Hong Kong authorities urged the public to limit their time outdoors on Wednesday as severe pollution hit the city’s northern areas.
The Environmental Protection Department recorded higher than normal pollution levels in the city, with air quality in both Tuen Mun and Yuen Long measuring over 10 for health risk – the most serious ranking.
Air in a number of other areas – including Mong Kok and Tseun Wan – was rated as “very high” risk, the second highest ranking on the department’s Air Quality Health Index.
The department expected other monitoring stations around the city to measure similarly poor air quality later on Wednesday.
According to the department, when the health risk is rated “very high” or “serious”, older people and children should keep outdoor activities to a minimum.
“The general public are advised to reduce, or reduce to a minimum, outdoor physical exertion, and to reduce time staying outdoors, especially in areas with heavy traffic,” the department said in a statement.
The pollution was caused by hot weather, which was forecast to reach a high of 33 degrees Celsius, combined with light winds, the department said. The sunny weather caused a higher ozone concentration, while the lack of strong winds meant air pollutants were not being blown away.
Higher-than-normal pollution levels are expected to continue until Friday, when the Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting showers.
Over the weekend, the city can expect more bad weather due to a tropical storm brewing in the region, an observatory forecaster said.