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. Hong Kong Choking Beneath Worst Smog This Year

The government's Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said the higher-than-expected pollution levels had been caused by cool settled weather the night before trapping smog within Hong Kong's high-rise canyons.
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Feb 07, 2006
Hong Kong was choking under a cloud of unseasonable smog Tuesday with air pollution at its highest level in five months, triggering a government health warning.

Citizens with heart or lung complaints were advised to stay off the streets of the southern Chinese territory as dangerous particulate levels reached 105 on the environmental protection department's air pollution index.

A reading higher than 100 is considered harmful to health and triggers an automatic health warning announced on radio and TV.

The government's Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said the higher-than-expected pollution levels had been caused by cool settled weather the night before trapping smog within Hong Kong's high-rise canyons.

The worst affected areas were the Causeway Bay shopping district, which reached 105, and the Central business district, which hit 102, in the morning.

Such conditions are more typical of autumn than winter.

The index went past the 200-mark in September 2004, a year for records when Hong Kong experienced 65 days of smog.

Pollution is a growing problem in Hong Kong, which is inundated by smog from the heavily industrialised Pearl River Delta Region of neighbouring southern China.

The government and environmentalists Friends of the Earth Hong Kong estimate that 80 percent of the pollutants recorded in Hong Kong drift in from China, mostly from vehicle exhausts and factory and power plant fumes.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Environment and health officials from more than 120 countries agreed in Dubai on Tuesday to an initiative to limit chemical hazards, the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) director announced.

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