Pollution choking HK is a 'public health crisis' - RTHK
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Pollution choking HK is a 'public health crisis'

2019-08-09 HKT 11:54
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  • As Super Typhoon Lekima churns away in the area, pollutants have been trapped over Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of HKO
    As Super Typhoon Lekima churns away in the area, pollutants have been trapped over Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of HKO
A green group warned on Friday that air pollution currently affecting Hong Kong is a public health crisis and called on the government to issue more stringent warnings to make people limit their exposure to it.

This comes as pollution continued to choke Hong Kong with the effect of Super Typhoon Lekima trapping pollutants in the region.

The air pollution over the city was expected to further worsen on Friday afternoon, according to experts.

The Environmental Protection Department said children, the elderly and people with respiratory illnesses should avoid going outdoors.

The typhoon was affecting the whole of the Pearl River Delta area, said Kenneth Leung, a principal environmental protection officer.

[It] basically traps all pollutants in this area and due to the strong sunlight, it actually escalated the chemical effect. All the pollutants just affect the Pearl River Delta area, including Hong Kong," Leung said.

The Clean Air Network said it is worried that there doesn't seem to be enough immediate action by people to reduce their exposure to these hazardous pollutants.

The group's chief executive officer, Patrick Fung, said this is a public health crisis.

He said the roadside NO2 levels in Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok hit this year's high on Thursday. Government needs to tell people what to do, especially at lunchtime and peak hours in the afternoon, said Fong.

He said winds were too weak to disperse pollution like that caused by road traffic.

"[The] street canyon effect, with tall buildings on the roadside, would trap all the air pollution produced. This situation would be more severe during lunch hours and off-work peak hours," he said.

At noon, Lekima was centred about 240 kilometres northeast of Taipei. It was forecast to move northwest at about 16 kilometres per hour across the East China Sea and to edge closer to the coast of Zhejiang.

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Last updated: 2019-08-09 HKT 14:59