Hong Kong posts worst-ever air pollution levels
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post today reported that air pollution levels were the worst ever last year, while speculating that the ongoing crisis may further weaken the city’s role as an Asian financial centre.
Worsening air quality in Hong Kong caused by vehicle emissions and industrial pollution from the neighboring Pearl River Delta combined with the city’s millions of private cars and buses is already forcing many business executives to look elsewhere for relocation, such as Singapore, due to health concerns.
Readings at three roadside monitoring stations in Hong Kong’s Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok commercial districts showed that pollution levels were above the 100 mark more than 20 percent of the time, the newspaper said, citing the city’s Environmental Protection Department.
This was 10 times worse than in 2005, when very high readings were recorded only 2 percent of the time, it said.
The station in Central business district showed the worst figures, with excessive readings a quarter of the time, the report said.
Hourly readings are taken at the roadside stations throughout the year on major pollutants such as respirable suspended particles and nitrogen oxides. A reading above 100 means at least one pollutant fails air quality objectives.
Environmentalists renewed their calls for the immediate introduction of new air quality objectives, claiming that the government had deliberately delayed their introduction to ease the way for major infrastructure projects, the newspaper said.
The department blamed the figures on unfavourable weather conditions, worsening background pollution and the number of ageing vehicles on streets.