Reply To: Airborne particulates in Hong Kong – health risks


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 A Price Too High:

Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Southern China

10,000 deaths a year in southern China: can the region’s inhabitants afford to wait?

New data on health costs for Hong Kong, Macao and the Pearl River Delta


Hong Kong-based think tank Civic Exchange released a groundbreaking study today entitled A Price Too High – Health Impacts of Air Pollution in southern China. The study – conducted by leading health, science and public policy experts – reveals new regional data on the health costs of poor air quality. Annual deaths attributable to air pollution – based on 2006 data – are estimated at 10,000 in Hong Kong, Macau and the Pearl River Delta, with over 90% occurring in the Pearl River Delta. Air pollution is also responsible for 440,000 annual hospital bed-days and 11 million annual outpatient visits throughout the region.


In money terms, the hospital bed-days, lost productivity and doctor visits associated with this health impact cost RMB 1.8 billion a year in the PRD, HK$ 1.1 billion in Hong Kong, and HK$ 18 million in Macao. Adjusted for differences in gross domestic product across the region, the health-related monetary costs of air pollution in the PRD amount to RMB 6.7 billion.


In spite of the enormous health costs of deteriorating air quality, there is surprisingly little research in the region into the links between air pollution and poor health. According to the study, in the past 25 years only 147 such reports have been conducted for all of mainland China, with only 37 of those concerned with Southern China. The current air pollution indexes used in Hong Kong and the PRD are not merely insufficient but misleading, as they are not directly linked with health protection.



Full report and presentation are available on Civic Exchange website:

Full Report:
















Civic Exchange is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Hong Kong that helps to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. For more information about Civic Exchange, please visit