Airborne particulates in Hong Kong – health risks

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      ever heard of an agglomerator ?
      well the technology is there and clear views and no s–t in your lungs are readily available if the local power companies are forced by EPD to install it
      it is in their hands
      set th ePM2.5 levels to US EPA standards and the power companies will fit it
      they wil have to

      look up Indigo agglomerator on Google

      CLP is trying one now at Castle Peak
      It needs 16 to cover all its eight boilers at Castle Peak
      Percentage wise HK Electric is a far bigger polluter than CLP that has a larger gas and nuclear fuel mix
      HK Electric are not even considering the technology
      They should be forced to by the AQOs that EPD issues

      what would it cost for clear air?
      well 10 day’s coal bill for CLP would cover the cost of another 15 agglomerators

      what do they do?
      they charge the ultrafine particles so that they ‘stick’ to the larger PM10 particles that the electrostatic precipitators in the chimney stacks catch (soot catchers)
      the power companies say they catch 99% of particulates Gee
      they cannot catch the PM2.5 that kills people and causes our low visibility and adds to the HKG haze
      and that 1% is thousands of tonnes into our air and straight into your lungs since your nose and throat hairs cannot stop them

      so for a few bucks Exxon Mobil and Li Ka Shing can clear our air, and EPD has the power to make them do it by just issuing one AQO standard they must meet – PM2.5
      the agglomerators reduce the fine particulates issued from the power generation stacks by between 70% and 90%
      use the technology


        I have been looking around for a decent air purifier in Hong Kong and from what I see only two choices are really worthwhile. Either IQ air or Alen air purifiers.

        I am thinking of going with the Alen brand at because test results clearly show that it performs equally to IQ air at less than half the price. Does anyone have any other suggestions?


        Health risks of dirty n dangerous air not just evident in increased health problems and deaths as air becomes filthier.

        Also evident as air is cleaned, and people benefit, inc by living longer, as risks are reduced. Reuters reporting from US:

        Dramatic improvements in U.S. air quality over the last two decades have added 21 weeks to the life of the average American, researchers reported on Wednesday.

        Reducing fine particles given off by automobiles, diesel engines, steel mills and coal-fired power plants have added as much as 15 percent of the 2.72 years of extra longevity seen in the United States since the early 1980s, they wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

        Using life expectancy, economic, demographic and pollution data from 51 metropolitan areas, Pope and his colleagues found when fine-particle air pollution dropped by 10 micrograms per cubic meter, life expectancy rose by 31 weeks.

        Areas such a Akron, Ohio, and Philadelphia showed that kind of drop in air pollution.

        The bigger the decline, the longer people began living.


        Cleaner air equals 21 more weeks of life


        From LA Times:

        It is well known that air pollution from cars and trucks on Southern California freeways — a combination of soot, pavement dust and other toxic substances — can cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer and premature death.

        Now, exposure to pollution particles roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair has been linked to brain damage in mice, including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a USC study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

        The study was prompted by earlier research by a separate group in Mexico that noted significant differences in brain samples collected from children and young-adult accident victims in smog-laden Mexico City compared with those in Veracruz, which has cleaner air. The brain tissue collected in Mexico City showed more extensive inflammation, oxidized DNA and other pathological markers of Alzheimer’s disease, Morgan said.

        Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice


        From Greenpeace in China:

        Study on premature deaths reveals health impact of PM2.5 in China

        Greenpeace calls for capping regional coal consumption

        December 18, Beijing – An estimated 8,572 premature deaths occurred in four major Chinese cities in 2012, due to high levels of PM2.5 pollution, a joint study by Greenpeace East Asia and Peking University’s School of Public Health has concluded. The report also estimates PM2.5 pollution caused the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Beijing to suffer a combined total of US$1.08 billion in economic losses over the past year. Greenpeace is calling for an urgent policy adjustment, including capping regional coal consumption, De-NOx retrofiting for existing coal-fired power plants, and shutting down inefficient coal-fired industrial boilers.

        The report “PM2.5: Measuring the human health and economic impacts on China's largest cities” states that if these cities can effectively lower their PM2.5 levels to meet the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guidelines (WHO AQG), such deaths would be reduced by at least 81%, and the economic losses for these four cities could be reduced by $US868 million. Unfortunately no cities currently have a timeline to meet WHO AQG.

        “PM2.5 is putting public health at high risk every day, but worse still, if we follow the current official plans we would need to wait 20 years to get to the national standard, which is still risky compared to the WHO guidelines,” said Greenpeace campaigner Zhou Rong. “Who can afford the wait?” Greenpeace is calling for a concrete and ambitious timetable to tackle PM2.5 pollution, thus improving the air quality to reach the health standard set out by WHO AQG.

        For the report, researchers from Greenpeace and Peking University’s School of Public Health studied the impact of PM2.5 in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an, which represented major urban centres in China’s north, east, south and west respectively.

        “Besides saving a lot of human lives, combating PM2.5 can also significantly reduce the national cost on health care,” said Zhou Rong. Taking Beijing as an example, the report found the Chinese capital experienced a loss of US$328 million in 2012 because of PM2.5 pollution. But had it reached WHO AQG, US$283 million could have been saved. (For details please refer to the media briefing paper section three).

        Recent statistics from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) show cities in China’s Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region suffered over 100 hazy days a year with PM2.5 concentration two to four times above World Health Organization guidelines. The effects of PM2.5-related air pollution extend beyond hazy days, also leading to systematic damage to human health.

        PM2.5 is small in particle size but as pollution can reach a large surface area. It is more prone to carrying a variety of toxic heavy metals, acid oxides, organic pollutants and other chemicals, as well as microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses in the air. When inhaled, it can enter a person’s blood stream. Exposure to PM2.5 can contribute to cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as greater cancer risks, all leading to a significantly higher mortality rate.

        Studies have shown PM2.5 is most prevalant in the combustion of coal. Since the majority of China’s energy comes from coal plants, Greenpeace is urging regional governments to cap coal consumption.

        Greenpeace is also calling on the local governments in key regions to go beyond requirements raised by recent MEP plans, and to take ambitious steps to set up specific air quality improvement plans, including detailed PM2.5 pollution reduction timelines.

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