Tue, Jan 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Tainan air quality hits ‘unhealthy’ levels

By Tsai Wen-chu  /  Staff reporter

Air pollution in Tainan yesterday reached “red” or “unhealthy” levels, according to the air quality index (AQI) map, sparking anger among residents who called it an “environmental injustice.”

According to the Environmental Protection Administration’s online real-time Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network, the air quality index in Tainan reached 153 between 7am and 8am yesterday, which was only better than the air quality in four other stations — Kaohsiung’s Siaogang (小港), Cianjhen (前鎮) and Fusing (復興) stations, and Chiayi City.

Air quality readings at the temporary monitoring station in the city’s Baihe District (白河) climbed to 156 yesterday morning, the third-highest in the nation, after reaching 155 on Sunday afternoon, which was the highest in the nation at the time.

Tainan City Councilor Chiu Li-li’s (邱莉莉) office director Lin Yi-wen (林義文) said it was an “environmental injustice” that the air quality in Baihe — a rural area — was even worse than that of urban areas.

The Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan region falls under the same zone in the air quality index map, Lin said, adding that the region has two distinctive characteristics.

First, it has many “poor” cities and counties, which have limited financial resources, and because some vast areas are scarcely populated, it is difficult to prevent mobile sources of air pollution, he said.

Second, it has a high population of elderly people — considered a “sensitive group” who are advised to stay indoors when air quality levels reach “orange” (between 101 and 150), he said.

These two characteristic have highlighted the adverse effects that air pollution has on disadvantaged groups.

Liu said that local governments in the same air quality zone should work together and urgently come up with a plan to take care of the health of “sensitive groups” living in the area.

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