Nearly 30% of high pollution days in Causeway Bay amid slight improvement in air quality for 2/3 regions in 2015
Clean Air Network compared the Air Quality Health Index in 2015[i] to that of 2014 using the data from the Environmental Protection Department. It was found that in 2015 air pollution remained a severe threat to public health if counting in days with AQHI 7 and above. In Causeway Bay, there were 99 days falling into the categories of high health risk and bad air days. In other words, for 27% of the time Hong Kong citizens were exposed to high air pollution in this main business district.
This figure was followed by those of Central, Mong Kok (2nd) and Tuen Mun (3rd) with 66 and 62 days of high pollution respectively, while Causeway Bay was ranked in the top two for two consecutive years.
However, there was a slight improvement in the overall air quality in 2015, as was shown in ten monitoring stations where a drop in pollution hours from 6% to 34% was recorded; whereas for the remaining five stations, pollution hours increased from 5% to 31%. The average pollution hours also decreased from 414 in 2014 to 366 in 2015.
CAN also calculated consecutive high pollution days for different districts. It was found that districts of Causeway Bay, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun and Tung Chung had undergone the threat of eighteen consecutive high pollution days, breaking the record of thirteen days in Yuen Long, Tuen Mun and Tung Chung in 2014.
We also analysed AQHI levels each month in every district and discovered that January, February and October were the months with high pollution index on average while health risk is highest in Causeway with more months experiencing high pollution.
In light of the high pollution in busy traffic areas such as Causeway Bay and Central, Clean Air Network CEO Sum Yin Kwong says, “Hong Kong government should take note of the setting-up of car free zones in downtown areas in Milan, Italy. In Hong Kong, we should also consider banning private vehicles from running along busy districts when AQHI level reaches 10+, in order to reduce the public’s exposure to toxic pollutants.”
Clean Air Network will hold a press conference on Jan 7 to provide a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of the trends of each pollutant in 2015 and make policy recommendations.