16 February 2019
The sky over Nanjing turned purple on Wednesday amid a high concentration of PM2.5 in the city. Photo: Weibo
The sky over Nanjing turned purple on Wednesday amid a high concentration of PM2.5 in the city. Photo: Weibo

Smog from northern China to hit HK as Nanjing sees purple sky

Air pollution in Hong Kong is likely to reach high levels this afternoon, the Environmental Protection Department has warned.

Smog from northern China is expected to hit Hong Kong later today, as could be indicated by the EPD’s general and roadside stations, Ming Pao Daily reported.

However, the department’s Air Pollution Index reading stations cannot detect the more dangerous PM2.5, airborne particulates smaller than 2.5 micrometers which are blamed for most of pollution-related illnesses.

Earlier this month, Beijing issued its first air pollution red alert amid a heavy smog that shrouded the capital city.

That smog continues to move south, and has already seriously affected the southern province of Guangdong, the newspaper said.

On Wednesday several major cities in the province, including Guangzhou and Foshan, raised the yellow alert, the second-highest level of air pollution warning, while other cities like Dongguan and Zhongshan also experienced a medium level of pollution.

Guangdong’s environmental protection department said its own monitoring showed that PM2.5 is the main pollutant in the air.

Matthew Rous, the British consul-general in Guangzhou, said on his Weibo account that he was unable to see his office building and the Canton Tower, a city landmark, from the street because of the thick smog.

However, the Guangdong Meteorological Service has forecast that air quality will improve today and tomorrow as cold air comes in.

Meanwhile, residents of Nanjing, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, said the sky turned purple on Wednesday amid a high concentration of PM2.5 in the city.

Photos of a purple haze in the sky were being widely circulated online with netizens saying they had never seen anything like it before in the city.

A meteorologist said residents need not worry too much about the phenomenon, noting that the purple tint resulted from the twilight glow penetrating the smog in the air rather than caused by some extremely dangerous pollutants.

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