HK air pollution reaches ‘serious’ level

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The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has recorded a gradual increase in pollution levels since this morning (August 8).

According to the EPD, the AQHI (Air Quality Health Index) at some general and roadside air quality monitoring stations reached “Serious” levels and the AQHI may also remain higher than normal tomorrow (August 9).

Under the influence of the Tropical Cyclone Lekima, the weather in Hong Kong today was fine, very hot, but hazy.

Hong Kong is being affected by an air mass with “higher background pollutant concentrations.”

Higher than normal levels of ozone and particulates have been recorded in the territory since noon, the EPB said.

The sunshine enhances photochemical smog activity and the rapid formation of ozone and fine particulates in the Pearl River Delta region, it said.

The high level of ozone has promoted the formation of nitrogen dioxide, particularly in parts of urban areas and at the roadside, it added.

With a health risk category in the “Very High” range or above, children, the elderly and persons with existing heart or respiratory illnesses are advised to reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities to a minimum or avoid such activities, the EPB said.

The general public is advised to reduce, or reduce to a minimum, outdoor physical exertion, and to reduce time staying outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic, it added.

As health effects of air pollutants may vary for individuals, persons who are in doubt or experience discomfort should seek advice from health-care professionals.

When the AQHI is at the “Very High” level, employers of outdoor workers performing heavy manual work are advised to assess the risk of outdoor work and take appropriate preventive measures to protect the health of their employees such as reducing outdoor physical exertion and their time of stay outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic.

At the “Serious” level, employers of all outdoor workers are advised to assess the risk of outdoor work and take appropriate preventive measures to protect the health of their employees.

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, a southwesterly airstream is expected to bring showers to the coast of Guangdong early to middle next week.

It is expected that pollution levels will be improved by then.

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