Pollution kills 10,000 a year in Hong Kong, southern China

12 Jun, 2008, 1050 hrs IST, AGENCIES

HONG KONG: Air pollution is causing 10,000 premature deaths a year in Hong Kong, Macau and southern China’s Pearl River Delta, according to a report published on Thursday.

Respiratory diseases caused by the worsening smog is estimated to be costing 440,000 hospital bed days and 11 million doctor visits and costing the region’s economy 6.7 billion yuan ($964 million) a year.

The estimates are contained in a report on the effects of poor air quality by the Hong Kong-based think tank Civic Exchange published in newspapers Thursday.

The survey was conducted over nine months by health, science and public policy experts who based their findings on air pollution from 2003 to 2006.

Smog in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta has worsened considerably in the past decade, largely because of vehicle emissions and pollution from neighbouring industrial southern China.

Previous reports have warned that the air pollution in Hong Kong is causing thousands of premature deaths and that foreign investors are avoiding the former British colony because of its smog.

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