‘In a sauna’: Hong Kong’s laborers swelter as temperatures rise

Dressed in a full-body protective suit, an elderly pest control worker could last no more than 15 minutes spraying pesticide along a Hong Kong pavement before the summer heat became too much.

“The longer you work, the more it feels like it’s raining inside the (suit)… it’s just like being in a sauna,” said Wah, 63, who asked to be identified only by his first name.

He emerged from his protective clothing drenched in sweat on a scorching August morning, with temperatures soaring to 32.2 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity hitting 87 percent.

The month before, Hong Kong saw its third-hottest July on record, with the maximum daily temperature hitting 36.1 degrees Celsius. The top three warmest years in the city’s history were all recorded after 2018.