Project 614713

Title: Assessment of public inhalation exposure to ambient air pollution in Hong Kong

PI: LAU, Alexis K H

Award: HK$500,000



Air pollution is a major environmental concern in Hong Kong. In his first address to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on 17th October 2012, the new Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Mr. C.Y. Leung, noted the urgency of the air pollution problem, and emphasized that reduction of public health risk will be the main objective of the air quality management plan of the new administration.

The impact of air pollution on the health of an individual depends on the total dose of pollutants inhaled, which depends on their concentrations in the microenvironments where the individual is exposed, and the duration of exposure. In most developed countries, data on personal exposure are available through studies of exposure assessment to air pollutants and regular time-activity studies among the population. However, such data are scarce in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.

In the study, we propose to develop an air pollutant related health exposure assessment system for Hong Kong. In particular, we shall first build an activity database for the various population subgroups using GPS enable mobile devices.
At the same time, we shall measure the concentrations of various criteria pollutants at different outdoor and indoor microenvironments. Building on these results, we shall develop an air exposure assessment system for Hong Kong that is capable of tracking the exposure of different population subgroups to various air pollutants in Hong Kong.

With such an air exposure assessment system, we can then answer questions like: Where and when do different population subgroups get most of their harmful dose of air pollutants? How would the total exposure for different population subgroups change under different air control strategies? Amongst a number of different air control strategies, which one is the most effective for reducing the overall health burden for Hong Kong's population?