Environment and Health：Hazardous Air
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published a list of “Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019”, and air pollution is on the list. It is also considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health.
In the past two decades or so, there has been a gradual improvement in Hong Kong’s air quality. However, when comparing with other major cities in the world, the air pollution problem in Hong Kong is still serious.
The major sources of air pollutants in Hong Kong include nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, respirable suspended particulates (PM10) and fine suspended particulates (PM2.5). Apart from power plants and ocean going vessels that sail across the waters of Hong Kong, the air pollutants in Hong Kong mainly come from vehicles; designs of the city and its buildings, climate, wind speed, etc. will inevitably affect the air quality as well, yet the urban and industrial development of peripheral regions have made pollutants transport from the Zhujiang Delta, or even more remote places, deteriorating Hong Kong’s air quality.
Air pollution can impose very serious impacts on cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular health. It is also one of the reasons causing lung cancer. The air pollution problem must be addressed at source in order to solve it. Nonetheless, Hong Kong is densely populated with a heavy traffic, together with its geographic location, it seems that it is impossible to cut pollution at source completely.
This programme has worked with Clean Air Network and conducted a social experiment, in which four groups of people who live or work in Sham Shui Po were given a suggested daily walking route with cleaner and fresher air respectively, but the routes were longer than their normal ones. Time or health – what would be their choice?