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    #Hashtag Hong Kong

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    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



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    09/06/2024
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    Dr Cheng Luk Ki, Director of Green Power

    Spring is hot and deadly this year

    The Hong Kong Observatory has reported that high temperatures in April this year are record-breaking. Concurrently, Southeast Asia also experienced historically high temperatures in April this year due to the strong El Niño phenomenon. Many Southeast Asian cities recorded temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. Even located at a higher latitude, Japan’s average temperature last April was the highest in nearly 130 years.

     

    The temperature in Hong Kong in April has not always risen significantly in the past. The abnormal temperature increase in April this year may tell us that climate change is precisely changing Hong Kong's seasonal climate.

     

    This year, the weather in Hong Kong continued to be rainy since mid-April, making everyone ignore that this April was about to set a historic abnormal temperature record. Under the joint impact of climate change and El Niño, Hong Kong recorded exceptionally high temperatures in April:

     

    the mean maximum temperature was 28.9 degrees, 3.3 degrees higher than the average value and 1.4 degrees higher than the previous highest value (in 1994);

    the mean temperature was 26.4 degrees Celsius, 3.4 degrees higher than the average value and 1.6 degrees higher than the previous highest value (in 1998);

    the mean minimum temperature was 24.6 degrees Celsius, 3.5 degrees higher than the average and 1.7 degrees higher than the previous highest value (in 1998).

     

    Moreover, these temperatures on most days throughout the last April were above the average.

     

    If we look into the figures of the top records of April temperature rankings in the past, we will find that the difference between two consecutive rankings is mostly within 0.1 degrees Celsius, and rarely more than 0.5 degrees Celsius.

    However, the monthly mean maximum, mean and mean minimum temperatures in April this year are 1.4, 1.6 and 1.6 degrees higher than the previous highest records. The temperatures of April 2024 were unprecedently far higher.

     

    April is usually the hottest month in mainland Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Extreme high temperatures will happen in this month when the intensity of El Niño in previous winter is high. The meteorologists call these Aprils “post-Nino” Aprils and this situation has been worsened by global warming in recent years.

     

    The last time extremely high temperatures occurred in mainland Southeast Asia was in April 2016, and that year there was also a strong El Niño phenomenon that occurred in the previous winter.

     

    However, unlike mainland Southeast Asia, Hong Kong did not use to record unusually high temperatures in April during El Niño years such as 2016. Although Hong Kong did not experience extremely hot weather in April this year, the abnormally high-temperature record may imply that the “post-Nino” Aprils phenomenon is extending from mainland Southeast Asia to southern China, and causing Hong Kong's summer to start earlier.

     

    Hong Kong’s “Post-Nino” April this year also shows that climate change can significantly change the weather of a certain month which will be exacerbated under the influence of climatic cycles such as El Niño.

     

    Hot weather can be deadly. Heat-related death cases increased throughout Southeast Asia countries in this spring season. In Hong Kong, according to the results of a local hot weather-related mortality study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, when the local average daily temperature exceeds 28.2 degrees Celsius, the mortality rate will increase by 1.8% for every 1-degree increase.

     

    Checking the data of the Hong Kong Observatory, the number of high-temperature days (i.e. the daily mean temperature exceeds 28.2 degrees Celsius) increased from some 70 days to more than 100 days from 2000 to 2023. According to the study, the risk of death related to high-temperature weather in Hong Kong has increased significantly by 1.5 times over the past two decades.

     

    Looking into the future, according to projections by the Hong Kong Observatory based on data from various global climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hong Kong's annual mean temperature will range from 24.6 to 27.1 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Then, the number of deaths triggered by high temperatures will increase by 55 to 554 cases compared with 2022. The situation cannot be ignored.

     

    Environmental Protection Department’s research report on assessing the health and economic impacts of air pollution in Hong Kong set the “Value of Statistical Life (VSL)” at HK$20 million (2022 value). Based on this figure, by the end of this century, the economic loss due to death caused by high-temperature weather in Hong Kong due to climate change will range from HK$1.11 billion to HK$11.08 billion.

     

    We can expect that Hong Kong’s high-temperature weather is likely to extend beyond summer in the future. We have checked the Observatory data and found that from 2000 to 2023, the months with the fastest increase in mean temperature were March, September and November (about an increase of 0.7 degrees Celsius per decade). The months with the fastest temperature increase are in spring and autumn. This means that in the future, the risk of death caused by high-temperature weather will also extend to months other than summer.

     

    Under the aggravating hot weather of Hong Kong, Green Power urges the Government to strengthen urgently the city's ability to adapt to high temperatures and reduce the exposure of citizens to extremely high temperatures, including adding more shaded pedestrian corridors, strengthening community heat shelter services for the needed and reducing the heat sources in our living environment such as exhaust gas from the vehicles. At the same time, public health policies and medical services need to be improved to respond to the increasing risk of death caused by high temperatures. Ultimately the local carbon emission reduction measures must be accelerated to reduce economic and human losses caused by hot weather in the long term.


    And now I'd like to dedicate this song for everyone in Hong Kong. "The other side of the sun" by Janis Ian. Thank you and Enjoy!

