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Air Quality Health Index will remain higher than normal today and tomorrow
     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has recorded higher than normal pollution levels. At 5pm today (September 7), the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at Tung Chung Air Quality Monitoring station reached 10+, corresponding to the "Serious" health risk category. According to the EPD's forecast, it is expected that the AQHI will remain higher than normal tomorrow (September 8).
     Under the influence of a continental airstream, the weather in Hong Kong today is fine and hot with light winds. Higher than normal levels of ozone and particulates have been recorded in the territory since noon. Hong Kong is being affected by an air mass with higher background pollutant concentrations. The sunshine enhances photochemical smog activity and the rapid formation of ozone and fine particulates in the Pearl River Delta region. The high level of ozone has promoted the formation of nitrogen dioxide, particularly in parts of the urban areas and at the roadside.
     According to the Hong Kong Observatory, there will still be light winds for a couple of days. It is expected that pollution levels will remain higher than normal until the wind strengthens next week.
     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 is advised to reduce, or reduce to a minimum, outdoor physical exertion, and to reduce time staying 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's 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 (www.aqhi.gov.hk/en.html) or by calling the hotline 2827 8541.
Ends/Saturday, September 7, 2019
Issued at HKT 17:38
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