Mon, Aug 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

EPA warns on ultraviolet rays

NO RAY OF SUNSHINEThe EPA's Chu Yu-chi said people should protect themselves by wearing sunblock over the next few days as ultraviolet levels will be dangerously high

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

High levels of ultraviolet light have been a regular feature of the past month, with statistics released by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday showing that the country has seen some very high levels of ultraviolet rays.

“In our monthly tally, we found the ultraviolet index level reached a record high of 22 on Lulin Mountain (鹿林) on July 18. In the Ilan area, ultraviolet levels were higher than the safe limit of 26 out of 31 days,” said Chu Yu-chi (朱雨其), head of the EPA’s environmental monitoring and information management division.

To fully protect themselves, people should wear plenty of high protection sunblock when outside, Chu said, adding that “if possible, avoid going out between noon and 2pm, as ultraviolet light levels peak during that time.”

Aside from sporadic afternoon showers forecast for the eastern part of the country, which is under the influence of the outer band of a tropical depression, the hot weather persisted yesterday, with temperatures reaching 35ºC to 36ºC in northern Taiwan and 33ºC to 34ºC in the rest of the country, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Chu said people braving the blazing sun over the next few days should protect their skin using plenty of sun block and also protect themselves against pollutants in the air, as the ultraviolet light and pollutant levels will be high all over the country.

“Downdrafts on the rim of the tropical depression, combined with high temperatures, will keep the ultraviolet light and ozone levels very high for the next few days,” he said.

Chu said that two tropical depressions — one close to Chongsha (中沙) and Sisha (西沙) islands and another to the east of the Phillippines — are approaching Taiwan. Whether either depression will evolve into a tropical storm or typhoon is still unknown, Chu said, but at the rim of tropical depressions are downdrafts, which slow the diffusion of pollutant particles.

Air quality in Taiwan proper — particularly in central and southern areas — will be therefore be poor, Chu said, adding that the main pollutant would be ozone.

The downdrafts similarly affect ultraviolet light levels, Chu said.

“When there are downdrafts, the atmosphere has relatively less cloud, so more ultraviolet light reaches the Earth, making the levels high,” he said.

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