From: Associated Press
Published September 16, 2004 12:00 AM

Hong Kong Gasps Under Record Air Pollution

HONG KONGĀ — Thick smog shrouded Hong Kong this week, pushing air pollution near the airport to an all-time record for the territory, environmental officials said.


The level climbed above 200 on the Hong Kong Air Pollution Index for the first time, peaking with an afternoon reading of 201 in part of outlying Lantau Island, the Environmental Protection Department said.


Such a reading signified "severe" air pollution, officials said.


The smog was caused by relatively calm and sunny weather in the past two days, with little wind to disperse pollutants in the air, a department statement said.


Hong Kong's previous record of 197, or "very high" pollution, was recorded on June 9, said department spokeswoman Natalia Leung.


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The government warned the general public to reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities in the highly polluted area. Very high readings, which are between 100 and 200 and occur frequently, prompt such warnings for people with heart and respiratory problems.


Other parts of Hong Kong had far lower pollution levels Tuesday.


Hong Kong is frequently obscured by pollution, and a government environmental official recently acknowledged that about 80 percent of it blows in from mainland China.


Officials in Hong Kong and China's neighboring Guangdong province say they are working on a cleanup plan.


Source: Associated Press


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