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November 3rd, 2011:

Light to be shed on air quality

Howard Winn – Laisee Column  3rd Nov 2011

The US embassy in Beijing has infuriated the Chinese authorities by giving out its own air quality measurements, which differ markedly from the official Chinese ones. Unfortunately for the government most people believe the US figures. While air pollution isn’t so bad here as in Beijing the problem in Hong Kong is that while the Environment Bureau puts out daily figures they can’t be trusted.

When the University of Science and Technology did its own measurement of the air quality with its mobile real-time air monitoring van, its readings showed much higher levels of pollution than the government monitoring stations.

We also understand that the Environment Bureau is using outdated equipment which is no longer accepted in the US and many parts of the EU. The readings this old equipment gives can be out by as much as 30-40 per cent.

So, since the Hong Kong government is so reluctant to tell us the true air quality figures despite having plenty of money to buy modern equipment, perhaps the US consulate could do us all a favour and monitor the air quality for us.