Deteriorating air quality in Hong Kong is sending more people to hospital, says a new survey.
According to a pair of researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who examined day-to-day pollution levels and hospital visits over a six-year period, a rise in airborne pollutants in Hong Kong was associated with a rise in emergency hospital visits.
Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the study, led by professor Yu Tak Sun Ignatius and Ph.D candidate Hong Qiu, comes as residents report increasing levels of frustration with the city's pollution. In 2010, a survey found that one out of four Hong Kongers have considered leaving the city because of its air quality, up from one in five in 2008, according to local think-tank Civic Exchange. A few years ago, the director of the city's Philharmonic Orchestra had his family do just that, packing them up and moving them to Wisconsin, citing frustration with the city's lung-choking air.
A previous study by the University of Hong Kong this year suggested that air pollution was responsible for some 3,200 annual deaths in Hong Kong(pdf). Businesses consistently rank pollution as one of their top issues of concern in moving staff to Hong Kong, particularly those with young children.
Mr. Yu and Ms. Qiu found that every 10 micrograms per cubic meter daily increase in coarse airborne pollutant particles resulted in a 1% increase in emergency hospital admissions for respiratory disease, or an additional 830 hospital admissions.
The study controlled for other kinds of pollutants, including PM2.5, superfine air particles dozens of times thinner than a human hair, which Hong Kong and mainland China only began publicly monitoring earlier this year. While such superfine particles are the greatest source of concern for public health experts, because of how they can penetrate the body's organs, the Hong Kong researchers also found that so-called 'coarse' particles--including those between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in size--likewise 'have a high impact on public health,' said Ms. Qiu.
'These coarse particles shouldn't be ignored,' said Ms. Qiu, who says the city's future air quality objectives should adopt standards that explicitly address such particles. 'They can also cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease.' Even short-term exposure to heavy air pollution, experts say, can prompt heart failure, arrhythmias and stroke.
在对六年内香港的每日污染水平和医院就诊人次进行考查之后，香港中文大学(Chinese University of Hong Kong)的两位研究人员说，香港空气中的污染物增多与急诊病例数上升之间存在关联。
该报告发表在《环境与健康展望》(Environmental Health Perspectives)上，此项研究由余德新教授和博士生邱宏牵头。研究报告发表正值香港市民表示对空气污染感到越来越失望之际。据香港智库思汇政策研究所(Civic Exchange)说，2010年，据一项调查显示，有四分之一的香港人因空气质量问题而考虑离开香港，而2008年时的比例为五分之一。几年前，香港管弦乐团的首席指挥就将妻儿从香港迁到了美国威斯康星州。这位指挥当时给出的搬家理由是香港的空气令人窒息。
香港大学(University of Hong Kong)今年早些时候进行的一项研究显示，空气污染导致香港每年约3,200人死亡。企业一直将污染列为派员工驻港时所担心的主要问题之一，特别是有小孩的员工。
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