Hong Kong was hit by severe air pollution for the second day in a row on Thursday, when the highest alert level was reached in Tung Chung and temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius were recorded in other parts of the city.
The “serious” risk to public health under the Air Quality Health Index was recorded at 2pm on the outlying island area, as the Environmental Protection Department advised people to avoid outdoor activities.
The department said pollution levels would remain high on Friday.
At 7pm on Thursday, when temperatures stood at 31 degrees Celsius, the Observatory issued the “very hot” weather alert, and warned members of the public against heatstroke and other adverse health effects.
Two monitoring stations in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long recorded a “very high” health risk from air pollution on Thursday, the second highest category in the five-tier scale, after hitting the highest level a day before.
“Under the influence of the outer subsiding air of Tropical Cyclone Danas and the area of low pressure over the northeastern part of the South China Sea, the weather in Hong Kong today is hazy with sunny periods and light to moderate westerly winds,” a department statement read.
“Hong Kong is being affected by an air mass with higher background pollutant concentrations. Higher than normal levels of ozone and particulates have been recorded in the territory since this morning.”
Hongkongers sweltered on Thursday as the mercury reached a sizzling 36 degrees Celsius in Ta Kwu Ling, and 35 degrees Celsius in Sha Tin, Tai Po, Kowloon City and Sham Shui Po, according to the Observatory.
The Environmental Protection Department advised members of the public to avoid or reduce outdoor physical exertion, especially for children, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory diseases.
The department also said employers of all outdoor workers should assess the health risks and take appropriate steps to reduce outdoor work and protect the health of their workers.