Air purifiers bring relief to residents of subdivided units in Sham Shui Po

Siu Fong (a pseudonym) says her nasal allergies and sleep quality have improved since she installed the air purifier.

26th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Siu Fong and her young daughter reside in a cramped subdivided unit measuring less than 100 sq ft in Cheung Sha Wan. The proximity to a bustling road has left their living space constantly covered in dust, even when windows are rarely opened. Siu Fong expressed her discomfort, sharing how surfaces that she cleans in the morning are soon coated in a fresh layer of dust by the afternoon.

To combat the issue, Siu Fong has filled her home with numerous plants in an effort to purify the air. Recently, she received an air purifier from the Sham Shui Po Community Living Room. After just two weeks of use, the concentration of PM2.5 particles in their home has significantly decreased.

The compact device, measuring less than 20cm in all dimensions and weighing only 500g, has made a noticeable difference. Siu Fong explained, “The device doesn’t take up much space and is lightweight. We can place it on the table or hang it up. There is less dust than before. I am less prone to nasal allergies, and I sleep much better.”

In an attempt to alleviate poverty, the Sham Shui Po District Office has implemented locally developed technologies to serve the community. District Officer Paul Wong explained that in collaboration with the Development Bureau’s Spatial Data Office, they gathered data on conditions in subdivided units. This information allowed them to identify buildings with higher population density and provide targeted assistance to those in need.

Through the Community Involvement Programme, approximately $200,000 was allocated to distribute 1,000 older-model air purifiers with wooden casings to families in subdivided units. Additionally, in April of this year, the District Office facilitated the donation of at least 400 new-model air purifiers through the Sham Shui Po Community Living Room and another upcoming Community Living Room operated by St James’ Settlement. Users are encouraged to participate in data collection activities to assess the effectiveness of the technology.

The new-model air purifier, developed by Lingnan University’s Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative, offers a streamlined design, including a small fan, two filter papers, and recyclable plastic casing. It can effectively filter pollutants such as dust, allergens, and even the coronavirus, reducing PM2.5 concentrations by 80%. The purifier costs approximately $150, with filter paper replacement recommended every six months at a cost of around $30.

Winning the Gold Award at the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions and the iF Design Award in the building technology category, the air purifier has gained recognition for its efficiency. Prof Albert Ko, Director of Lingnan University’s Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative, highlighted the team’s ongoing efforts to develop washable and reusable filters, as well as air purifiers of various sizes and airflow capacities to cater to different needs.