Published: 20:17, February 9, 2023 | Updated: 09:38, February 10, 2023
HK sees improved air quality in 2022
By Wang Zhan

A woman takes a photo from the star ferry in Hong Kong on Feb 2, 2023. (PHOTO  / AFP)

HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s air quality registered a steady improvement in 2022, with the average concentrations of fine suspended particles dropping by more than half since 2013, the Environmental Protection Department said Thursday.

In a statement, the EPD said that Hong Kong's overall air quality in 2022 complied broadly with Hong Kong's Air Quality Objectives, with the annual average concentrations of respirable suspended particulates (PM10), fine suspended particulates (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) reduced by 43 percent to 62 percent from 2013. 

“In the same period, the annual average pollutants concentrations at the roadside have been reduced by 47 percent to 64 percent,” the statement reads.

The HKSAR government is also planning to set up a supersite for GBA air quality laboratory and meteorology monitoring in Hong Kong

“The number of hours of reduced visibility in Hong Kong has been greatly reduced by 74 percent from its peak in 2004,” it added.

The EPD also said that the annual average concentration of ozone also gradually turned steady in the past few years. 

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Relatively high levels of nitrogen oxides were recorded in  Kwun Tong, Causeway Bay and Kwai Chung but an EPD spokesman said these will go down with the government's continued implementation of air quality improvement measures under the Hong Kong Roadmap on Popularisation of Electric Vehicles, Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035 and Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2050.

“Local NOx emissions will be further reduced and the overall air quality in Hong Kong will improve continuously," he said.

Principal Assistant Secretary for Environment and Ecology (Air Policy) Kenneth Leung Kai-ming (second left), Assistant Director of Environmental Protection (Air Quality Management) Stephen Siu Chi-wai (second right), Principal Environmental Protection Officer (Air Science and Modelling) of the Environmental Protection Department Eddie Lee (first left), and Senior Environmental Protection Officer (Air Science and Modelling) of the EPD Tony Lee Yu-tao (first right) pose for a photo before an EPD press briefing on Hong Kong's air quality in 2022 on Feb 9, 2023. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

To combat the regional ozone issue, the governments of Guangdong and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions are conducting a three-year joint study on "Characterization of photochemical ozone formation, regional and super-regional transportation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA)" to better understand the origin of ozone formation and its transportation characteristics. 

The Hong Kong SAR and Guangdong governments have also completed a study on post-2020 regional air pollutant emission reduction targets and concentration levels and will jointly combat the regional ozone problem to further improve air quality in the Pearl River Delta Region.

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The HKSAR government is planning to set up a supersite for GBA air quality laboratory and meteorology monitoring in Hong Kong. The supersite will be equipped with world-class advanced equipment to further enhance Hong Kong's regional air pollution monitoring and forecasting capability, according to the statement.