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. Child Hospital Visits Rise With Pollution In Hong Kong

Polluted air = sick kids.
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Sep 21, 2006
The number of children admitted to hospital with breathing problems rises considerably as smog levels soar, a Hong Kong study revealed Thursday, heightening concerns as the city's air quality deteriorates. Researchers at Hong Kong University found that rise in pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone of around three percent produced a five percent rise in the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma.

"If ambient level of these pollutants were reduced by an average of around 50 percent, it could have cut down around 3,400 hospital admissions for asthma in children during the study period," a study report concluded.

"There is a need for health policy makers to develop more stringent air quality objectives and take high risk groups into consideration such as those at the extreme of ages, with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular illnesses," it added.

Smog levels in Hong Kong have risen in the past few years to often dangerous levels. Poor air quality reduced visibility to less than one kilometer (about half a mile) on more than 50 days last year.

The government says the problem is mostly due to the industrialisation of southern China's neighbouring Pearl River Delta region, while green groups blame local coal-burning power stations and diesel-powered buses.

Growing concern over the severe increase has put the issue at the top of the political agenda, and the government has been criticised for ignoring it.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Hong Kong University
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Birth Defects Rise In China Due To Pollution
Beijing (AFP) Sept 20, 2006
A rising incidence of birth defects in some parts of China is being attributed to environmental pollution, unhealthy lifestyles and poor nutrition, state press said Wednesday. The trend has led some experts to debate the reintroduction of compulsory pre-marital health checks which were scrapped in 2003, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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