Hong Kong Pollution Levels Almost Broke Records In 2013

Hong Kong pollution was such a problem throughout 2013 that it almost broke local records.

Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were the second-highest in the city’s history, according to the Clean Air Network. Although legislators recently approved billions in funding to help replace diesel vehicles, this did nothing to improve the situation last year.

According to the environmental advocacy group, pollution levels in Hong Kong were the second-highest on record. In fact, monitoring stations throughout the area reported levels there were up to three times higher than World Health Organization guidelines.

“As you can see from the air quality in 2013, end-of-pipe solutions are not enough considering the time it takes. To speed up the improvement in air quality, we hope to see the government look into the problem from a comprehensive transport management perspective in this year’s policy address,” Clean Air Network CEO Kwong Sum-yin explained in a recent statement.

Despite the government’s recent efforts to curb pollution problems throughout Hong Kong, residents and tourists alike are still shocked by how much smog covers the city. While tourists have the luxury of leaving, locals are deeply concerned about effects of living in such a polluted region.

“Yesterday’s pollution was truly shocking — made my eyes sting,” one citizen recently posted on Twitter. There are dozens of similar posts on social media these days.

The Inquisitr previously reported that Hong Kong residents can stay up-to-date about pollution levels by downloading an app to their smartphone or tablet. When things are particularly hazardous outside, folks will receive an alert that tells them to stay indoors.

The app was reportedly released alongside the new Air Quality Health Index rating system. The revised alerts include a total of five different levels: low, moderate, high, very high, and serious. While this gives people plenty of warnings about pollution levels, it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.

“This new index offers little help to improve the air, it’s only a standard. We really need to see the government implement more measures and take quicker action,” Kwong Sum-yin recently explained during a chat with Bloomberg.

Joe Butler told the South China Morning Post that he wasn’t overly impressed with the Hong Kong government’s new system. He said, “Even if the air is visibly bad, the government always finds a way to say it’s fine. I live in Tung Chung so I can taste and see the bad air. I don’t need an app to tell me how bad it is there.”

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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