Press Release: An Important Milestone-Analysis of PRD Regional Air Quality Monitoring Data

Civic Exchange and the Institute for the Environment (IE) of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) applaud the release of the 2006 monitoring results of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network. The report provides the most comprehensive and publicly available summary of the air quality data for the PRD. With a full year of data, there is now a stronger foundation for understanding the region's air quality.
The Guangdong data just released from the ground stations confirm that the air quality in 2006 throughout the region was a threat to people's health. The most polluted areas are those just to the west and south of the Guangzhou urban area.
Hong Kong is less polluted than most of the region although Zhuhai and Zhongshan experienced less pollution still.
Alexis Lau of HKUST IE points out the scientific value of this information, “In addition to providing year-long summary of previously unreported species like ozone, the new data also provides ground truthing confirming earlier satellite-derived regional air quality distributions. By examining the new data and combining it with satellite data, we can clearly see that, compared with the early 2000s, the severity of the pollution at the urban centers has worsened, and regionally the area affected by highly polluted air is now much larger. By having already examined pollution flow in 2006 in our recent study, we also know the relative importance, by mass and by time, of both local and regional emissions for Hong Kong."
Christine Loh of Civic Exchange notes the policy implications, "It is indisputable Hong Kong must work hard on two fronts at the same time. We must clean-up our own pollution sources (transportation, power and marine), which are the dominant sources locally 53% of the time, and collaborate with the authorities across the border to reduce emissions from a variety of activities in the PRD – including power generation, manufacturing, transportation and port operations".
Bill Barron of HKUST and Civic Exchange notes, “With the improved data base authorities will be able to more readily identify the most important pollution hot spots and over the long term site new polluting facilities in places where the emissions will do the least damage to people’s health.”