Wall Street Journal – China Real Time Report
August 2, 2012
Roadside air-pollution levels hit a two-year high in some parts of Hong Kong this week, obscuring the city’s vistas in a sea of white haze and prompting the government to warn the young, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory illnesses to stay inside.
Hong Kong’s sky is typically bluer and cleaner in the summer months than in the rest of the year, as winds from the south blow in fewer pollutants and strong sea breezes offer relief, dispersing the dirty air. This week, though, the air was heavy with smog, as a nearby typhoon created a weather system that trapped pollutants and helped condense them, causing them to sink. At 7 a.m. on Thursday, roadside monitoring stations in the city’s Central district recorded air-pollution index readings of 212, an extreme not seen in the area since dust storms hit Hong Kong in March 2010, bringing with them a cloud of noxious air.
Environmental activists say that while weather is to blame for the latest surge in pollution, the government should still be doing more to address the root issues behind the city’s grey skies, such as car emissions. “The weather is just exacerbating the situation,” said Erica Chan, campaign manager at Clean Air Network.
– Te-Ping Chen. Follow her on Twitter @tepingchen
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