• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 9:47pm
NewsHong Kong

Filthy air to persist all weekend as pollution reaches most serious levels

Causeway Bay, Central, Mong Kok roadside pollution levels ‘serious’ on new air quality index

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 January, 2014, 8:52pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 January, 2014, 10:27pm

A dirty haze will continue to linger over Hong Kong all weekend, government officials have warned, after pollution readings again reached their most serious levels.

The Environmental Protection Department said higher than normal levels of air pollution would remain in place until rain offered relief early next week.

Yesterday, air quality at Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung and Sha Tin reached the most serious level on the new air quality health index (AQHI).

Roadside pollution levels in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok also reached the top level in the AQHI, 10+, indicating a "serious" risk to health.

"It is expected that the pollution would persist at a level higher than normal," the Environmental Protection Department said in a statement.

The Observatory also expects hazy conditions to persist.

"The particulates and particles will accumulate over the territory because the winds are quite light," a spokeswoman said.

Launched this week, the index, analyses three-hour average concentrations of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and tiny particles, using a scale from 1 to 10, and 10+. The level of pollutants is divided into five health-risk categories - low, moderate, high, very high and serious.


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This article is now closed to comments

Why do I get the feeling that people who complain about pollution in Hong Kong are more of an annoyance than anything else for the unelected government?
I may sound naive but HK is one of the 7 countries in the world with budget excedents years after years and more on their bank account than Apple. They could afford to replace the five thousands 10-15 year old buses and subsidize the taxis to go electric in one go but very little is done. China has already electric buses and taxis, what is HK doing ?
They don't seem to care about the 7M medical consultations per year due to pollution. So many children are developing asthma or keep coughing. They have done nothing to apply the same rules as in Europe or Singapore to the 480 000 container ships per year creating 50% of the pollution due to cheap gas. The boats can burn the cheapest, filthiest, high-sulphur fuel..1 boat is equivalent to a few thousand cars.
As Hong Kong energy is still powered partially by a very polluting coal and 60% of the energy is spent on air-con, nothing is done either regarding buildings which have zero temperature insulation and all of a quite poor quality.
Lobbies, lobbies, lobbies of powerfull families for sure but wake up, people are dying or simply .... leaving Hong Kong. Billions are lost. This city has so much to offer and is so great in many aspects.
Putting aside 50% of the other source of pollution, China mainland, a cleaner Hong Kong is possible !
Breathe deeply my friends, that is the China Dream you are smelling
"1 boat is equivalent to a few thousand cars"
1 Maersk mega carrier emits more pollution than 50 MILLION cars
now, why do we not have an Emissions Control Area ??????
Several observations, but few that really diverge from your main point. First, as to coal for power generation, the coal power plants in HK all have precipitators and flue gas desulphurization systems that remove 99+% of the particulate. It ain't the coal plants in HK that are adding the particulate. What you sometimes see coming out of the top of the stacks at coal plants is water vapor. In china that is not the case as electrostatic precipitators and flue gas treatment systems are not required (except for plants built by foreigners). Gas plants here emit very low levels of particulate. As to taxis and busses, there are a pretty significant portion of those running on CNG (compressed natural gas) and as such, even with the inefficiencies of an internal combustion engine, there should be very little particulate. So that gets us to private cars, trucks and ships. The notes below about the ship burning bunker and higher sulphur level fuels are true and that matters has been ignored in the equation for a long time because we don't want to highlight that the vaunted container terminal or passenger terminal business might be causing us worries. Equally, private cars are seldom running on CNG and lorries typically run on diesel and are famous for being poorly tuned. But my guess is most of those lorries coming from China are not going to be targeted by our government here.
I'm just so glad it's only going to last through the weekend. Everything should be totally fine after that .....lol
I guess the winds have been extra light for the last 2-3 years. Yesterday we could not see across the harbor from Central to TST. The good news is, that this will only last through the weekend and by Monday it should all be gone and there will be rainbows everywhere. Hooray to our government for saving the day.
- 70% of busses are Euro 2. (smoke belchers)
- That it will cost HK$15 billion to replace them. (That is US $2 Billion)
- If we replace them (along with old trucks) our air will be much cleaner and people of Hong Kong will have a better life.
- Bus fares need to stay low so that it does not put a high burden on the poor of HK (thus bus companies cannot jack up fares to pay for the busses)
- Many new MTR lines are coming in that will reduce # of busses
- Cost of pollution is extremely high and is dragging down productivity (big losses)
** I think the resolution is easy. The government easily has the cash on hand and should pay 70% of the replacement of the 2 franchise bus companies in Hong Kong. government pays HK$10 Bil and the franchise bus companies pay HK$5 Bil and to provide incentive they can tell the franchise companies they will save even more if they reduce the fleet size.
the hk gov set up the new AQHI just to make pollution the talk of the town. just like the terror alerts, bump up the alert when gov ratings are low.
Dear ejmciii,
Happy New Year ! Thanks for answering but I am afraid that we may not agree on some points and that governement in HK still has a lot to do in regards to pollution compared to Europe or Singapore.
Saying that Taxi and Buses are not creating much pollution is quite extreme as a lot of them are Euro I, II, and III. An excellent article in the SCMP was pointing this ****www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1311137/replacing-old-hong-kong-buses-will-save-hundreds-lives-says-study?page=all as well as many articles from other sources.
Another point which adds to the worry is that Christine Loh, the under secretary for the environment said that Hong Kong’s shift over the last decade to almost complete dependence on LPG for light commercial vehicles had produced unintended consequences. Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, one of the most important contributors to smog, surged by a fifth in Hong Kong’s air from 2008 to 2012, and a team of local and international scientists have traced the cause to LPG-fueled vehicles, Hong Kong environmental regulators said at a news conference.
As for the coal plant, could you share numbers and more facts which could prove your point. Happy to learn more about this.
Your answer is much appreciated and I would love to get your full name rather than a pseudo.
All the best,
China Dream!


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