The Environmental Protection Department recorded higher than normal pollution levels at noon Tuesday, with the air quality health index at some general and roadside stations reaching 8 or above, corresponding to the “very high” health risk category.
Severe Tropical Storm Hato is edging closer to the south China coast and is expected to make landfall Wednesday or early Thursday. The upcoming typhoon has prompted the No. 1 standby signal and brought a continental airstream to Hong Kong.
The weather is very hot with the mercury hitting 35.5 degrees celsius at 3 p.m. in King’s Park, with moderate west to northwesterly winds.
Light winds hindered the dispersion of air pollutants formed yesterday and led to higher than normal pollution level in the morning.
The intense sunshine enhances photochemical smog activity and the formation of ozone, resulting in high ozone concentrations in the Pearl River Delta region.
The high level of ozone has prompted the formation of nitrogen dioxide, particularly in parts of the urban areas and at roadsides. It is expected that the AQHI readings at some general and roadside air monitoring stations may reach “serious” level later Tuesday.
According to the Observatory, Hato is expected to be closest to Hong Kong Wednesday morning. Local winds will strengthen significantly tonight and tomorrow morning. It is expected that pollution levels will remain higher than normal until Hato reaches the Guangdong coast.
With a health risk category in the “very high” range or above, children, the elderly and people with 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 outdoor physical exertion as well as time outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic. As health effects of air pollutants may vary for individuals, people who are in doubt or experience discomfort should seek advice from healthcare professionals.
The public may visit the Centre for Health Protection’s website for more information on the health effects of air pollution and relevant health advice.
Members of the public can check the current AQHI readings at the EPD’s website.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection reminded members of the public, particularly those who undertake outdoor activities, to take necessary measures against heat stroke and sunburn.
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