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Air Quality Health Index may reach "Serious" level

     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has recorded higher than normal pollution levels. At noon today (February 12), the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at the Causeway Bay and Central roadside monitoring stations reached 10 and 9 respectively, corresponding to the "Very High" health risk category.

     A dry continental airstream is affecting the south China coast. The weather is fine with light to moderate northeasterly winds. Higher than normal levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide have been recorded in the territory since Tuesday evening because of stronger regional influence. In addition, light winds hinder effective dispersion of air pollutants and lead to the accumulation of air pollutants in part of the urban areas and at the roadside. It is expected that the AQHI at the roadside may reach the "Serious" level later today.

     According to the Observatory, wind will increase in the next two days. It is expected that a higher than normal level of pollution will linger until dispersion improves.

     With an AQHI 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 health-care professionals. The public may visit the Centre for Health Protection's website ( 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: .

     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 ( or by calling the hotline 2827 8541.

Ends/Thursday, February 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:37


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