A government-backed study has found that cooking oil smoke is a significant contributor to Hong Kong’s air pollution, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Following a mandate from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology collected particulate matter samples with diameter of 1 micrometer or smaller (PM1) at an air monitoring station in Mong Kok from March to July last year.
The result showed that density of PM1 was 22.7 micrograms per cubic meter on average in the area, of which vehicle emissions contributed 6.3 micrograms, taking up 27.7 percent, while 3.3 micrograms was contributed by cooking oil smoke, accounting for 15.8 percent, the report said.
Further, it was found that the density of PM1 would become heavier during peak lunch and dinner time.
Professor Chak K. Chan who was in charge of the study at the university, was surprised with the result, and has proposed that the government undertake further study on the catering industry’s impact on air pollution and take measures to cut their emissions.
However, a spokesman with the EPD was quoted as saying that the study was only based on data from one air monitoring station, and that the monitoring period was short. Thus, the conclusion needs further clarifications and confirmations, he was quoted as saying.
Simon Wong, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, echoed a similar view, saying that the sample does not reflect the whole trade.
He added that restaurants have followed some emission rules before receiving licenses from environmental regulators. If further measures are put in place to cut emissions, it will lead to increased costs for the sector, he said.
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