A Health-risk-based Index and
a Comprehensive Application for the Community
Environmental Protection Department

Exemplary Services@Gov
2015

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is committed to delivering important environmental information to the public in a professional, accurate and efficient way. As air quality is essential to public health, the EPD launched the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at the end of 2013 to enable the public to stay up to date with the latest air quality information for protecting their health.

An index built on multi-party collaborations that caters to different needs

The new index is based on local medical statistics. It reflects changes in air quality more instantly and reports the impact of air quality on public health more accurately. The index is reported hourly in a simple and easily understood manner on a scale of 1-10 and 10+ which is grouped into five health risk categories. It also provides health advice according to the five health risk categories for people with heart or respiratory illnesses, children and the elderly, outdoor workers, and the general public. The forecast under the new index is more detailed; it comes with separate morning and afternoon forecasts instead of a single daily forecast.

The new index was developed by renowned local university scholars commissioned by the EPD; it has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and relevant experts. Before its official launch, the EPD held discussions with relevant policy bureaux and departments to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. In addition, the EPD has held presentations and consultations with various stakeholders, including labour unions, schools, social welfare organisations, academics, green groups and the general public in order to enhance public understanding of the operation and the application of the index.

Diverse platforms equipped with advanced information technology

The EPD has established a new online platform for publishing the index, and launched a mobile application "HK AQHI" for the public to get the latest air quality information anywhere and anytime. Users can instantly see the air quality of their current locations through the geographic information system in their mobile devices. The application also has pre-set alerts which will automatically send health risk warnings to users. The new online platform had, on average, more than 7.6 million page views per month in 2014, while the mobile application had more than 20,000 users. This shows the public’s huge demand for air quality information. The EPD has been asked to provide real time air quality information for large-scale sports events so that participants could take appropriate measures correspondingly.

The EPD provides excellent air quality monitoring services and information as well as health tips for the public. This not only helps to increase public awareness and understanding of the importance of improving air quality, but also generates greater public support for relevant policies and measures.

The EPD held over 30 briefing and consultation sessions for various stakeholders to enhance public understanding of the new index.
The EPD held over 30 briefing and consultation sessions for various stakeholders to enhance public understanding of the new index.
The public can use the mobile application 'HK AQHI' to get the latest air quality information anywhere any anytime.
The public can use the mobile application "HK AQHI" to get the latest air quality information anywhere any anytime.
The EPD collaborated with universities to set up a temporary Air Quality Monitoring Station near the Marathon’s race route to provide real-time air quality information on their website and notice boards.
The EPD collaborated with universities to set up a temporary Air Quality Monitoring Station near the Marathon’s race route to provide real-time air quality information on their website and notice boards.
The EPD collaborated with universities to set up a temporary Air Quality Monitoring Station near the Marathon’s race route to provide real-time air quality information on their website and notice boards.