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Air Pollution Index expected to remain very high tonight and tomorrow

     A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department said today (August 1) that the Air Pollution Index (API) exceeded 100 today at various general (ambient) and roadside air quality monitoring stations.

     At 3pm today, the API at the general stations at Yuen Long, Tung Chung and Central/Western reached 202, 183 and 137 respectively due to elevated ozone concentrations while the API at the Kwun Tong general station and the Central, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay roadside stations was at 105, 162, 147 and 127 respectively due to high levels of nitrogen dioxide.

     The spokesman said that, under the influence of the outer subsiding air of typhoon Saola, the weather has been fine and the wind has been light in the South China region since Monday (July 30). The intense sunshine and high temperature have enhanced photochemical smog activities, resulting in elevated ambient ozone levels in the region.

     "At the roadside, the API has also reached the 'Very High' level due to trapping of pollutants from motor vehicles and poor dispersion in urban areas, coupled with high regional background air pollution," the spokesman said.

     "According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the weather tomorrow will continue to be fine and hot with light wind. The sunny and hot weather will enhance the formation of ozone in the region during daytime, leading to the API at general stations being higher than normal in the afternoon. The roadside API is also expected to stay higher than normal because of poor dispersion of air pollutants and a high regional background air pollution level," the spokesman added.

     The spokesman advised that with an API at or above the "Very High" level, people with heart or respiratory illnesses, the elderly and children should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities, and avoid prolonged stays in streets with heavy traffic.

     The Education Bureau urged all schools to watch out for any changes in the API in the next couple of days and to reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities for all students to protect their health.

     The Labour Department urged employers to assess the risks of outdoor work. Employees who feel unwell should inform their supervisors.

     Members of the public can check the current API readings at the EPD's website ( or by calling the hotline 2827 8541.

Ends/Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:56


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