Thu, Dec 15, 2011 - Page 2 News List

EPA sets air quality rules

TIGHT CONTROL:The new standards for air quality are the strictest in the world and aim to reduce the amount of small particle pollution that causes heart and lung disease

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday announced the strictest standards in the world for fine particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), which will be included in the nation’s evaluation of air quality.

The EPA said the permitted amount of particles smaller than PM2.5 will be limited to a yearly average of 15 micrograms per cubic meter and a daily average of 35 micrograms per m3, through a two-phase implementation of the new regulations.

PM2.5 — known for its health risks — will be tightly controlled under the stricter regulations, the EPA said.

“Taiwan will be only the third country in the world to adopt these air quality control measures,” said Hsieh Yein-rui (謝燕儒), director-general of the EPA’s Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control.

Cheng Tsun-jen (鄭尊仁), a professor at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, said studies have shown that PM2.5 pollution can cause health problems such as heart or respiratory diseases.

Chang Ken-Hui (張艮輝), a professor at the Department of Safety Health and Environmental Engineering at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, said the sources and effects of PM2.5 were complicated, with the effects often originating from long-range transport of air pollutants from abroad.

Chang also suggested that a more aggressive approach is needed in terms of dealing with China, because as much as 37 percent of the PM2.5 recorded in Taiwan is borne on the wind across the Taiwan Strait.

Additional reporting by CNA

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