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We’re breathing ‘dangerous’ air

South China Morning Post – Laisee

Just in case you didn’t notice the air yesterday – it was bad. According to the government’s air pollution index, the pollution level was “high” – that is, it was at the midpoint of the index. It tells us: “Very few people, if any, may notice immediate health effects. Long-term effects may, however, be observed if exposed at such [a] level persistently for months or years.”

However, according to the Hedley Environmental Index, which follows World Health Organisation guidelines, the air quality can be classified as “very dangerous”.

Jim Middleton, chairman of green group Clear the Air, observed that yesterday’s bad pollution occurred even though factories and construction sites in the Pearl River Delta were closed and despite a decline in Hong Kong traffic while many people were on holiday. “But the ocean-going vessels and ferries, along with the local power stations and buses, were running.”

Middleton remarked: “Our secretary for the environment has done nothing for our air quality other than massive prevarication, yet he earned a Golden Bauhinia from a chief executive intent on building white-elephant infrastructure [ahead of] his duty [to] care for the health of the public.”

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