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Hong Kong weather

‘Very high’ to ‘serious’ health risk as air pollution smothers Hong Kong

Weather to remain sunny with low visibility through the day, with one or two isolated showers in the afternoon

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 11:18am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 May, 2017, 12:52am

A blanket of heavy pollution swept across Hong Kong on Wednesday, reaching the most serious level for the third time this month.

The pollution levels are expected to remain high over the next few days, the government forecasted.

As of 2pm, readings at the city’s 13 general stations as well as three roadside stations had reached “very high” or “serious” health risk levels. Six stations reported scores of 10+, the highest possible, indicating a serious health risk.

The six stations were Tsuen Wan, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Tung Chung, Tap Mun and Mong Kok roadside.

Children, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory issues were advised to avoid staying outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic.

It was the third time when Tung Chung recorded 10+ this month, following May 5 and 6.

An Environmental Protection Department spokesman said the pollution was brought by high pressure over the western North Pacific as well as light winds locally.

“In addition, Hong Kong is also being affected by an airstream with higher background pollutant concentrations from the Pearl River Delta,” the spokesman said.

He added that the sunshine, together with “higher than normal” levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulates, had enhanced the smog, resulting in high pollution.

Citing the Observatory forecast, the spokesman said high pressure would continue to affect the city in the next couple of days.

“It is expected that the pollution levels would still be higher than normal before the pollutant dispersion gets better,” he said.

Tsuen Wan yesterday recorded the highest harmful PM2.5 particulates levels, at 210 micrograms per cubic metre –more than eight times the World Health Organisation’s safety limit of 25 and almost three times Hong Kong’s limit of 75.

Tung Chung recorded 191 while Tuen Mun recorded 150, followed by Mong Kok (118), Central roadside (108) and Causeway Bay roadside (107).

According to the Observatory, it will be mainly fine and hot over the next couple of days.

The Observatory recorded a maximum of 29.6 degrees Celsius in Tsim Sha Tsui. Tin Shui Wai recorded the highest 31.5 degrees, while Yuen Long, Peng Chau, Wong Tai Sin, Sai Kung East Country Park, Kwun Tong and Happy Valley all recorded temperatures above 31 degrees.