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Hong Kong Air Pollution Reaches Very High Levels

HK air pollution reaches very high levels

Staff reporters – Updated on Mar 03, 2008 – SCMP

Hong Kong’s air pollution on Monday once again reached very high levels with the roadside station in Causeway Bay recording a worrying level of 153.

Readings taken at Central and Mongkok have reached 148 and 122, respectively, local radio reported.

General stations have also recorded high or very high levels. Readings done in Sham Shui Po reached as high as 116, while those at Kwai Chung were 111, and reading at Central and Western peaked at 110.

The government said people with heart or respiratory illnesses should reduce physical activity and outdoor activities.

Experts say the main factors causing air pollution in Hong Kong are industries, power generation, construction work and an increasing number of motor vehicles.

Pollution also drifts across to Hong Kong from southern China. With the mainland experiencing rapid economic growth, worsening pollution from factories in Guangdong impacts on the territory.

Air pollution is also affecting Hong Kong’s reputation as an international hub. Regional headquarters and offices set up by overseas companies in the territory have said air pollution was one of the top three issues which the government needed to address, a Census and Statistics Department report found.

An American Chamber of Commerce survey has also said the deteriorating quality of the environment was affecting member companies’ continued investment in Hong Kong.

Other studies show that poor air quality was costing companies millions of dollars each year in medical costs and lost productivity.

Clear the Air, is a volunteer environmental group, has warned that air pollution threatens Hong Kong’s public health, as well as its economic and social well being.

“Many districts in Hong Kong are failing to meet statutory health standards for air quality, and the associated health costs to individuals, businesses and society are estimated to cost billions of dollars each year,” it said.

Government projections show that the air quality will continue to deteriorate in the future. This is because of the growth in motor vehicles in Hong Kong and in the Pearl River region.

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