Wed, Oct 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Barbecues push Taipei pollution up to a monthly high

UNHEALTHY LEVEL The amount of pollution from people grilling outdoors peaked at an average concentration six times higher than in September

By Lin Hsiang-mei  /  STAFF REPORTER

A test by the Taipei City Department of Environmental Protection revealed a steep rise in airborne pollutants at the peak barbecuing period during the Mid-Autumn Festival last Friday.

Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明), a section chief from the department, said that five testing stations were set up across the city and began monitoring pollution levels at 1am last Friday.

The pollution peaked at 11pm, with an average concentration of 230 micrograms per square meter, almost six times higher than the average of 40 micrograms per square meter in September.

While on normal days pollution tends to be worst during the morning rush hour and improves around 7pm after commuters return home after work, last Friday saw a steady rise well into the evening.

Chen explained that as weather conditions were normal in Taipei and there didn't appear to be any other environmental factors involved, the department believes the rise in pollution was from all the barbecuing activity.

Because the pollutants can be harmful for the respiratory system, Chen advised people to limit their barbecuing time in the future.

Even though the fumes might not pose an immediate danger, they can lead to chronic health problems in the wake of long-term exposure.

The elderly and children should be especially careful, and should leave the cooking area if they start to feel sick.

Chen said that this was the first time the department tested pollution levels for Mid-Autumn Festival, and that it would continue to do so.

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