Health risk category for Air Quality Health Index may reach "Serious" level
The ridge of high pressure over the western North Pacific is extending westwards to southeastern China. Locally, it is mainly fine and hot with light winds today. Visibility is rather low. The light wind hinders effective dispersion of air pollutants. Higher than normal levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulates have been recorded in the territory since this morning. In addition, Hong Kong is also being affected by an airstream with higher background pollutant concentrations from the Pearl River Delta. The sunshine enhances photochemical smog activity and the formation of ozone and fine particulates during the daytime, resulting in high pollution in the region. The high level of ozone has promoted the formation of nitrogen dioxide, particularly in parts of the urban areas and at the roadside. It is expected that the AQHI at some general and roadside air monitoring stations may reach the "Serious" level later today.
According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the ridge of high pressure will continue to affect southeastern China in the next couple of days. Hong Kong will remain fine and hot with light winds. It is expected that the pollution levels would still be higher than normal before the pollutant dispersion gets better.
With a health risk category in the "Very High" range or above, children, the elderly and persons with existing heart or respiratory illnesses are advised to reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities to a minimum or avoid such activities. The general public are advised to reduce, or reduce to a minimum, outdoor physical exertion, and to reduce time outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic. As health effects of air pollutants may vary for individuals, persons who are in doubt or experience discomfort should seek advice from healthcare professionals. The public may visit the Centre for Health Protection's website (www.chp.gov.hk/en/content/9/460/3557.html) for more information on health effects of air pollution and relevant health advice.
The Education Bureau (EDB) urges all schools to visit the EDB website for appropriate measures to safeguard students' health and take note of changes in the index. The relevant hyperlink is as follows: www.edb.gov.hk/en/sch-admin/admin/about-activities/sch-activities-guidelines/index.html.
When the AQHI is at the "Very High" level, employers of outdoor workers performing heavy manual work are advised to assess the risk of outdoor work and take appropriate preventive measures to protect the health of their employees such as reducing outdoor physical exertion and the time of their stay outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic. At the "Serious" level, employers of all outdoor workers are advised to assess the risk of outdoor work and take appropriate preventive measures to protect the health of their employees.
Members of the public can check the current AQHI readings at the EPD's website (www.aqhi.gov.hk/en.html) or by calling the hotline 2827 8541.
Ends/Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:16
Issued at HKT 12:16