Health risk category for Air Quality Health Index may reach “Serious” level in HK today

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27th July 2021 – (Hong Kong)     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has recorded higher than normal air pollution levels since last Friday. According to the EPD’s forecast, it is expected that the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at some general and roadside air quality monitoring stations may reach the “Serious” level later today.

The weather is generally fine and winds are light over Guangdong. Hong Kong is still being affected by an air mass with higher background pollutant concentrations, and the light wind hinders effective dispersion of air pollutants. The intense sunshine enhances photochemical smog activity and the rapid formation of ozone and fine particulates in the Pearl River Delta region. The high level of ozone has also promoted the formation of nitrogen dioxide.

 According to the Hong Kong Observatory, an active southwesterly airstream is expected to bring unsettled weather in the middle and latter parts of this week. It is expected that air quality levels will improve by then.

 With a health risk category in the “Very High” or “Serious” levels, children, the elderly and persons with existing heart or respiratory illnesses are advised to reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities to a minimum or avoid such activities. The general public are advised to reduce, or reduce to a minimum, outdoor physical exertion, and to reduce time staying outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic. As health effects of air pollutants may vary for individuals, persons who are in doubt or experience discomfort should seek advice from health-care professionals. The public may visit the Centre for Health Protection’s website (www.chp.gov.hk/en/content/9/460/3557.html) for more information on the health effects of air pollution and relevant health advice.

The Education Bureau (EDB) urges all schools to visit the EDB website for appropriate measures to safeguard students’ health and take note of changes in the index. The relevant hyperlink is as follows: www.edb.gov.hk/en/sch-admin/admin/about-activities/sch-activities-guidelines/index.html.

 When the AQHI is at the “Very High” level, employers of outdoor workers performing heavy manual work are advised to assess the risk of outdoor work and take appropriate preventive measures to protect the health of their employees such as reducing outdoor physical exertion and the time of their stay outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic. At the “Serious” level, employers of all outdoor workers are advised to assess the risk of outdoor work and take appropriate preventive measures to protect the health of their employees.

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