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Health risk category for Air Quality Health Index may reach "Serious" level
     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has recorded higher than normal pollution levels. At 1pm today (May 6), the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at some general stations had reached 10, corresponding to the "Very High" health risk category.

     Winds are light over the coastal areas of Guangdong today. Locally, it is mainly fine and hot. Visibility is rather low in some areas. Hong Kong is being affected by an airstream with higher background pollutant concentrations from the Pearl River Delta. The light wind hinders effective dispersion of air pollutants. 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, a fresh easterly airstream will affect the coast of Guangdong gradually in the next couple of days. It is expected that with increased wind speed, the air pollution level will be reduced with improved dispersion conditions.

     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 health-care 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/Saturday, May 6, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:25
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