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Hong Kong air pollution

Very high levels of air pollution recorded in Hong Kong with areas near the airport worst hit

Light winds over the coastal area of Guangdong are unable to disperse pollutants, but airstream over the next few days may improve readings

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 10:52pm

Hong Kong recorded high levels of air pollution on Saturday, but conditions are not likely to last for the weekend, authorities have said.

According to the Environmental Protection Department, 14 out of 16 stations across different districts in the city recorded Air Quality Health Index readings ranging from 7 to 10, posing high (7) to very high (8 to 10) health risks yesterday afternoon.

Tung Chung, near Hong Kong’s international airport, on Lantau Island was the worst hit, with readings reaching a level of over 10 from 2 to 4pm yesterday, which are considered as “serious” health risks. By 5pm, levels were still at a high level of 10.

Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long reached a level of 9 and 8 respectively as of 5pm.

Levels in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Central dropped to moderate levels of between 5 and 6 later in the day.

The department attributed the “higher than normal” pollution levels to an airstream from the Pearl River Delta.

“Winds are light over the coastal areas of Guangdong today. Hong Kong is affected by an airstream with higher background pollutant concentrations from the Pearl River Delta. The light wind hinders effective dispersion of air pollutants,” the statement read.

But the high pollution levels will not last for long as increased wind speeds from a fresh easterly airstream is due to arrive in the next couple of days, the statement read, citing forecast from the Observatory.

“The air pollution level will be reduced with improved dispersion conditions,” the EPD said.

With a “very high” health risk category, children, elderly and those with existing heart or respiratory illnesses are advised to reduce time outdoors especially in areas with heavy traffic.