Key Recommendations 3:
Strengthen Exposure Control to Minimize Health Risk

 

Current Status:

Human exposure to air pollution has been associated with a variety of adverse health effects such as respiratory and cardiovascular effects attributed to short- and long-term impact.

It is stated on the “Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong” (2013) that “Hong Kong is reformulating our own air quality policy to focus on health protection by aiming to manage not only air pollutant concentrations but also population exposures.” However, since 2013, it is unclear which bureau or department is leading the process, what the latest status is, and what the expected outcomes are.

As a result, there is an information gap on the locations, time, duration and frequency when public and vulnerable groups are exposed to high concentration of air pollution and hence the health risk.

From academic researches and Environmental Protection Department figures, districts such as Shum Shui Po, Kwai Chung and Tuen Mun are generally associated with a higher number of socially deprived groups exposed to a higher level of air pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Fine Suspended Particulates (PM2.5) [1]. Special attention should be paid to these districts.

 

Recommendations:

3.1       We urge the HKSAR Government to provide an official definition on exposure hotspots, identify top exposure hotspots in districts, and develop solutions to reduce human contact with air pollution in terms of duration, frequency and concentration at hotspots.

3.2       We recommend the HKSAR Government to establish territory-wide exposure-based target as the success indicator of policy measures.

3.3       To better control public exposure to health risk, we urge the HKSAR Government to implement district-specific policy measures, including to extend the Low Emission Zones to cover highly affected districts, such as Sham Shui Po, Kwai Chung and Tuen Mun.

3.4       In parallel, we urge the HKSAR Government to tighten the emission standards of Low Emission Zones to allow only Euro VI, hybrid or electric buses to operate. The HKSAR Government should formulate a plan to regulate other types of vehicles from entering the Low Emission Zones at designated time.

 


[1] Are the Socially Deprived Exposed to More Air Pollution in Hong Kong? HKU-Cambridge CEERP reveals air pollution-induced environmental injustice (HKU, 2018) https://www.hku.hk/press/press-releases/detail/17413.html

Story posted on
25th Sep, 2020

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