Effect of road blockages on local air pollution during the Hong Kong protests and its implications for air quality management

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-448
Journal / PublicationScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


Roadside air quality in urban areas is largely affected by the traffic emissions. Changes in emissions and transport control policy are often assumed to yield benefits in air quality, but have often not always been effective in producing perceptible improvements due to the complexity of meteorological conditions. This study evaluates the air quality before, during and after a temporary roadway blockage event in Hong Kong that took place during Hong Kong protests from late September to mid-December, 2014. The local regulatory air quality monitoring data from both roadside and general ambient stations were used to assess the impact of roadway blockages on the air quality. There was a public perception of improved air quality, but analysis of the data shows the changes can be difficult to discern. This study showed some benefits deriving from road blockages on the local air quality, but the impact was not always apparent because of seasonal variation in meteorological conditions and synoptic transport of pollutants. The finding suggests care is required before making policy changes based on claimed benefits of shifting transport routes. The study highlights the needs to remove seasonal and meteorological change when examining air pollution data to develop strategies to improve air quality.

Research Area(s)

  • Carbon monoxide, Community-based monitoring, Nitrogen oxides, Ozone, Particulate matter, Traffic blockages, Traffic diversions