Toxic Haze Descends On Hong Kong, Prompting All-Time High 'Severe' Record Air Pollution Levels

This man should probably not be doing this.

According to the Hong Kong Government's Environmental Protection Department website, when the the air pollution is severe, people should "reduce physical exertion as far as possible".

Apparently this record-breaking and apocalyptic air pollution we are trying to survive has something to do with a big sand storm blowing down from the Gobi desert.

First it was Beiijing, and reports are now saying that the Korean peninsula and Taiwan are also getting coated in a fine layer of dust. Are we next?

Who knows, but I can certainly say that after being in the city all day, my eyes feel sore, and my throat feels dry.

My nose has felt blocked for days, and the skin on my face feels tight. The air tastes sickly sweet, even acrid.

And the boys at the Hong Kong Observatory are still telling us that "locally, visibility will be rather low". Too right.

I'm not sure about sand storms, but I'm pretty sure this muck is coming from roadside traffic in Hong Kong and the factories across the border boundary in China. 

If I was one of these Western tourists, I'd be rather upset at coming all the way here from wherever and not even being able to see the skyline.

The ships in the harbour were sounding their (sm/f)og horns as the visibility was so awful.

Oh for some clean air, please?! Someone mentioned to me today that China is opening three coal-fired power plants a week at the moment.

I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I really wish the filthy, dirty, tiny, little, yellow rocks in the air, otherwise known as 'respirable suspended particulates', would just go away.

See the above chart, and note how the Government's Air Pollution Index (API) hit 500 in many parts of town today. And it just stuck there, as 500 is the maximum reading that the out-dated equipment which the government uses can handle. Could it have continued upwards to hit 550, 600, 800, even 1000 later on today? Who knows? All we know is that today's air pollution was, quite literally, off the scale...

For a far more appropriate air pollution index that counts, in financial terms, the human cost of the damage air pollution does to our health, try the Hedley Environmental Index.

And for a far more authoritative view on today's unprecedented environmental event than this blog, visit the Clean Air Network website.

ALEX HOFFORD : HONG KONG CHINA PHOTOGRAPHER

All images and text © Alex Hofford / Image Solutions Ltd. 2011 | Web design in Hong Kong by Ugli © 2011