Project Title: The impact of air pollution on public health - a regional analysis

Applicant: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Dr WONG Heung)

Total Approved Grant: $104,339.44

Duration: 1/12/2004 to 31/5/2006

Project Status/Remarks: Completed

The projects aims to investigate the use of advanced statistical techniques to provide an in-depth modeling of the impact of air pollution to public health of Hong Kong, especially that of patients with circulatory or respiratory problems.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
The research sheds light on the impact of various pollutants on patients suffered from respiratory diseases during the period under our study, from 2000 to 2002.  As temperature is a dominant factor affecting the patients, statistical models were built for the data with and without controlling the temperature effect.  It was found that RSP (respiratory suspended particles) was not affecting the patients so much during the period, as RSP was not at a high level.  On the other hand, sulphur dioxide, which was not showing apparent effect when temperature was not controlled, turned out to be a rather important pollutant for the patients when temperature effect was controlled.  This is probably a result of rising sulphur dioxide level during recent years.  By looking at the number of large positive coefficients, of the four regions under our classification, patients in New Territories East seem to be more affected by the environmental factors as compared with the other areas.  From plots of the fitted values of the model and the original data, it can be seen that the fittings are promising.  The actual values of the data set agree well with the fitted values from our model.  The trend and changes are captured well.  A forecasting comparison was made between our model and two other popular models in predicting the number of patients, and our model outperformed the others.