HONG KONG ANNOUNCES NEW AIR QUALITY INDEX
As the air quality index in Shanghai passed 500 last Friday—entering the “beyond index” category—Hong Kong revealed plans to create a new index that will assess the health risks associated with smog. Smog levels like those seen on Friday, which prompted Shanghai to order 30 percent of government vehicles off the road and resulted in widespread flight cancellations, cause serious health concerns; the new index would detail the risks associated with high levels of pollutants and would be the first time the country has changed the way it measures air quality since 1987. According to former member of the Communist Party’s Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs Chen Jiping, such pollution has become the top cause of social unrest in China. Friday's smog levels kept many children home from school, while a spokesman for 3M Co. said that masks and air purifiers produced by the company have mostly sold out. For the full story, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-06/shanghai-haze-forces-plane-cancellations-pollution-warnings.html. For more on Hong Kong’s new air quality index, see http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/hong-kong-announces-new/912692.html.