Battling Hong Kong’s pollution

It’s no secret that Hong Kong has an air pollution problem, one which is rising in tandem with an increasing number of expats living and working in the city. Enjoying the city while keeping your lungs healthy has become quite the challenge then…

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Hong Kong has the 7th highest percentage of expats among their population in the world, and despite recently moving up in the ECA International’s rankings, has one of the highest pollution levels in the region. So how can they and the locals avoid the smog, and what can employers and insurers do to help?

Why is Hong Kong so polluted?

While the air quality is somewhat affected by local traffic and coal-fired power stations, Hong Kong is not entirely to be blame for their lowly standing. Neighbouring the island are tens of thousands of Chinese factories, all which send their pollutants floating towards the former British colony.

Staying indoors not so great

On days of severe pollution alerts are sent out warning citizens and expats to stay indoors. At first glance this advice appears to be sound, but the problem doesn’t end there – Baptist University found that indoor pollution was up to 1250% higher than outdoors.

And it doesn’t end there. PM2.5 levels (small particle pollution) were also up to 10% higher than those found on the highest street levels. You can see the countries with the highest levels in the world here.

Air Quality Health Index (AQHI)

Citizens and expats should keep a close watch on the AQHI. The index shows most up-to-date risk levels caused by pollution throughout Hong Kong and China, and advice on what actions to take in each situation can be found here. Employers and insurers should consider sending alerts to employees and clients to keep them safe.

It’s already been said that staying indoors could be damaging your health just as much, if not
more, than by going outside. A potential solution is to buy an air purifier for your house, particularly your bedroom. Wearing masks is also a common fix, although not as effective.

Information on the Hong Kong health system can be found here.

Image: Yym1997