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Friday, September 19, 2014, 15:10

Pollution levels 'serious' as smog blankets city

By Timothy Chui /
 Pollution levels 'serious' as smog blankets city

Thick smog hangs over Hong Kong on Jan 5, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE)

HONG KONG - Smog blanketed Hong Kong Friday morning with roadside pollution monitors registering pollution levels in the upper bands.

All of the Environmental Protection Department's 15 monitors registered "high" or "very high" levels of pollution in the afternoon, with the air quality in the Central business district hitting the highest band of "serious" out of the department's five-tier system.

The last time local monitors registered a "serious" condition was June 8, the city's smoggiest day to date this year.

By 6 am, visibility at Chek Lap Kok airport was more than halved compared to the day before, hovering at just over 7 kilometers, while the view from Sai Wan Ho went from 50 kilometers yesterday afternoon to about 10 kilometers just before 3 pm Friday.

Nearly all stations registered levels well in excess of World Health Organization guidelines.

The Hedley Environmental Index of the Hong Kong University showed the cumulative loss due to air pollution between midnight and 2pm was more than 4,030 doctor visits, 141 hospital bed days as well as HK$29,400 in economic losses.

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