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Afraid of Pollution: Where to live in HK

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  1. #1

    Afraid of Pollution: Where to live in HK

    Hello,
    My husband and I are going to move from Munich, Germany to HK in late May/beginning June. We will then have a 3 month old baby.
    My husband is going to work in Central and I always loved to live in walking distance to everything so our initial thought was to find an apartment in Central. But coming from a rather clean and healthy environment our biggest concern is the terrible pollution in HK and the effects it could have on our baby.
    Are there any areas in HK where pollution is not as bad? In which months pollution is the worst?
    Thanks for your help!!


  2. #2

    Join Date
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    According to the following charts, it was bad all year long last year. It was a bit better in July/August (still way over WHO limits in those two months):

    HEI - Pollutant Concentration

    In 2009 it was even worst, seems we didn't even get the summer "low". Check the complete history on the page above and you will see that the air is never ever "clear" in HK.

    I don't know which places on HK island or near Central get less (road side) air pollution, but Sai Kung or Discovery Bay are two of those areas in Hong Kong with much less traffic. Most people who live there are convinced there is less pollution. Maybe you could check Pok Fu Lam area on HK island, its very popular with foreigners too.

    Check some older threads on pollution and where to live here on the forum, there were plenty in the past.

    If you are afraid of pollution, and if you want to do yourself and your baby a favor, stay away from Hong Kong!

    Last edited by 100LL; 15-01-2011 at 07:57 AM.

  3. #3

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    Depending on winds, air pollution can be bad regardless of where you live in HK. Yesterday for example, it was worse in the New Territories than in Central. It's a terrible problem in HK and you just can't escape it. Obviously if you live away from high traffic area, it can be slightly better. If you come to HK, the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to have cleaner air indoor and buy a really good air purifier like this one: IQAir Purifier ¡V Hong Kong, Macau & China


  4. #4

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    Some area's that you could consider if some relief during your non working hours can be enjoyed would be in IMHO:

    Hong Kong Island
    Shek O which IMO is Hong Kong Islands version of Sai Kung, rents & community,are similar. The ocean breeze here is excellent.
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    Stanley, Tai Tam, Red Hill, Repulse Bay, Shouson Hill, if you have the rental budget.
    Pok Fu Lam especially Bisney Road, if budget permits, possibly Tai Hang.

    New Territories on the Kowloon fringe relatively close to TST & Central
    Fei Ngo Shan, The Sai Kung District ie Hebe Haven, Marina Cove, Che Keng Tuk, Shelter Cove, Tai Mong Tsai, Clearwater Bay, Lobster Bay.
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    Lantau
    Discovery Bay
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    These are the area's that I would short list if not being surrounded by congested streets chock a block full of diesel fuelled public transport ( Euro I & II buses ) and delivery trucks/vans, is the environment at street level that you want to avoid. But as other posters have iterated, pollution is a problem that affects the WHOLE of Hong Kong and its territories, all you can do is reduce the amount of road side pollution, which logically means moving away from the highest density area's that are canyoned with high rises etc. Think low density "suburban" and be willing to sacrifice a little commute time to enjoy a much nicer home life for your family.


    Last edited by Skyhook; 15-01-2011 at 10:35 AM.

  5. #5

    As the poster above says- you are best off thinking "suburban" or if you can afford it, and you want to be quite central-ish, heading upwards and eastwards e.g. Stubbs Road, Bowen Road, the Peak etc.

    I would at all costs avoid Central Mid Levels, West Mid Levels and Soho.

    I can tell you (as someone who seems to be particularly sensitive to the pollution here) that I can feel ill walking around somedays- headache, sore throat, generally malaise.

    I can also tell you, as a keen runner living in central Mid Levels, that I can't just head out of my door and go for a run. I physically feel sick- I can't breathe, and when I stop I retch. I have to walk/bus/taxi it somewhere (e.g. Bowen Road as it's easier on a week night). I always try to run back but I have to stop at the start of Caine Road and retch (sorry for the image), so I generally just walk it.

    I have never experienced that anywhere - even on the most polluted roads in London- and I think it's because the high rises trap all the car fumes/make it harder for them to dissipate etc.

    That said, my other half does not experience any ill effects from the pollution, so, maybe it's just me!


  6. #6

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    The pollution comes from a variety of sources and can be moved around by a variety of factors (wind, weather, etc). You can live in parts like Shek O which has very few cars but it isn't going to help much when the winds push the factory residue down from China and over your house. Basically you're asking "where can I live in Hong Kong to avoid the rain when it rains"? The answer is "good luck with that".

    I would recommend some air filters for your house and keeping an eye on the HK government's pollution rating. Quite frankly there are some days you might just want to keep the kids indoors. You might also do a google search on "hong kong cough" which affects some expats and their children.

    I started a website to track pollution based on Western air quality standards so folks might have a slightly more familiar measuring stick. Haven't done the German air quality ones just yet though.

    The Air You Breathe -- Compare your Air Quality with your standards

    Still working out some of the kinks and math so some of it isn't uptodate and is under construction.

    TheBrit likes this.

  7. #7

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    about how much are those IQAir Purifiers? I checked their website but no information available. Thinking of buying one for the home and one for the office. Ours current ones are not good enough.


  8. #8

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    I don't exactly remember the price as it was several years ago but back then it was somewhere around 5-6K, probably a little more today...


  9. #9

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    really that low price? I expected a lot more.


  10. #10

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    Well it does depend on the model. It can go up to more than 20K for a larger home


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