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Pollution Alerts And Effects On Internet Tracker

HK Standard – Friday, December 19, 2008

An air pollution tracker has been launched to give readings online on smog and its associated costs in real time.

The Hedley Environmental Index, which provides readings from the Environmental Protection Department’s general and roadside stations, was commissioned by the Civic Exchange and developed by the Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health of Hong Kong University.

“By showing how far our pollution exceeds the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guidelines, and how much this is costing us in dollars and affecting lives, HEI lays down a minute by minute marker that tells us how much we have to do,” Civic Exchange chief executive Christine Loh Kung-wai said.

“You may check the weather and the air pollution index, but low, moderate and high API readings given by the government are vague at best.”

The tracker will allow users to have a better grasp of the air quality to expect, Friends of the Earth director Edwin Lau Che-feng said.

SPH chairman Anthony Hedley added: “The index makes clear that we are facing an epidemic of heart and lung disease. The current standard doesn’t offer … an indication of the damage to their health or how to reduce their exposure,”

HEI can be found at hedleyindex. TIMOTHY CHUI

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