As result of pollutants carried by a strong cold front that is forecast to arrive today, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday warned that air quality is likely to worsen from today through Thursday.
Air pollutants from China will likely affect air quality in the following days, the agency said.
As wind speeds increase near the earth’s surface, “fugitive dust” is likely in Yunlin County, Greater Chiayi and Greater Tainan, causing the concentration levels of PM10 (dust in the air smaller than 10 micrometers in size) to increase, it added.
“Fugitive dust” is particulate matter that usually comes from minerals in the soil, but also includes pollen, spores, sea salt and other particles that have not been emitted from a vent or smokestack, which is suspended in the air.
The EPA said children, the elderly, and people who are more sensitive to air quality or have weakened immune systems, should avoid being outdoors for long periods of time or taking part in strenuous activities over the next few days.
The agency also said that it will calculate the average concentration levels of PM2.5 daily at 5am, 6am and 7am and issue a special PM2.5 warning report before 9am if the average level reaches more than 80 micrograms per cubic meter.
The EPA is following Japan’s move last year for its Ministry of the Environment to issue warnings when the PM2.5 level reaches more than 85 micrograms per cubic meter.
At the time the Japanese ministry said that when the daily average concentration level of PM2.5 reaches more than 70 micrograms per cubic meter people with higher levels of sensitivity to air quality may be affected.
The public can tract the PM2.5 concentration levels detected at 76 stations nationwide by checking the EPA’s Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network Web site (taqm.epa.gov.tw).
‧ Fugitive dust comes mostly from minerals in the soil, but also includes spores, pollen, sea salt and other materials that have not been released by smokestacks or vents.
‧ The EPA is following Japan’s lead in deciding to issue warnings when the PM2.5 level in the air reaches a certain mark.
Meanwhile, the Central Weather Bureau said the nation can expect a cold, but dry weekend as a strong cold front moves in, average temperatures dropping by 2°C from yesterday’s level. Daytime lows could hover at 10°C to 12°C in the northern half of the country and 11°C to 15°C in the south.
Sunny to cloudy skies are expected in most areas, except for eastern Taiwan, which could see some limited showers.
The lower temperatures could begin easing late tomorrow, but another strong cold front is expected to arrive on Monday, the bureau said.
Additional reporting by staff writer and CNA