Date
25 May 2017
Growing population and road traffic congestion have been blamed for the worsening air quality in Kwun Tong. Photo: HKEJ
Growing population and road traffic congestion have been blamed for the worsening air quality in Kwun Tong. Photo: HKEJ

Kwun Tong worst in air pollution this year, study shows

Kwun Tong has emerged as the worst district in Hong Kong in terms of air pollution, although the overall index for air quality has shown a slight improvement this year, environmental group Green Power said.

The number of hours when the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) reached 8 or above, corresponding to the “very high” health risk category, doubled to 48 this year from a year ago in Kwun Tong, Apple Daily reported, citing a preliminary study by the environmental group.

Tuen Mun, on the other hand, registered the most number of hours in the “mild” to “high” health risk categories, Green Power’s Cheng Luk-ki said.

Readings collected from all general and roadside air monitoring stations showed that Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tung Chung fared worse than other districts in air quality over the past 11 months.

The major air pollutants in Kwun Tong are nitrogen dioxide and PM10 (airborne particles up to 10 micrometers in size), which could have come from vehicle exhausts and construction projects in the community, Cheng said.

District Councilor Frankie Ngan Man-yu attributed the worsening air pollution to the increasing population, noting that tens of thousands of residents have moved into new public housing estates in the area over the last few years.

Also, with no road expansion, vehicular traffic has become increasingly heavy in the district, Ngan said.

He also blamed the use of power generators in various construction projects in the area.

In western New Territories, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tung Chung were the top three districts with the most number of hours with an AQHI of seven or above.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Department said air quality is also affected by the wind direction.

Tuen Mun and Yuen Long experience bad air quality when the north wind or westerlies prevail and ozone levels in the Pearl River Delta area run high. 

This year, with northeastern winds prevailing, air pollution is affecting Kwun Tong and the Eastern District more.

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EL/AC/CG

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