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Calm Weather Leaves Air Pollution At High

Nishika Patel – Tuesday, March 04, 2008 – The StandardAir pollution in Hong Kong yesterday hit its highest level this year with the air pollution index in Central and Causeway Bay exceeding 150 and that in Mong Kok reaching 130.

An API in excess of 100 is described as bad and people with heart or respiratory illnesses may notice mild aggravation of their health conditions.

Generally healthy individuals may also notice some discomfort.

Environmental Protection Department official Dave Ho said the high pollution levels were caused by still air conditions, adding there should be an improvement today when winds are expected to pick up.

However, environmentalists have described the government’s explanation as inadequate, saying the real culprit was Hong Kong’s and the Pearl River Delta’s high combustion emissions.

I must be critical of the government response. All maritime conditions do is push the pollution away. It does not disappear, it just goes to someone else’s air space,” said professor Anthony Hedley of the department of community medicine at Hong Kong University. He added the health impact on the elderly and children would be severe on days like yesterday.

This is a very high level by any criteria. But it is the average daily levels that have the most serious effects. High pollution days just bring it to people’s attention,” Hedley said.

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