.

The index at roadside stations was very high.

In the second quarter of this year, air pollution levels at general stations were high to very high 15 per cent of the time, three percentage points more than the corresponding period last year.