Environment & Health Hong Kong

3 times worse than Beijing: ‘Unhealthy’ levels of pollution engulf Hong Kong

Hong Kong recorded “unhealthy” levels of air pollution on Wednesday, amid moderate northeasterly winds.

According to the World Air Quality Index, downtown Central recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) scores of 190 at 4pm – several times worse than pollution levels in Beijing. Other districts of Hong Kong recorded similarly “unhealthy” AQI levels.

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AQI levels at 4pm. Photo: aqicn.org.

An AQI level between 151-200 means that members of the public “may begin to experience health effects.”

The Environmental Protection Department also recorded Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) scores of above eight in most districts of Hong Kong, posing a “very high” health risk.

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Victoria Harbour at 5:35pm. Photo: Hong Kong Observatory.

The department recorded the highest levels of air pollution in Causeway Bay, with an AQHI of 10 at 4pm.

hku smog index

Statistics for March 1 from the University of Hong Kong’s Hedley Environmental Index.

The Hong Kong Observatory said that the city is being affected by a dry northeast monsoon.

“Locally, it was hazy today,” the observatory said. “Visibility in the harbour once fell to around 4,000 metres.”

Worse than Beijing

Wednesday’s AQI figures for Hong Kong were over three times higher than those for Beijing, often known for its serious smog problems.

At 4pm, the US State Department recorded an AQI level of 53 in the Chinese capital, representing a “moderate” level of air pollution.

Hong Kong’s pollution levels were also higher than those for the Chinese mega-cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu.

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Photo: US Department of State.

According to the observatory, moderate north to northeasterly winds are also expected for the city on Thursday.

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3 times worse than Beijing: 'Unhealthy' levels of pollution engulf Hong Kong