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Author: Antonio Da Roza

Date: 12/8/10


The World Health Organisation publishes guidelines on outdoor air quality based on current scientific evidence. These guidelines are designed to offer guidance in reducing the health impacts of air pollution. They illustrate levels of pollutant concentration below which health impacts of air pollution have yet to be recorded or are questionable. [1]


In 2006, the World Health Organisation took into account new scientific findings on the health implications of air pollution and updated its guidelines on air quality. [1]


As air pollution levels in some countries far exceed recommended levels, the WHO puts forward interim target levels, above guideline levels, to promote steady progress towards meeting the guidelines. [1]


Pollutant'

Averaging Time'

WHO AQGs/ITs ('micrograms/m3)

IT-1

IT-2

IT-3

AQGs

SO2

10-minute

-

500

24-hour

125

50

20

RSP (or PM10)

24-hour

150

100

75

50

Annual

70

50

30

20

FSP (or PM2.5)

24-hour

75

50

37.5

25

Annual

35

25

15

10

NO2

1-hour

-

200

Annual

-

40

O3

8-hour

160

100

CO

15-minute

-

100,000

30-minute

-

60,000

1-hour

-

30,000

8-hour

-

10,000

Pb

Annual

-

0.5

The Air Quality Objectives and the WHO Guidelines

It was proposed by the Government that new Air Quality Objectives be set in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s Air Quality Guidelines and Interim Targets. [2]However, some of the proposed Air Quality Objectives may set levels higher than existing levels of air pollution. [3]


44% of students surveyed believe the WHO should set the Air Quality Objectives. [4]


Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ‘WHO Air Quality Guidelines Global Update 2005’, World Health Organisation – last accessed 12/8/10
  2. ‘Air Quality Objectives Review Public Consultation’, Environmental Protection Department Hong Kong, July 2009 - last accessed 5/8/10
  3. ‘Objective: Clean Air’, Antonio M. Da Roza, Hong Kong Lawyer magazine, November 2009 – last accessed 7/8/10
  4. ‘Pilot SAVE survey report’, Michael E. DeGolyer, November 2009 - last accessed 4/8/10

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