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HK's pollution 6 times worse than 2005

URBAN pollution in Hong Kong has jumped sixfold in the past four years, but experts say local vehicles are more to blame than smog blown in from southern China's manufacturing belts, a newspaper reported yesterday.

In recent years, Hong Kong's image has suffered from poor air quality, with its iconic harbour shrouded in a thick chemical smog at times. Officials have often blamed pollutants blown in from the industrial heartlands in the neighboring Pearl River Delta and Guangdong Province.

But the closure of scores of Delta factories in the global financial crisis and efforts to clean up Guangdong power plants have cut pollution level above street level by more than half in recent years.

But on street level an analysis of air pollution at three roadside monitoring stations found "health-threatening pollution levels" in the first half of this year were six times higher than the same period in 2005, the South China Morning Post reported.

Experts attributed most of the rise to local traffic clogging up Hong Kong's congested roads.

"It is undeniably a local pollution problem at street level. All we need is a lot more and urgent measures to address vehicular pollution to protect public health," Alexis Lau, an expert at the University of Science and Technology, was quoted as saying.

Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department, however, blamed regional air pollution from the mainland, saying key pollutants emitted by motor vehicles had fallen.


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