HK air pollution poses 'serious' health risk as AQHI readings of 10+ recorded in New Territories

The Air Quality Health Index measured at monitoring stations across the city indicate very high risks to health

Wong Tsui-kai |

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Severe air pollution is blanketing Hong Kong.

The air pollution in Hong Kong today has been severe, with Environmental Protection Department monitoring stations recording an Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) of 10+ at stations in Tuen Muen and Tung Chung at 5pm, posing a “Serious” health risk. Meanwhile, stations at Tsuen Wan, Yuen Long, Tai Po and Tap Mun registered “Very High” risks.

Roadside stations in Central and Mong Kok registered AQHI readings of 8 and 9 respectively, also indicating “Very High” risks.

The relative lack of wind is slowing the dispersal of pollutants, and the Hong Kong Observatory predicts pollution levels to remain high until the wind strengthens over the region in the middle and latter parts of the week.

Air pollution causes long-term health problems, and denies children basic human rights

Young Post spoke to Professor Guo Hai of Polytechnic University’s department of civil and environmental engineering. He said the accumulation of pollutants has been observed starting from November 8, and pointed to both local emissions, such as cars, and regional emissions from the Pearl River Delta, as the source.

“It is not just primary pollution, but accumulation and chemical reactions causing secondary pollution such as ozone to form,” he says. “We’ve measured it at over 100 ppb [parts-per-billion], which is over the national limit.”

Children, the elderly and people with existing heart or respiratory illnesses are advised to reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities to a minimum, or avoid such activities.