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HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong to launch new air pollution index

It can estimate short-term health risks.

In a report, the Environmental Protection Department said the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) will launch on December 30, to replace the existing Air Pollution Index and communicate health risks from pollution more effectively.

Speaking to the press, Deputy Director of Environmental Protection Andrew Lai said the new index estimates short-term health risks caused by air pollution, providing more timely and useful information.

The AQHI will be reported on a scale of 1 to 10 and 10+, and is grouped into five health-risk categories - low, moderate, high, very high and serious. The index also provides advice for people with different degrees of susceptibility to air pollution.

Calculations are based on the cumulative health risk attributable to the three-hour moving average concentrations of four air pollutants - ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates.

The forecast will alert the public before the onset of serious air-pollution episodes, and will help people take necessary precautionary measures, Mr Lai said.

The department has also developed the HK AQHI application for smartphone users.

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