    09/06/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    09/06/2024 - Dr Cheng Luk Ki, Director of Green Power

    重溫

    CATCHUP
    04 - 06
    2024
    香港電台第三台

    09/06/2024

    Dr Cheng Luk Ki, Director of Green Power

    02/06/2024

    Janet Wong, from Junior Chamber International Tai Ping Shan

    26/05/2024

    Koonie Chan, Executive Board Member of Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services

    19/05/2024

    Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK

    12/05/2024

    Dr. Anthony Ying, the Chairman of the Cancer Prevention/Early Detection Subcommittee of the Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society

    05/05/2024

    iu Vor, Vice President of Hong Kong Entomological Society

    28/04/2024

    Faride Shroff, the Founder and CEO of SENsational Foundation

    21/04/2024

    Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades

    07/04/2024

    Ryan Yeung, Founder and CEO, Happy-Retired Charity Action
    X

    Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK

    Hong Kong is currently facing several significant sleep-related challenges that warrant attention. Firstly, a notable concern is the high prevalence of inadequate sleep among adults and adolescents. The latest community survey conducted by CUHK included over 4,000 adults and revealed that 41% of respondents reported an average sleep duration of seven hours or less on their usual days*1. This falls below the general recommendation of the National Sleep Foundation, which advises adults to aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Disturbingly, adolescents also face similar issues, with a majority of them (94%) failing to meet the recommended nine hours of sleep per day. Furthermore, 25% of adolescents reported less than seven hours of sleep, and over half of them (58.4%) perceived their sleep as insufficient.*2
    Secondly, insomnia remains a prevalent sleep disorder in Hong Kong. Approximately one-third of the local population experiences symptoms of insomnia, while around 10% exhibit more frequent symptoms indicative of an insomnia disorder.*3
    Thirdly, a lack of awareness regarding the importance of sleep is apparent among the general public. While healthy eating and regular exercise are commonly emphasized as vital components of a modern healthy lifestyle, sleep health is often overlooked. In Hong Kong, only half of the individuals who slept less than seven hours recognized the significance of adequate sleep, alongside a mere 12% who would prioritize maintaining a regular sleep schedule *1. Additionally, seeking assistance for sleep problems remains uncommon, as half of those experiencing insomnia never seek help for their condition *4.
    Lastly, findings from a recent study comparing data from two large-scale sleep surveys conducted seven years apart (2011-2012 and 2017-2019) suggest a worsening trend in sleep health among adolescents. The study discovered that Hong Kong adolescents were sleeping 30 minutes later on weekdays, but waking up almost an hour earlier on weekends, and spending 30 minutes less time in bed overall. These changes have resulted in an escalation of sleep loss among the younger generation, indicating a concerning decline in sleep health over the past years. 
    Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder around the globe. The local prevalence, as mentioned, is between 10-30% depending on the illness definition. Multiple reasons can lead to insomnia and here are the common ones: 
    First: Suboptimal sleep habits, which include irregular sleep-wake schedule, excessive use of caffeine, excessive napping in the daytime, and exposure to a lot of artificial light at night before bedtime. With the increasing use of electronic devices, not only does the engaging content keep us awake, but the blue light also has an alerting effect and it suppresses the release of melatonin, a key hormone to prepare us for sleep. 
    Secondly, our sleep can be affected by both mental and physical health issues. Stress and worries can increase insomnia, and sleep disturbance is one of the hallmark features of many mental disorders. Certain medical conditions like chronic pain, acid reflux, heart disease or thyroid problems can also interfere with sleep. 
    Thirdly, the use of certain substances or medications can also affect sleep. This may include caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, steroids and narcotics. Withdrawal from certain substances such as hypnotics, and alcohol can also lead to insomnia. 
    The first step to motivate a change in healthy sleeping practices often involves education and knowledge-building. We aim to increase public awareness about the importance of sleep health, to enable them to recognize when there is a sleep problem and know the ways to seek help. 
    The Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine is dedicated to promoting clinical practice, knowledge and training in Sleep Medicine in Hong Kong. We conducted regular meetings for health care professionals and webinars about common sleep problems for the general public. On World Sleep Day 15 March 2024, we’ve shared tips to tackle insomnia with RTHK-English News. (please name a few hereWe advised individuals with insomnia to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, avoid too much caffeine, do exercise, and get sunlight exposure in daytime. At night, try to keep the bedroom nice and cool, dim the light in the room and prepare yourself to bed by some relaxing activity, do not bring work or technology to bed. and Nonetheless, we understand that public engagement requires continuous efforts and we will continue to work on that. 
    It’s important to have good sleep, if we don’t, in the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, attention, and memory, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and mental health issues. It is important to educate young people early, by integrating sleep-related health education into the regular school curriculum, and to have concerted efforts from school, parents, and government to facilitate a sleep-friendly lifestyle for the youngsters. The government should be proactive in terms of screening individuals with sleep problems and to provide appropriate care.
    And now I have a song I'd like to dedicate to and all of you who are listening. My song is: "Be Still" by Janice Vidal. Enjoy and Thank you.


    Reference:
    1) Data from the CUHK-HKJC Sleep well project: https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-launches-the-jockey-club-sleep-well-project
    2) Data from CUHK study: https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-survey-reveals-majority-of-school-teens-have-insufficient-sleep
    CUHK research team launched a 2-year programme participated by a total of 4,456 adolescents from 14 schools in Hong Kong.  The programme revealed that during weekdays, a majority (94%) of the participants did not acquire 9 hours of sleep daily as recommended by the World Association of Sleep Medicine, a quarter (25%) had less than 7 hours of sleep while more than half (58.4%) rated themselves as having insufficient sleep.
    3) Zhang J, Li AM, Kong AP, Lai KY, Tang NL, Wing YK. A community-based study of insomnia in Hong Kong Chinese children: Prevalence, risk factors and familial aggregation. Sleep Med. 2009 Oct;10(9):1040-6. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.01.008.
    4) Liu Y, Zhang J, Lam SP, Yu MW, Li SX, Zhou J, Chan JW, Chan NY, Li AM, Wing YK. Help-seeking behaviors for insomnia in Hong Kong Chinese: a community-based study. Sleep Med. 2016 May;21:106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2016.01.006. 

    香港電台第三台

    19/05/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    19/05/2024 - Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK