Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

Air pollution in Central and Causeway Bay exceeds WHO levels 280 days in a year

Air pollution levels in Central and Causeway Bay violated global health and safety standards for almost 280 days in the past year, with Des Voeux Road and Hennessy Road experiencing the worst levels of fine particulate matter on Hong Kong Island, a new study has found.

The air quality study, results of which were announced on Thursday, measured fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 in the air on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island along the tramway, by installing a monitoring unit on a tram car for a year’s worth of constant monitoring.

Even in Eastern District, where there was less traffic, the PM2.5 levels exceeded the international standard for more than 80 days in a year, the study found.

“The study offers another set of data to confirm the air pollution in the city is very serious,” said Simon Ng, chief research officer of Civic Exchange, a think tank that worked with the University of Science and Technology on the research.

“Our government must make it a policy priority to improve roadside air quality in major urban street canyons.”

Ng cited an earlier University of Hong Kong study that suggested older people were particularly vulnerable to the pollution, which could lead to respirational problems and heart conditions.

The new study, conducted between March last year and February this year, also found that areas with good ventilation and lower buildings helped to dispense the pollution.

The World Health Organisation’s recommended standard for PM2.5 is 25 millionths of a gram per cubic metre daily, and 10 millionths of a gram per cubic metre as an annual mean.

But Des Voeux Road has the highest concentration, registering 55 millionths of a gram per cubic metre as its annual mean, followed by Hennessy Road between Tonnochy Road in Wai Chai to the west and Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay to the east.

In general, Central and Causeway Bay exceeded the WHO daily standard for almost 280 days in the yearlong study. But areas around spacious Victoria Park contained lower levels of the harmful particles than Yee Wo Street, which is congested with tall buildings, despite heavy traffic in both areas, the study suggested.

Professor Jimmy Fung, head of HKUST’s Division of Environment, said good city planning would help to ease the pressing problem. “The government should devise a long term strategy to improve wind and air dispersion in urban street canyons with every new development and urban re-development opportunities.

“He said pedestrianisation scheme and low emission zone should be considered in locations where roadside air quality is really bad, such as Des Voeux Road West, Hennessy Road and King’s Road.

Source URL (modified on Apr 30th 2015, 6:54pm):

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *