Fri, Dec 03, 2010 - Page 1 News List

EPA issues air quality warning due to sandstorm

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

People in Taiwan can expect bad air quality nationwide today and tomorrow as the strong northeast monsoon brings sand and other air pollutants from northern China, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

Chang Shun-chin (張順欽), a senior specialist at the EPA’s department of environmental monitoring and information management, said that the density of floating particulates in the air could surge to between 150 and 250 micrograms per cubic meter.

The amount of floating particulate matter that normally exists in the air without interfering with human activities differs from region to region, he said.

Generally speaking it is 50 micrograms per cubic meter in the north, 60 in the central areas and 70 in the south, he added.

“When the north wind is strong enough in the winter, it brings sand from Inner Mongolia, along with the air pollutants from industrial zones in Chinese coastal areas, to Taiwan,” Chang said.

The EPA also advised the public to limit outdoor activities and take precautionary measures to prevent respiratory difficulties.

According to the Central Weather Bureau, the northeast monsoon that arrived last night could potentially reduce the temperature in the northern and northeastern region as well as in coastal areas to between 15oC and 16.8oC today.

Bureau forecaster Lee Hsiang-yuan (李湘源) said that the influence of the northeast monsoon is expected to continue until tomorrow, bringing cold and dry air to the nation. People are likely to notice a big difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures, he said.

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